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Friday, November 11, 2011

Diabetic Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Thanksgiving can be intimidating and scary if you are a diabetic and committed to eating to maintain your blood sugar and health. It is so tempting with all the breads and desserts to just “go for it”, but you know that you will be suffering in the hours and days ahead.  Here is an opportunity for you to discover some great diabetic Thanksgiving side dishes that will allow you to enjoy the holiday without sacrificing taste and your health!

The biggest detriment to diabetics is the overuse of artificial sweeteners and the lies told to diabetics about eating fruits and grains. The truth is that artificial sweeteners in high amounts (or small amounts over a long period of time) have adverse effects on the body that NO person should subject themselves to. This is NOT the “saving grace” for diabetics, so be VERY aware of desserts that claim to be diabetic friendly, but have artificial sweeteners such as Splenda. Most fruits and grains (that can be used to prepare diabetic Thanksgiving side dishes) are low-glycemic on their own, or become low-glycemic when properly combined with healthy fats and proteins. Grains and fruits are part of a very common misconception that leaves diabetics fearful of eating these types of foods.

What to look for in diabetic Thanksgiving side dishes.

Green Bean with Candied Pecans
·         Vegetable based. Green beans are a very common Thanksgiving side dish. Instead of the traditional canned mushroom soup and dried onions on top, try a dish that incorporates more whole foods and natural ingredients such as green beans, pecans, orange zest and chicken stock as found in this Green Beans with CandiedPecan recipe in The Healthy Edge Holiday E-book. The blend of whole green beans, nuts and seasonings make this dish not only delicious, but absolutely great for a diabetic Thanksgiving side dish.

·         Meat! The great thing about any type of meat (chicken, turkey, tenderloin, fish, etc.) is that is it ALWAYS low-glycemic. Protein is zero on the glycemic index which ranges from 0 – 100. Anytime you eat protein combined with other foods, you will lower the overall glycemic index and therefore lessen the effect on your blood sugar.

Quinoa and Pecan Stuffing
·         Stuffing and Bread. Would Thanksgiving NOT be Thanksgiving without stuffing and bread? What about a stuffing composed of quinoa (check out Quinoa and PecanStuffing) instead of high glycemic flour? What about only cooking enough rolls for everyone to have one instead of 4 or 5? Or eliminating the rolls all together? It is possible to have a completely enjoyable Thanksgiving without filling up on bread!  

·         Crackers. If you CANNOT live without crackers during the holiday, choose crackers that are made from whole grains (such as Mary’s Gone Crackers) or those made from stone ground flour or sprouted grain flour. I also love to use sprouted whole grain tortillas and cut them up into the shape of chips and either bake or just eat plain with my favorite dip! Any type of enriched flour has had all of the fiber and nutrients removed leaving it VERY high glycemic and should be avoided if you are diabetic. 

·         Dips. Dips are prevalent during the holiday season and some dips are healthier than others. Many holiday dips are made from ingredients such as cream cheese, sour cream and Velveeta. These may be low-glycemic but it does nothing for your health, weight and cholesterol levels! Try finding dips such as hummus that have a foundation of garbanzo beans and tahini. Guacamole and bean based dips (preferable not refried beans, but rather black beans) are also a low-glycemic alternative.

Almond-Berry Cobbler
·         Fruit based desserts. Most traditional desserts are sugar, sugar, sugar, butter and more sugar. What if you could eat desserts that had naturally occurring sugar such as a “Raw” Apple Pie that contains NO added sugars AND incorporates nuts and dates as the crust! AMAZING! Or a Almond-Berry Cobbler that only contains added honey, but also includes real raspberries and blackberries, oatmeal and almonds! These are GREAT desserts that won’t lead you to feeling deprived during the holiday season!

We hope you have enjoyed these tips to prepare diabetic thanksgiving side dishes. It is possible to have flavor and health during the holidays and leave absolutely satisfied! Happy Holidays!

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