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Janis Roszler MSFT, RD, CDE, LD/N is the American Association of Diabetes Educators’ 2008-2009 Diabetes Educator of the Year. She is also a Registered Dietitian and Marriage and Family therapist, and she shared some great advice on relationships in my Smart Woman’s Guide book.

Here she has some tips about Thanksgiving dinner:

✦ Don’t skip meals or snacks earlier in the day to “save” calories and carbs for the Thanksgiving feast. If you skip meals, it may be harder to manage your blood sugar.

✦ Be sure to eat breakfast and if your main meal is later in the day, eat a small snack or meal at midday, so that your blood sugar will remain more stable.

✦ Take a look at the food on the whole table before you take any. Use the Thanksgiving Plate as a guide for choosing the foods you will eat.

✦ Limit the number of grains (starches) on your plate. It might be tempting to have some mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, and stuffing— however, limit them to 1⁄4 of your plate.

✦ Choose raw fruits and vegetables. Avoid vegetables in creams, gravies, and butter.

✦ Stick to calorie-free drinks such as water, tea, seltzer, or diet sodas instead of punch, or mixed drinks.

✦ Have a dessert, but take a small portion, eat slowly, and enjoy the taste.

✦ After your meal, take a walk with family and friends. Exercise will get you moving, keep you focused on your goals, and give you a break from being surrounded by food. Exercise is also a great way to lower blood sugar levels.

✦ Plan a family game of tag, flag football, or WiiTM…or any other game that will get everyone up and moving.

✦ If you eat too much on Thanksgiving, don’t beat yourself up. don’t think you have failed, just make a plan to get back on track.

✦ Make a “Healthy Eating Contract” with yourself to set goals for your Thanksgiving meal. Clearly state how you will approach eating during the day, and what you want to accomplish. Be sure to sign and date this contract so that it’s official.

ARE YOU A GUEST AT A FAMILY MEMBER OR FRIEND’S HOUSE?

✦ Talk to the host before the day and find out what will be served.

✦ Offer to bring along a lower-calorie dish that you know you will enjoy. Check out our diabetes-friendly recipes.

✦ After the meal, try not to hang out near the food to avoid snacking. Find a comfortable spot across the room and focus on socializing instead of eating.

ARE YOU HOSTING THANkSGIVING DINNER?

✦ Make sure the menu includes lower-calorie foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and lean meats (such as turkey).

✦ Roasting is a good way to cook your turkey. Avoid frying or adding extra fat (like butter) during cooking.

✦ When you’re cooking, avoid tasting the dish more than you need to. These calories add up and can affect your blood sugar.

✦ If you’re the host of the dinner, clear the table and put unused food away to help guests avoid snacking.

Here is Janis’ Contract:

I know that it is possible to enjoy the wonderful food of this holiday and keep my blood sugar stable.

Today, I make a promise to myself to make healthy food choices on Thanksgiving. I will balance my plate and fill it with the recommended portions of protein, grains, and vegetables. I will limit the sweets and desserts I eat. I will avoid snacking between meals. If I drink, I will do so in moderation. I will pick something active to do after my holiday meal. And I will check my blood sugar throughout the day to make sure that I am within my target ranges.

I promise to enjoy this holiday and give thanks for my health, happiness, and the love of my friends and family.