We are heading into the holiday season! If you have a child with diabetes, how do you handle holiday eating? There will be holiday parties and family dinners filled with memories and so much food!
Diabetes and holiday eating can trigger a great deal of anxiety and stress. As a parent of a child with diabetes, holiday eating and excitement can create the ugliest roller-coaster of blood glucose readings.
So how do you make the holidays a memorable time without experiencing the nightmares of highs and lows? You can let your child eat, play, be merry and deal with the messy blood glucose levels or you can try some of these options for dealing with diabetes and holiday eating.
1. Have a plan for holiday eating
I have always been a firm believer in allowing my son to be a child first and a child with diabetes second. This can sometimes be easier said than done. Try not to panic when you see new foods that your child wants to eat. Using the occasional “WAG” (wild @s$ guess) of carb counts can help to make things much more enjoyable.
2. Bring some of your own food with known carb counts
Integrated Diabetes’ November 2014 blog offers a lot of great advice on how to wade through the many holiday dishes that will cross your path. One great tip to handle holiday eating for a child with diabetes is to bring some of your own food! By having a few of your own dishes at events, you will already know the carb count and know how it impacts blood glucose levels.
3. Know the carb counts for a few standard food stuffs
Remember a few of the standards that will be served–15g CHO for a half cup of potatoes, 25g CHO tends to cover a lot of cookies, 20g for a small apple, and so on. We often have the same food again and again so try to relax a bit. Think back to some of carb counts you have used before and see if they will fit any of the food choices that you are looking at.
4. Check, check and check again!
Monitor blood glucose levels a lot. If you make an error on your carb guesses, checking regularly will catch those rises or drops ideally before they become too stressful.
5. Use your insulin pump features
If you are using an insulin pump, make sure that you use pump features such as combination boluses and extended boluses to help manage high fat-meals and grazing.
6. Enjoy the occasion!
Finally, remember to enjoy the occasion! You and your child with diabetes will get through holiday eating with a bit of planning.
Food is lovely…and tasty, but this is a time to make memories and cherish the time spent with good friends and family.
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