Thanksgiving tips for those with chronic illnesses
SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - As many of families prepare for their Thanksgiving feast, diet experts say it's important to remember those relatives who may have some dietary restrictions or have chronic illnesses like diabetes or heart disease.
According to new 2017 study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 100 million Americans (1/3 of the population) have diabetes or a form of pre-diabetes, which when gone untreated, can lead to type 2 diabetes within 5 years.
Grey Rogers is a Dietitian at the MLK Health Center on Olive Street, which specializes in helping uninsured patients not only treat chronic illness but also teach them eating habits to change their lifestyle.
Rogers says one of the biggest and easiest ways to take it easy on Thanksgiving is portion control.
"A lot of times we serve up our food with these pretty large spoons and we get halfway through the food and our plate is already full and so we just muscle through it, keep piling on because we want to try everything," Rogers said. "So what I've started doing is I bring a soup spoon, which I know seems ridiculous, but you get a couple of little scoops of everything, you're plate is full, you get to try everything, but you're not going overboard."
Rogers says another thing to help after a hearty Thanksgiving meal, is to immediately keep moving, by going for a walk outside with family or throwing the football around.
For those who may have diabetes or high blood sugar, avoiding too many carbs can be a good idea.
"I want to really explain what a carb is," Rogers said. "It's the sweet foods, sweet drinks, sweet tea, any kind of soda, but also the ones that aren't so sweet and are more bread based. The stuffing, the dressing, the mashed potatoes, it's not that you can't have these things, you just don't want to overdo it."
The MLK Health Center has a garden on site where dieting experts like Rogers can teach patients about the benefits of keeping vegetables in their diet.
"For those with chronic issues, and even those that don't, it's important to get those vegetables on the plate," Rogers said. "They're super nutritious, they're filling, and they don't spike blood sugar."
For more quick tips on eating right for the holidays, click here.
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