National Diabetes Awareness Month

National Diabetes Month is observed every November to bring attention to diabetes and its impact on millions of Americans.  One in 11 Americans have diabetes — that’s more than 29 million people. And another 86 million adults in the United States are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Diabetes is one of the leading causes of disability and death in the United States. It can cause blindness, nerve damage, kidney disease, and other health problems if it’s not controlled.

The good news? People who are at high risk for type 2 diabetes can lower their risk by more than half if they make healthy changes. These changes include: eating healthy, increasing physical activity, and losing weight. Managing diabetes is a balancing act. It involves maintaining a healthy weight, making healthy food choices, being physically active, and taking medications as prescribed.

Research has shown that managing diabetes as early as possible can help prevent diabetes-related health problems such as kidney disease, vision loss, heart disease and stroke.

Ironically, the most food-centric holiday falls during National Diabetes Month every November.

A heaping helping of fried turkey, dressing and gravy, ham, macaroni and cheese, greens and a table of pies and cakes that spans the dining room wall. This is Thanksgiving in the South. It’s a table of delight, but if you have diabetes it’s a feast full of temptation.

No matter where you live, your Thanksgiving table doesn’t have to spell diabetes disaster. Try these tips to create a diabetes-friendly Thanksgiving table:

Play up the turkey.  Slow roasted turkey is a flavorful, lean protein that won’t raise your blood sugar.

Fill up with veggies. Vegetables are among the most diabetes-friendly foods on the planet. Fill half your plate with vegetables. Eat them first to leave less room for the higher calorie options.

Put fruit (or vegetables) in the dessert. Think pumpkin pie or whipped sweet potato pudding. Add vanilla, extra cinnamon and nutmeg to cut back on the sugar and butter.  You can also play up pears and apples with cinnamon and a light whipped cream or dollop of vanilla yogurt.

Focus on flavor. Instead of the packaged stuff, make your own stuffing using fresh celery, onions, sage and thyme to for bold flavor. Go light on the butter and cream and add fresh garlic and vegetable broth to mashed potatoes for deep, satisfying flavor.

Get physical. Moving your muscles can help control blood sugar levels. Go for an after dinner walk around our beautiful lake to burn off some of the extra holiday grub.


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