Eating Healthy this Thanksgiving

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November is Diabetes Awareness month. One of the most important ways to control diabetes or to prevent it is by maintaining a healthy diet. This isn’t always easy to do, especially during the biggest eating holiday of the year. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Americans:

  • Raised an estimated 248 million turkeys. That’s over half a turkey for every man, woman and child in the US, and we would STILL have leftovers.
  • In 2009, we ate nearly 13.3 pounds of turkey each over the course of a year. Probably a big chunk of that was during the Thanksgiving holiday.
  • About 2.4 billion pounds of sweet potatoes were produced last year.
  • In 2009, Illinois produced 429 million pounds of pumpkins. 931 million pounds were produced throughout the entire United States.

With all that food being produced, a big portion will wind up on your table and on your plate. It is more important than ever to eat healthy. A few facts about diabetes:

  • Nearly 26 million people in the US have diabetes.
  • In Illinois, about 660,000 people over the age of 18 were diagnosed with diabetes in 2005.
  • About 79 million people in the US have pre-diabetes, and are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
  • It is estimated that 1 in 3 American adults will have diabetes in the year 2050.

If you do not have diabetes, it is still a good idea to know the risk factors. If someone in your family has diabetes, you are at risk of having it as well. Other risk factors include obesity, being overweight, high blood pressure and/or if you have a lifestyle that is inactive. If you have diabetes, talk to your doctor about ways to eat healthy. Here are a few simple tips to eat better:

  • Try changing to fat-free milk or yogurt.
  • Eat leaner cuts of meat.
  • Switch to whole-grain breads and rice and whole-wheat pasta.
  • Eat lots of vegetables! These can be fresh or frozen.
  • Avoid processed food as much as possible. They are usually high in fat, and low in fiber.
  • Avoid frying foods. Instead, try to broil, steam, bake or grill meats and vegetables.
  • Do not eat the skin on chicken or turkey.

For more information on Diabetes Awareness Month, please visit the American Diabetes Association. Everyone at IlliniCare wishes you and your family a happy and healthy Thanksgiving holiday!