12 Diabetic Friendly Thanksgiving Recipes

Thanksgiving dinner. Roasted turkey garnished with cranberries on a rustic style table decoraded with pumpkins, vegetables, pie, flowers, and candles

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We don’t usually see diabetic friendly Thanksgiving recipes this time of year. This means navigating Thanksgiving with diabetes can be a challenge. But with a few changes here and there, many of the traditional Thanksgiving foods can be made much healthier for people with diabetes.

Do we have to eat diabetic friendly foods at Thanksgiving? No. Do most traditional Thanksgiving recipes require more planning and blood sugar management? Yes. Many of them are super carb-heavy, and that imbalance is likely to cause a ruckus with blood sugar levels.

My point in sharing these diabetes friendly Thanksgiving recipes is that we can practice some substitution in our Thanksgiving meal for a better outcome.

12 diabetes friendly thanksgiving recipes. Pictured: salad, sweet potatoes, mashed cauliflower, and whole grain rolls

Now, having said that, is there a recipe you just can’t live without on Thanksgiving? Then make it and plan around it. Are there other things that you’d be open to substituting with a recipe that is more diabetic friendly? There’s your opportunity to balance things out.

What makes a diabetic friendly thanksgiving recipe?

I talk in most of my recipe blog posts about what makes a recipe “diabetic friendly” or not. People will say lots of different things to explain what diabetic friendly means, mostly because we all have unique situations and diets and preferences, and that’s ok. There’s likely some truth in it all.

For me personally, after living with type 1 for 30+ years, I consider something to be diabetic friendly if it is either:

  • a recipe that combines fiber, fat, and protein to help stabilize blood sugar levels to avoid a blood sugar spike
  • a more diabetes friendly alternative to the ingredients you would normally find in a traditional version of that recipe

Thanksgiving dinner. Roasted turkey garnished with cranberries on a rustic style table decoraded with pumpkins, vegetables, pie, flowers, and candles

What makes these recipes diabetes friendly?

In this recipe collection, I’m focused on the second of these points above, as most of these recipes are side dishes and we’re trying to make them in a more diabetic friendly way. I’m all about ingredient substitution so we can swap out the ingredients that aren’t great for blood sugar management for what is.

But if you look closely at these recipes below, many of them have the fat-fiber-protein trifecta we want, too. Double win!

So here are a total of nine side dish options and two dessert recipes made diabetic friendly. (What’s Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie? C’mon!) Plus, I’m throwing in a bonus low carb recipe suggestion for how to use your leftover turkey over the weekend!

9 Diabetic Friendly Thanksgiving Side Dishes

1. green beans and mushrooms

This green beans and mushrooms recipe is a healthier side dish than the popular cream-soup-based green bean recipe. You know…with the fried onions on top.

These non-starchy vegetables are a great addition to the turkey on Thanksgiving. I talk about building your plate and making wise recipe choices in my 5 Ways to Navigate Thanksgiving with Diabetes blog post, and this is a great example. Add in the mushrooms for extra low-carb fiber and protein. Include the bacon or not; the choice is yours.

sauteed green beans with mushrooms

Green Beans and Mushrooms by Jessica Gavin

2. Cranberry Pecan Low Carb Stuffing

I’ve got to be honest. This just looks delicious! It was technically made as a keto diet recipe, so that means it’s low carb. It’s not traditional stuffing made with bread, but it’s worth giving it a shot with all the delicious flavors of pecans, cranberries, and parmesan cheese. I’m in!

Bonus tip – you don’t have to rice your own cauliflower. I’ve been buying riced cauliflower in my grocer’s freezer section for quite a while now. It just makes all the prep work super quick, and you’re cooking in no time!

Cranberry Pecan Cauliflower Rice Stuffing

Cranberry Pecan Low Carb Stuffing by Peace Love and Low Carb

3. Parmesan Brussels Sprouts

Alright. Brussels sprouts. I feel like people either love them or hate them. If they’re not your jam, keep scrolling. But if you’re like me, they can be pretty tasty!

The reason I chose this recipe to feature in my diabetic friendly Thanksgiving recipes collection is that’s is a super quick and easy recipe to make and get in more non-starchy vegetables. That, and it’s a vegetable covered in cheese. So, yes! You could easily pop this in the oven on a baking sheet right as the turkey is finishing up. Done!

parmesan brussels sprouts

Parmesan Brussels Sprouts by the Clean Eating Couple

4. Apple Cranberry Walnut Salad

This salad recipe reminds me of my Autumn Harvest Salad with the apples, bacon, and cranberries. What a flavorful fall combination with great texture too.

This recipe recommends candied walnuts. You can skip that part to lower the carbs and leave out the added sugars. Or skip the walnuts altogether and use a different nut of your choice. One of the beauties of a good salad is the flexibility you have with ingredients. Need a quick apple chop? Try this easy slicer.

Apple Cranberry Walnut Salad

Apple Cranberry Walnut Salad by La Creme de la Crumb

5. Crispy Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are an ingredient many people with diabetes question, and it’s a valid question. Yes, they have natural sugars and carbs. But they can also be a wholesome choice because of their fiber.

