Eating healthy as a visually impaired diabetic on Thanksgiving

This month our country celebrates Thanksgiving as a time to remember, reflect and show gratitude. We enjoy time with our friends, family and usually lots of delicious food! Also, we observe American Diabetes Month as well. Trying to celebrate one of the largest eating holidays in the U.S. while being a visually impaired diabetic can be a challenge.

Thanksgiving tables are typically loaded with mashed potatoes with gravy, cornbread stuffing, dinner rolls, candied yams, cakes and pumpkin pies. These are all carbs and sweets which can be a hazard to a diabetic. When you have a vision impairment and diabetes, it’s important  to know how to manage your diabetes. Below are tips for a fun and successful Thanksgiving. Remember the reason for celebration. 

Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on things you are thankful for and spending time with people you love; food is secondary to the celebration. 

Plan and prepare If you are eating at a friend or family’s house. 

Ask questions about the meal. Examples are; what will be served? How will the food be cooked and prepared? Finding out as much as you can beforehand can help you strategize. Also, offer to bring a nutritious dish to share. This way you know at least one item will help you stay on track for healthy eating if there are a lot of unhealthy options. When you arrive, look at all of the food choices then decide what you will eat and how it fits into your meal plan.

Host the dinner yourself. 

If you are hosting the Thanksgiving Day meal, you have more control and can prepare healthy foods that everyone will enjoy including yourself. Bake, broil and grill your meat. Increase fiber intake by serving whole grain breads, peas and beans. Have plenty of veggies on hand, especially ones that are not cooked with excessive butter or sauces. Serve fresh or canned fruits in pure juice or water instead of sweet, high calorie desserts.

Check your blood sugar before eating. 

If you have a vision impairment and diabetic, knowing your numbers will help you make wise and healthy decisions on Thanksgiving Day. It might be advisable to monitor it throughout the day because of the special occasion and the availability carbs and sugary sweets. Learn how to monitor your blood sugar on your smartphone using Outlook Enrichment’s adaptive technology training program.

Eat slowly during the meal. 

Try to eat small portions, and stick to your normal amount of carbohydrates. Drink plenty of water and choose low-calorie drinks. Watch your servings for alcoholic beverages. Leave the table when the meal is over. Do not sit and socialize at the table where the food was served to avoid grazing and overeating.

Don’t skip meals.  

It can be tempting to “store up your calories” for the main meal; but you should continue to eat your normal meals throughout the day.  Do not skip meals in preparation for a holiday feast.  This will keep you from overeating and keep your blood sugar under control. 

Don’t become a couch potato after eating. 

Make time for physical activity. Take a brisk walk with friends and family around the neighborhood Or help with dinner clean up. Washing dishes, sweeping, vacuuming and even taking out the trash can burn calories.

Lastly, don’t take a to-go-plate. 

If you are eating at a friend or family’s home pass on taking leftovers with you. It can be tempting but your body and your blood sugar will appreciate it later!

Make Thanksgiving a wonderful celebration with simple planning. Your vision impairment and diabetes doesn’t have to stop you from enjoying this festive holiday with friends and family.