Create a healthy plate this Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a challenging holiday if you have diabetes or are trying to manage your weight. Many traditional foods are high in fat as well as carbohydrates, but with careful planning, you can make healthy choices.

Special tips for the cook:

– Roast your turkey instead of deep-frying it. Roasting is a cooking method that requires little-to-no added fat. Just make sure you add some seasonings.

– Add extra non-starchy vegetables like onions, carrots, celery and mushrooms to your stuffing and use whole-grain or 100 percent whole-wheat bread.

– Steam vegetables like peas, green beans or carrots rather than serving them in a casserole with creamed sauces. Season with fresh herbs or onions and garlic.

– Bake stuffing in a casserole dish rather than inside the turkey so you can make it with less fat.

– Make cranberry sauce with fresh cranberries. Canned cranberry sauce is high in sugar.

– Sweet potatoes are especially flavorful on their own – there’s no need for a lot of extra sugar or butter!

– Skim the fat off gravy before serving.

Before Thanksgiving dinner:

– Start the day with a good breakfast so you won’t be tempted to overeat.

– Nibble on raw vegetables with low-fat dips before dinner rather than salted nuts or cheese and crackers.

During Thanksgiving dinner:

– Think about which dishes you can’t live without and which ones you don’t mind passing on. Then adjust portions to keep your carbohydrate and calorie count similar to what you usually eat at dinnertime.

– If you’re going to drink a glass or two of wine, do it with dinner, rather than starting earlier. Consider diluting white wine with seltzer water to make a wine spritzer.

– Choose white rather than dark turkey meat, without the skin.

– Keep portions of potatoes or stuffing small, especially if there is a lot of added cheese, butter, or cream.

– Take it easy with the gravy.

– If you absolutely cannot live without cranberry sauce, make sure you use just a tablespoon or two on top of your turkey.

– Fill half of your plate with non-starchy vegetables. Choose vegetable side dishes that include roasted or cooked vegetables without creamy sauces.

– Offer to bring a delicious green salad for the occasion and serve the dressing on the side.

– Only fill your plate once instead of going back for seconds.

– Have dessert with everyone else, but choose pumpkin pie over pecan pie, or better yet, bring a healthy dessert to share with others.

After dinner:

– Suggest an after-dinner walk around the neighborhood to make your day about togetherness and family fun, and not just about the food.

– Don’t take home leftovers.

With a plan of action, you can embrace the holiday, enjoy the festivities and have a healthy Thanksgiving Day.