Celebrating Thanksgiving with Diabetes from a Parish Nurse Perspective

In the United States in 2014, there are about 29.1million people, or 9.3% of the population living with Diabetes.

This is an important statistic for us to know because it highlights the need for us to help our faith communities celebrate a healthy Thanksgiving.  Even if someone is not a diabetic, it is likely that they will be serving someone at their table on Thanksgiving day who is diabetic.

Licensed photo of Thanksgiving Square Chapel courtesy  John McStravick

Licensed photo of Thanksgiving Square Chapel courtesy John McStravick

Did you know that November is National Diabetes Month? There are plenty of resources out there for you, especially this month when perhaps diabetics need them the most.  With the upcoming holidays, notorious for overindulging and weight gain, our diabetic population is especially at risk to adopt behaviors that increase their HgA1c’s.  Yikes!

How can we help the people with diabetes or prediabetes in our communities stay on track through the holidays, so they can achieve some of the Healthy People 2020 objectives?

Through our trusted relationships, we can support diabetics to choose healthy behaviors that align with their cultural values and faith beliefs.  Here are some resources for you to use in teaching, encouraging, counseling, and empowering the people in your faith community to care for themselves and each other!

Managing Your Diabetes During the Holidays from the CDC

Prepare to manage your diabetes during the holidays. Stay on track by taking medications on schedule and choosing healthy versions of favorite dishes. Remember to plan daily physical activities like walking after meals and dancing at festivities.

The American Association of Diabetes Educators provides 5 flyers

  1. A Diabetes-Friendly Guide to a Healthy Thanksgiving Plate
  2. Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes (2 pages)
    1. Maple Orange Sweet Potato Mash Yum!
    2. Green Beans Amandine Yum!
    3. Tangerine Cranberry Relish Yum!
    4. Basic Crustless Pumpkin Pie Yummy!
  3. Tips for a Happy Healthy Thanksgiving: Thanksgiving Tips for People with Diabetes
  4. Healthy Holiday Eating Contract (great idea!)
Licensed photo courtesy Satya Murthy

Licensed photo courtesy Satya Murthy

Enjoying Thanksgiving with Diabetes from the Joslin Diabetes Center

Thanksgiving can be challenging for people with diabetes who are trying to manage blood glucose levels and weight.  Many traditional Thanksgiving foods are high in fat as well as carbohydrates, but with careful planning, you can make healthy choices that fit into your diabetes meal plan and enjoy this wonderful celebration with friends and family, says Tracey Lucier, R.D., Nutrition Educator at Joslin Diabetes Center.

Navigating the Thanksgiving Feast from the American Diabetes Association

We all know that food tends to be front and center on Thanksgiving Day. In fact, the majority of people eat well over 2,000 calories during their Thanksgiving meal. Think about it… between the appetizers, rich side dishes, and desserts – the calories can add up quickly, and so can the carbohydrates!

If you have diabetes or are trying to manage your weight, don’t let food stress you out this year. You can still enjoy the Thanksgiving feast and even some dessert (since it’s a special occasion). It just requires a little extra planning and self control on your part. Read on for more tips about how to create a healthy plate this Thanksgiving. We’ll also give you some examples of how to fit in a serving of your favorite holiday treat!

And, here is a video with simple Diabetes Thanksgiving Survival Tips from a real person living with diabetes who has an online community for diabetics at TruthInDiabetes, that you might want to share with your faith community.


About courtholmes

Nurse Practitioner, Faith Community Nurse, Parish Nurse, Certified Wound Specialist, DNP Student at Quinnipiac University, Social Media Enthusiast... Passionate about integrating faith and health! CT Faith Community Nurses on Twitter @CTFCN

Posted on November 23, 2014, in Program Ideas, Resources and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. “Potentially, there are 1 to 2 million people in the population who could be diagnosed using this criteria,” said Dr.
    Portion Size Experiment – Get a three-section plate and eat your biggest meal on it.
    Apple cider vinegar has often been touted as a miracle remedy
    and it could prove true for diabetes.


  2. Diabetes has been common with individuals
    who have dietary deficiency, individuals who are obese, individuals
    with less physical activity and will generally be genetically acquired or
    inherited. Sweets, junk food, and sodas are not allowed on the DASH diet.
    Check out the National Institute of Health’s Portion Distortion website for more examples and
    pictures of portion distortion.


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