Holiday Nutrition Q&A with a Diabetes Coach

holiday nutrition Q&A with a diabetes coach. pictured: arial view of a festive holiday table

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I was so glad to have a discussion on holiday nutrition with my friend and diabetes coach, Melissa. You may remember her being featured on the blog before. Well, we are blessed to have her back!

In this Q&A, she is tackling some questions related to holidays and nutrition with diabetes. Let’s jump in…

Holiday Nutrition Q&A with a diabetes coach


Q: So, Melissa, welcome back to the blog! It’s always good to have you and your input here. With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, I’m thankful to have your expertise on nutrition around the holidays.

But first, I have to ask: what is your favorite Thanksgiving food? The one that is worth the extra dose of insulin every time. 

A: My all-time favorite is dressing, otherwise known as stuffing. That’s what we called it when I was growing up in New England. When it is cooked inside the turkey and soaks up even more flavor, I am super happy!


Q: This time of year can be a joyful time with holidays, but it can also be a stressful time with food for people with diabetes. This is certainly true for Thanksgiving — a day typically full of carbs on top of carbs. What tips or suggestions would you share with someone struggling with all the carbs this time of year?

A: Like any day or holiday when we must make decisions on what to eat, I always advise that you have a plan. I try to do this myself, especially when I know ahead of time of a party or event that I’ll be attending, and I front load my day with more vegetables and less carbohydrates, stay very hydrated, and up my exercise routine a bit to compensate for what I may treat myself to later.

Also, it is important to give ourselves grace and to be able to focus on the time spent with others, to have fun all while enjoying delicious food, no matter the carb count.

Preparing Thanksgiving meal


Q: Do you have any suggestions on how we can make Thanksgiving a bit more blood sugar friendly?

A: Over the years, I’ve learned to focus on vegetables first and sticking to whole food ingredients for meals and every day throughout the holidays. It’s nearly 2 months of on-and-off social events with holidays, and balance is so important. Not only on our plate but in all areas of our life and our relationship with holidays.

Q: What can you share with us about macronutrients and how it’s important to balance certain foods with others for optimal blood sugar stability? 

A: Absolutely! There are several things I can share about this:

  • Continue to prioritize ingredients, serving size, and their impact on Type 1 diabetes management.
  • Keep an eye on labeling factors, which can account for 10-15% variability.
  • Balancing fat and protein are also crucial; not all carbohydrates are created equal. For example, sweet potato casserole and macaroni and cheese, or green bean casserole can all have different effects on your blood sugar levels.
  • Include a more complex carbohydrate and non-starchy vegetables with fiber first, along with a source of healthy protein. That will all combine into a well balanced and more carb friendly meal.

variety of vegetables


Q: You also share recipes on your website. What kinds of recipes do you share, and where can people find them? 

A: I have free resources on my site that include breakfast, dinner, and dessert recipes that are delicious and blood sugar friendly too.

I often take traditional recipes and swap ingredients like almond flour in place of all purpose flour, because the net effect on blood sugar is easier to predict and dose for, but still taste amazing. I like to get a little creative and find healthier ways to recreate my favorite recipes. My tip is to understand the ingredients and healthier alternatives to use instead.


Q: Outside of the nutrition that plays such a leading role in Thanksgiving, there can be other things affecting someone’s diabetes. As a coach, do you offer any emotional, mental, or spiritual guidance in this area? 

A: I emphasize the significance of the holiday season, cherishing moments, and family traditions. Even though managing diabetes might appear challenging, embracing faith and gratitude can make the experience more enjoyable. It is crucial to prioritize your holiday schedule while keeping diabetes in focus to prevent unnecessary stress from building up. 

planning to avoid holiday stresses


Q: With this being a faith-based blog, and with Thanksgiving coming up, what are you thankful for? 

A: I am deeply grateful for each day that allows me to connect with others and share a positive light. This past year, the launch of my podcast has been a blessing, providing an opportunity to give glory to God for the chance to inspire my listeners and demonstrate how He can impact our lives during life’s trials.

I am thankful for my husband, my daughter Sarah, the new friends I have made, and the additional time I can spend with my church family.


Q: If people are interested in listening to your podcast, can you tell us what episodes are coming up?

A: I’d love to! Our next episode features Dr. Barber on hormones, nutrition, and hope. After that, I have an episode on boosting immune health in type 1 diabetes with Robin Allen. Then I will be interviewing Sara Greve, an endocrinologist who will discuss living a full life with type 1 diabetes. And to start the month of December, you’ll be back on the show, Kaycee, talking about the power of our faith in our diabetes journey.

That’s right! I’ll be sure to share that with my readers when it comes out. I always love being on your podcast. Thanks so much for sharing with us today!

Melissa Slemp, diabetes coach

Melissa is a wife and mom who has been living with type 1 diabetes for 40+ years. She is a certified health coach and personal trainer, and owner of Abundant Health with Melissa, helping busy women overcome obstacles and emotions managing diabetes. She has navigated menopause, an empty nest, life’s curve balls, and runs two thriving businesses, all while reaching her own health goals.

If you would like to connect with Melissa, you can visit her website at and listen to her Type 1 In Midlife Podcast Podcast | Melissa Slemp Type 1 In Midlife (


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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.

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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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