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Ways to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner while staying healthy

Diabetes “Lunch and Learn” at CHRISTUS Oschner Lake Area Hospital
Published: Nov. 22, 2021 at 9:32 PM CST
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - The holiday season has officially kicked off, and CHRISTUS Oschner is helping those living with diabetes prepare.

At Monday’s “Lunch and Learn” at Lake Area Hospital, Christiana Marcantel, diabetes educator at CHRISTUS Oschner SWLA, talked about ways to enjoy holiday meals while staying healthy.

If you’re around a big Thanksgiving feast this week, it can be tempting to overdo it.

“It’s not all or nothing. You really can enjoy the holidays,” Marcantel said. “You can enjoy the food. You can enjoy your family. And you don’t have to restrict yourself.”

Some of the topics Marcantel covered included monitoring blood sugar, problem-solving, healthy eating, and healthy coping.

“Monitoring your blood sugar is extremely important, especially during the holidays, because you have all this good food,” Marcantel said.

We also spoke with one of the attendees at today’s “Lunch and Learn” who said learning these tips is especially important in Louisiana.

“Because being in the south - the food - that’s a given that it’s going to probably have a big impact,” Veronica Spiller said.

Spiller has Type 1 diabetes and says one of her biggest takeaways was she can still enjoy good food in moderation.

“More often than not, it’s more of a portion size. To say that you can have everything that everybody is like, ‘Can you have sugar?’ Yes, we can, but we have to have it in moderation,” Spiller said.

Marcantel stressed the importance of creating a realistic plan and sticking with it.

“You don’t want to make this big grandiose plan and say, ‘You know, I’m only gonna eat 20 grams of carbs and I’m only going to drink water and I’m just gonna watch everybody enjoy themselves and I’m just gonna suffer here in silence.’ You don’t have to do that,” Marcantel said.

Marcantel also said whether you have diabetes or not, exercise is important to stay healthy, help prevent diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity and circulation problems.

“You don’t have to get up today and go run a 5k on Thanksgiving morning or anything like that,” Marcantel said. “But make a small goal and start walking around your neighborhood. Find a buddy that can hold you accountable and that you go together.”

Spiller says the “Lunch and Learn” sheds light on how strong her support system is.

“That’s also an important thing is to have a really good support group, and if you feel you have no one - if you look around a little bit harder - you will find someone that is in a similar situation or the same as you,” Spiller said.

Most of the events like this one were put on hold because of COVID-19, but Marcantel was glad they could host Monday’s event, just in time for Thanksgiving.

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