This particular recipe would be a great swap for the traditional sweet potato casserole with all the marshmallows or candied pecans on top. Plus, this recipe comes without added sugars, and with the option to roast them in an air fryer. That helps eliminate something else needing space in the oven.

crispy roasted sweet potatoes

Crispy Roasted Sweet Potatoes by Dance Around the Kitchen

6. Whole Grain Oat Rolls

Rolls are one of my favorite parts of Thanksgiving. I seriously love bread. Which honestly makes diabetes hard some days! But these rolls are made with whole wheat flour and oat flour, so the blood sugar spike shouldn’t be as pronounced.

There are certainly still carbs in these rolls. But they are a healthier carb choice with better protein and fat as well. So if your Thanksgiving isn’t complete without a roll, here’s a healthy choice.

whole grain oat rolls

Whole Grain Oat Rolls by The View from Great Island

7. Skinny Mashed Potatoes

What would make mashed potatoes into “skinny” mashed potatoes? Well, there are still carbs because potatoes have carbs. But these are made without whole milk and butter. Instead the recipe calls for greek yogurt, so these potatoes have protein!

Season them up with parsley, chives, garlic, and pepper. You’ve got yourself a more diabetic friendly mashed potato recipe!

skinny mashed potatoes

Skinny Mashed Potatoes by The Diary of a Real Housewife

8. Mashed Cauliflower

Want the creaminess of mashed potatoes without the carbs? Look no further.

I have really started to like a cauliflower substitution myself. And this is a quick and easy mashed potato substitute. Steamed cauliflower, butter, and garlic are the stars of this show. And a food processor does all the hard work for you!

mashed cauliflower with seasonings and butter

Mashed Cauliflower by Clean and Delicious

9. Grilled Asparagus

Done right, asparagus can be a tasty and healthy side dish. And grilling with some extra virgin olive oil, lemon, salt, and pepper is the way to go.

Is it not typically warm during Thanksgiving where you live? I don’t blame you for not wanting to grill outside. In that case, I would highly recommend a Ninja. I use mine all the time – to air fry, grill, bake, broil, and more. It’s super handy and super fast!

grilled asparagus with lemon

Grilled Asparagus by Foodie Crush

2 Diabetic Friendly Thanksgiving desserts

10. Crustless Pumpkin Pie

When I was a kid, my family would have to literally hide the pumpkin pie from my little sister. If she saw it, she would want to eat it instead of Thanksgiving dinner — she loved it SO much! I honestly can’t remember a Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie, and I don’t really want to!

I am super happy to have a recipe that cuts the carbs now. There are still carbs in the added sugars in this recipe, but this is definitely a cut without the carb-filled crust.

crustless pumpkin pie with whipped cream

Crustless Pumpkin Pie by Spaceships and Laser Beams

If you’re looking for a super low carb pumpkin pie recipe, I would suggest this one. It’s made with Erythritol in place of sugar. Erythritol is basically a sugar substitute that is made from sugar alcohols. It’s gluten free and non-GMO. So the net carbs in this recipe are only 3 grams!

11. Ultimate Healthy Apple Crumble

If you’re looking for a different fall dessert for Thanksgiving, might I recommend an apple crumble? Apples are definitely in season in the fall, and this kind of a dessert is just so decadent.

This particular one is a super healthy recipe, with whole wheat flour, oats, and no added sugar. And with the apples and cinnamon, the house will smell amazing when you bake it. Dig in!

ultimate healthy apple crumble

Ultimate Healthy Apple Crumble by Amy’s Healthy Baking

A diabetes friendly Recipe for the Next Day

12. Turkey Stuffed Peppers

And now for a suggestion for the post-turkey meal. Or after you’ve already had leftovers of the Thanksgiving meal and don’t want to do the same thing again another time.

Use your leftover turkey in some stuffed peppers! There are veggies and protein galore in this recipe. And at only 20 grams of carbs per serving, it’s a good chance to get a break from the Thanksgiving blood sugar roller coaster you won’t want to repeat.

turkey stuffed bell peppers

Turkey Stuffed Peppers by Ahead of Thyme

Enjoy these diabetic friendly thanksgiving recipes

There’s so much variety in these recipes that hopefully you’ve found a few you’d like to try this Thanksgiving. And hopefully this will help your cause on one of the most challenging days of the year for diabetics.


NOTE: I am not a certified nutritionist or registered dietician. Nothing here should be taken as professional medical advice. Any nutritional information provided should be used as a general guideline and estimate only. For the most accurate information, please calculate based on the specific ingredients and brands you use, as well as any changes you make to the recipe.


12 diabetes friendly thanksgiving recipes. Pictured: salad, sweet potatoes, mashed cauliflower, and whole grain rolls


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I love how this template makes counting nutrition facts SO easy. You literally list the total grams from each ingredient, total it at the bottom, and divide by the number of servings. Voila! 

This recipe template walks you through every step. And you can keep it for future reference. Just calculate it once and you’re done!

Check my Etsy store for an instant download that includes a cover page, section header pages for different kinds of recipes, section tabs, and this recipe template.

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Kaycee - Devotions on Diabetes


Welcome to my Devotions on Diabetes website! Thanks for stopping by. I've lived with diabetes for 30+ years. And I'm here to provide you with a heaping helping of encouragement while you deal with diabetes and navigate this chronic illness with God by your side.

There are lots of goodies here: devotions, diabetic friendly recipes, Bible reading plans, and more. So grab your favorite (sugar-free) beverage and enjoy your stay.







Devotions on Diabetes: A 30-Day Journey to Anchor Your Soul is now available on Amazon.

Devotions on Diabetes: A 30-Day Journey to Anchor Your Soul by Kaycee Parker




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