Build A Balanced Plate for American Diabetes Month - Fresh Dish Post from Price Chopper

Build A Balanced Plate for American Diabetes Month

November 7th 2023

Bethany FrazierBethany Frazier
Price Chopper Dietitian

The Thanksgiving holiday is full of friends, family, football, and everyone’s favorite–food! While the holidays are traditionally a time of indulgence, November also happens to be American Diabetes Month. About 11% of the American population lives with diabetes, and an additional 38% of the adult population has prediabetes. So, while managing blood sugar is important year-round, doing so around the season of treats and feasts presents added challenges.

Stay healthy with National Diabetes Month

Why Blood Sugar Matters
Blood sugar, also known as glucose, is your body’s main source of energy or fuel. When we consume carbohydrates, it causes a natural rise in blood sugar, which causes the pancreas to release insulin. Insulin then “unlocks” the cell, allowing the blood sugar to travel inside the cell to be used as energy. When this system is working well, we have stable energy levels and feel good throughout the day–no afternoon energy crashes.

However, if our blood sugar spikes and crashes often, it leaves us feeling tired, cranky, craving sugar, and eventually can lead to diabetes. This typically happens when we are consuming an excess of refined carbohydrates, sugar, processed foods, and sweet drinks. It doesn’t mean we need to avoid these foods altogether, but rather that we can employ different blood sugar-balancing tips and tricks that help keep us healthy.

How to Balance Your Blood Sugar During the Holidays
During the holidays, there is an abundance of good food–namely, sweet treats and carb-heavy foods. To make things easy, we’ve broken your plate fillings down by percentage.

  • 50% non-starchy vegetables. Look first for the roasted carrots and brussels sprouts, crudites, side salads, and other non-starchy veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, and mushrooms, to name a few).
  • 5% protein. They don’t call it Turkey Day for nothing. Whether your Thanksgiving gathering centers around turkey, ham, chicken, beef, or a plant-based protein, fill a quarter of your plate with these protein-rich foods. The protein combined with non-starchy, high-fiber veggies will help keep your blood sugar stable.
  • 5% your choice. With the rest of the plate filled with nutritious choices, there’s no need to shy away from the mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, or dinner rolls.

Here are three simple additional tips for enjoying the holiday season while keeping your blood sugar healthy.

  1. Practice portion control with your dessert. When you go up for the pumpkin or apple pie, stick to one slice.
  2. Get moving. While you may want to veg out on the couch after a big Thanksgiving meal, consider a short family walk or even just help with the dishes. A walk as short as five minutes helps curb that post-feast blood sugar spike.
  3. Consider low-carb swaps.
    • Need a mashed potato fix? Try Mashed Cauliflower.
    • Want to dodge the stuffing? Try Cauliflower Gratin with Gouda and Almonds.
    • Looking for something less sugary than sweet potato casserole? Try Roasted Butternut Squash, Green Beans, & Mushrooms with Basil-Shallot Vinaigrette.
    • Swapping dinner rolls for greens? Try Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Cinnamon Butternut Squash.
    • Prefer a healthy dessert switch? Try Pumpkin Pecan Granola. 

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