How do I control my blood sugar but still enjoy my Thanksgiving meal?

Q: How do I control my blood sugar but still enjoy my Thanksgiving meal?

Melissa Barry is the clinical nutrition manager and a registered dietitian at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby.

The traditional Thanksgiving dinner can contain 105 to 135 grams of carbohydrate (seven to nine carbohydrate choices), more than double the recommended amounts, (45 to 60 grams per meal with three to four choices). Here are tips for enjoying your meal and maintaining good glucose control.

1. Don't starve yourself all day for your big meal. Start with a good breakfast. This will keep you from overeating and having severe drops in your sugar over the day.

2. Snack on raw vegetables and low-fat dips before dinner, not cheese and crackers.

3. If you are preparing the meal, steam the vegetables rather than putting them in a casserole or in a heavy cream sauce. This can reduce calories and fat. Make homemade cranberry sauce with fresh cranberries, as canned sauce can be far higher in sugar. Prepare the stuffing in a dish, not in the bird; While this will not cut carbs, it will greatly reduce fat.

4. At the table, use the "Plate Method." Fill one-quarter of the plate with grains and starches (stuffing, potatoes, dinner rolls, yams, peas), one-quarter with protein (turkey, ham) and the remaining half with salad greens, broccoli, carrots, green beans, and non-starchy vegetables.

5. Have dessert, but limit the carbs during the meal to allow for a sweet treat. A small sliver of pumpkin pie is better than apple or pecan pie - or choose the scoop of ice cream without pie.

6. Managing diabetes requires not only a good diet, but medication and exercise. Take a walk with the family after dinner.