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Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner & Dessert Recipes

Cooking a traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner for a diabetic is easier than you think - you'll just need to think ahead about your choice of dessertTraditional Thanksgiving Dinner & Dessert Recipes

Celebrate with a meal you won't forget this year !


It's a fact that even the most experienced cook can feel intimidated by the thought of cooking and preparing a perfect meal for Thanksgiving.

So, if you're planning to get together with the family this year, planning ahead can be one way to help you stay calm and enable you to make the most of this special occasion.

Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner Menu

A thanksgiving dinner traditionally consists of:-

Turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, side dishes, sauce & stuffing, desserts & pumpkin pie, and the usual dilemma of what to cook with the leftovers !

Of course, there are plenty more ideas for what you can cook if you prefer not to go traditional, as well as some tasty vegetarian options.

All these warming foods are most welcome in the cold weather of winter.

Buying the Turkey

One of the big decisions will be what size turkey you need to buy - so you'll need to have a good idea just how many people you are cooking for - before you make your purchase.

Planning Your Family Dinner

Even for the most organised cook, having a timeline of what time you need to put each thing into the oven, and the various temperatures, can be a real help.

It can be especially helpful when there's people around who are offering to "help" you in the kitchen !

You'll want to create your own, but here's a sample timeline:-

Week before

  • pick out your favorite recipes
  • make a shopping list of ingredients, don't forget to add decorative items such as napkins
  • shop ahead for all essential items to avoid a last minute rush

Two to Three Days before

  • remove turkey from freezer to fridge to defrost
  • remove any sausages and frozen desserts from freezer
  • make or prepare cranberry sauce
  • make and freeze bread rolls

One Day before

  • make the pumpkin pie
  • prepare vegetables

Thanksgiving morning

  • cooking times will vary depending on the size of your turkey, please check the weight and instructions for cooking temperature and length of time
  • make the stuffing
  • make the mashed potatoes (or make the previous day and use microwave to heat)
  • make gravy
  • serve & enjoy !

Adapting your Favorite Family Thanksgiving Recipes for Diabetics

For the diabetic, the dinner itself is unlikely to present a problem.  Simply serve fewer potatoes than for other guests, but put plenty of vegetables and turkey on their plate.

If cooking potatoes, try using sweet potatoes, as these have a lower GI level, so make it easier to help control blood sugar levels well.

For dessert, the traditional desserts can be full of sugar.  So unless you try serving them a far smaller portion, the best idea is to have one sweet that everyone can enjoy.  

For inspiration, check out healthy dessert recipes , where there's no compromise on flavour, but the food contains lower sugar and carbohydrates.

Recommended Resources

Diabetic Cookbooks & Recipe Books - our favorite cook books for cooking the best healthy cakes & meals