Thanksgiving recipes that are diabetes-friendly

Menu ideas for people with diabetes

Table with plates of food served on Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving does not have to be dull if you’re working to manage your diabetes. In fact, it can be quite flavorful.

People with diabetes do not have to eat special diabetic foods. In fact, according to the American Diabetes Association, healthy meals for people with diabetes look very similar to those recommended for anyone – they’re low in fat, moderate in sugar and salt and include plenty of vegetables, whole grains and fruit.

Still, it can be easy to forget ourselves when we’re celebrating Thanksgiving – a holiday all about food.

If you’re worried about what to put on the table this year that will be healthy, dietitians with ADC’s Diabetes Management program put together these diabetes-friendly Thanksgiving recipes to guide you.


Turkey roasted and herbs served with orange slices

Choosing lean meat is one of the keys to a healthy Thanksgiving table. The American Diabetes Association recommends removing the skin from turkey before you eat it. Here are two recipes for roast turkey that aren’t low on taste.


Cut sweet potatoes in serving dish

Starchy foods like potatoes are part of a healthy meal plan for people with diabetes – the key is portion size. According to theADA, 3 to 4 servings of carb-containing foods per meal is a good amount.

Still, mashed potatoes loaded with butter can be hard to resist. How about some non-traditional alternatives?


Tossed salad in serving dish

Salad is a great choice for the Thanksgiving menu, with its fresh vegetables and endless possible variations. They can be as simple as a bed of greens, or contain all of your vegetable favorites.

Need some inspiration? Here’s a salad ADC dietitians say is a good choice for people with diabetes.


Close up of cranberry sauce in serving dish

This gravy recipe cuts down on the fat and adds apple cider and vinegar to bring in the taste of fall.

Instead of green bean casserole, how about a non-traditional take on green beans? Use garlic, sesame and ginger to add some zing to your plate.

Cranberries are a Thanksgiving tradition, but some recipes use a lot of sugar to cut the tartness of the cranberries. Both of these recipes cut down on the sugar and add another fruit to ramp up the flavor.


Slice of pumpkin pie with whipped cream

Yes! It’s OK to eat some dessert – in moderation. This pumpkin pie cuts the sugar and fat and has on 196 calories and 28 carb grams per serving.

Video Recipe Demonstration

Diabetes educator and registered dietitian Purvi Desai demomstrates how to make a quinoa stuffing for your Thanksgiving feast that is also diabetes-friendly.