It’s the time of year for celebration, parties, and an abundance of holiday food. As someone living with type 1 diabetes, holiday eating comes with a unique set of concerns. While you want to enjoy traditions with family and friends, you also want to honor your body and manage your blood sugar.
Holiday eating with type 1 diabetes can be just as delicious and pleasurable as it is for anyone else. But, the truth is, you do have to eat with your blood sugar in mind. Your insulin and medication regimen requires you to be on top of the timing of your meals and carbohydrate intake.
To enjoy the holiday to its fullest, it’s helpful to have a plan for how you will balance holiday eating and diabetes. Try these tips for a happy holiday season without all the worry.
Holiday Eating With Type 1 Diabetes
While you may not want to just dive into a smorgasbord of holiday food, you certainly want to eat your favorite dishes that are an integral part of your family tradition. And you can!
Here’s how you can make holiday eating with type 1 diabetes safe, healthy, and delicious.
1. Plan Ahead
Most of the time, you know when you will be in a holiday eating situation. So, plan ahead and manage your eating and medication to prepare yourself for a potential indulgence.
For example, if you know you want dessert, consider how you can decrease other carbohydrates. Or, if you plan to indulge in a special beverage, be prepared for how it will impact your blood sugar.
Think about what treats matter most this time of year, and make space for them while still caring for your diabetes.
2. Be Prepared With A Diabetes-Friendly Appetizer
On feast and party days, the timing of meals can quickly throw off your regular schedule. As someone living with type 1 diabetes, you don’t want to get caught in a situation where your insulin and meal times don’t match up.
To keep yourself on a safe schedule, put yourself in charge of appetizers. This way, you can make sure there are tasty, diabetes-friendly foods on hand that you can eat to tide yourself over and maintain stable blood sugar.
3. Bring A Dish You Know You Can Eat
While you may plan to have pie after a holiday meal, that doesn’t mean you want to throw caution to the wind and gorge on every carbohydrate in sight.
Bringing a dish you know is low carb (and delicious!) will make choosing good options easier. And because you know the ingredients, you won’t have to play 20 questions with all the other cooks.
4. Take An After Meal Walk
Taking a walk after a meal, especially a high carbohydrate meal, can make a huge difference in your blood sugar.
People who take a walk 30 minutes after a meal may prevent high blood sugar after eating and improve their blood sugar control later in the day. It’s also an opportunity for family bonding. Instead of everyone slipping into a food coma on the couch, you can enjoy a refreshing time in nature.
5. Be Kind To Yourself
While you may be doing your best to follow the habits necessary to live with type 1 diabetes, that doesn’t mean you are a machine. You will overeat at times, and the holiday season makes that even more likely.
Be kind to yourself when that happens. An occasional day here or there where your blood sugar control is less than optimal will not make or break your long-term health. As long as you are aware of what is going on, adjust your medication accordingly, and don’t let one indulgent meal or day turn into a whole month, you will likely be ok.
If you have any concerns about managing your diabetes during the holiday season, check in with your care team. Your doctor is your best resource to make sure you have a safe, healthy holiday.