Skip to Accessibility Tools Skip to Content Skip to Footer
A deconstructed plate of food featuring different side dishes and highlighting their content, like water for salad, white meat for turkey, and cranberries for sauce.

Deconstructing the Thanksgiving Meal

It’s that time of year again! Most people declare the holidays their favorite time of year. But when you are someone with type 2 diabetes, the holidays may also come with some worry. The best way to move forward in this season is to plan ahead.

Tips for a healthy thanksgiving meal

Here’s a look at the usual Thanksgiving plate and what changes you can make to have a happy and successful meal without the anxiety of cheating.

The turkey

Let’s face it. This is what we are all here for! Luckily, turkey contains no carbohydrates and is loaded with protein to aid in satiety during this most delicious meal. Shoot to cover 25% of your plate with this delicious bird. If possible, choose white meat over dark as it contains less fat and is, therefore, better for heart health.


Homemade or from a jar, gravy recipes are infinite. Maybe you still use grandma’s recipe or maybe the store-bought stuff is your very favorite. This sinful topping boasts all kinds of calories and fats, and most likely a thickening agent such as flour or corn starch. Reading labels will be helpful but opt to use a small amount either way.

Green bean casserole

A personal favorite, green bean casserole is a staple at most Thanksgiving tables! To make it more diet-friendly, eliminate the French onions. To really give it a healthy twist, select fresh green beans, and mushrooms and use Campbell’s Healthy Request Cream of Mushroom Soup® as it contains less fat and sodium than the original recipe. This side should be part of the 50% of your plate reserved for vegetables.

Mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes

Here’s where things get a little trickier. The next few favorites are heavy on the carbohydrates and it can be a little difficult to choose which ones to avoid, if any. Depending on the way they are cooked, mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes have similar carbohydrate content. If brown sugar is added that obviously ups the ante. Both kinds of potatoes provide nutrients such as fiber and potassium. Your carbohydrate choices should take up the remaining 25% of your plate, so watching portion sizes is key.


Another carb-heavy choice, you may choose to use a low carbohydrate bread in your recipe. Another option is a small portion, or to skip it altogether in favor of your alternate carbohydrate favorite!

Cranberry sauce

Consider making fresh cranberry sauce over canned. This way you can control how much sugar is going into the recipe, or even choose natural sugar options such as juice from orange to add sweetness and flavor. Although cranberries have many health benefits such as antioxidants and vitamin C, they also have natural fructose that can affect blood glucose levels.

Fresh green salad

To bulk up your plate, consider making a large fresh green salad. The fiber and water content can help lead to better satiety, making it easier for you to say no to seconds and thirds and fourths.

Most importantly, enjoy yourself. Try to keep the day from centering around the food. Take the time to be thankful for all of your blessing

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.