Thanksgiving - what a time to have gestational diabetes! Don't panic. I've got you covered with tips on how to eat Thanksgiving dinner anywhere and how to make easy swaps for your favorite dishes if you're cooking.
Hey Mama! You've been on my mind so heavy the past week because I got sick and it slowed me down. Thank God it didn't take me down. But I wanted to put together a full spread of Thanksgiving recipes for gestational diabetes and I didn't get to do a single one. But don't worry, I will have you covered for Christmas. For now, I'm going to give you some advice on how to navigate the table wherever you go and easy, unnoticeable swaps if you're the one cooking!
Turkey and Ham are both low fat, (almost) no carb, and good protein. Thinking about a "normal" Thanksgiving table, you won't find too much protein in other dishes except for the ones that have cheese. So turkey, ham or whatever other meat should definitely be on your plate! Side note - both are good sources of Vitamin B-6, and Vitamin D for ham.
It's pretty easy to identify BIG carbs on the table.
- Mashed Potatoes
- Candied Yams
- Macaroni and Cheese
- Cranberry Sauce
These are some hard favorites! You can dabble, but find that balance!
What do you think are the safest GD friendly dishes on the list above? I'd say corn and mashed potatoes because those are real foods that have no added sugar in the final dish, and the potatoes have added fat which bring down its glycemic index. Next, I'd say the mac and cheese is semi-safe since there's added fat and protein but it is still white flour pasta. What I'd say is NOT GD friendly are the Candied Yams and Cranberry Sauce because they are notoriously sweet (high carb).
But like I said, it's all about balance. So when you look at your plate, you want to make sure that it is OVERALL low glycemic. The way to do this is to make sure the carbs on your plate are trumped by the fat and protein on your plate. Here's how you make that happen.
How to eat at Thanksgiving with Gestational Diabetes
- Anything green, put it on your plate! (Salad, brussel sprouts, green beans, collard greens, etc.)
- Add a good sized serving of turkey or ham.
- Pick carbs that are real food and/or have added protein or fat over carbs that don't. (Corn, mac & cheese and mashed potatoes over dressing and candied yams.)
- Eat carbs minimally. (Eat just a couple bites of high carb dishes.)
- Assess the overall glycemic index of your plate. (Be sure that the carbs are outweighed by the protein and fat.
Unless you're eating at a Keto-er's house, the desserts are probably going to be loaded with sugar. In this case, since we are playing it safe, I'd recommend either swapping an equally bad carb side for dessert or putting off dessert until round two.
What Not to Do
Don't shame yourself for a bad blood sugar reading if it happens. Just record, adjust and press on! And don't forget that exercise helps too! Have everyone take a walk together.
See, a gestational diabetes Thanksgiving doesn't have to be different from traditional Thanksgiving. Just don't stuff yourself because you'll have to eat again in three hours.
Are You Cooking?
If you're cooking you'll have a lot more options because you can swap some ingredients to make the dishes low-er carb and high fat. For example, make the mashed potatoes a potato-cauliflower mash and use heavy cream instead of milk. Some recipes use sour cream or cream cheese. You can add cheddar cheese for protein! Use coconut sugar in the candied yams and add carrots. They go really well together! Use a sugar alternative for the cranberry sauce and top it with chopped pistachios. For the mac and cheese, use Barilla's Protein Plus macaroni; add heavy cream or cream cheese. Walmart has gluten free (no white flour) frozen rolls. They also have protein fortified flour. <--- Great option!
If you're making pumpkin anything, save the leftover pumpkin and make these Keto Pumpkin Pancakes for Black Friday breakfast!
Don't forget to read How to Avoid Getting Sick! Comment below your favorite Thanksgiving dish!