Thanksgiving nutritionThroughout the year, nutritional information is provided to Perry Wellness Center peers as part of the Whole Health Action Management (WHAM) program. During the holiday season, with its traditional array of rich foods at every occasion, healthy eating can become a difficult task. But staff member Amber Rechitorovic stands prepared to help individuals avoid temptation.

At a recent morning group session, Amber passed out printed information sheets for each person in attendance. The five-page document provided valuable and timely nutritional information. Entitled “A Diabetic-Friendly Guide to a Healthy Thanksgiving Plate,” the document provided a comparative analysis of different food groups, provided calorie-saving recipes, and highlighted the nutritional value of foods. Recipes also provided ingredient substitutions that would not alter the taste or nutritional value of a dish, but might create a healthier alternative. Also included were tips for people with diabetes, a disease not uncommon at the center. The information packet emphasized the need to talk with Thanksgiving hosts about dietary needs and to offer to bring foods that might be better for some invited guests.

In addition to nutritional information, the hand-out discussed the important of post-meal exercise. Finally, the packet offered participants a “contract” for review. In part, it reads: “I know that it is possible to enjoy the wonderful food of this holiday AND keep my blood sugar stable. Today, I make a promise to myself to make healthy food choices on Thanksgiving.”

After the contract was reviewed in the group, peers were encouraged to step up to the challenge. Individuals without diabetes can also benefit from the dietary suggestions in the hand-out, as many suffer from obesity, hypertension, and other medical problems associated with poor eating habits.

We hope that this information will help guide many peers through a challenging – but delicious—holiday season. If you would like information on the Healthy Thanksgiving Plate used in our training, visit this link on the Idaho Plate Method.

In the photo above, Amber Rechitorovic leads a peer group through a discussion on holiday nutrition.

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