Handling Diabetes and the Holidays

We are heading into the holiday season!  Soon we will be facing holiday parties and family dinners filled with memories and so much food! When living with diabetes, all of that food can trigger a great deal of anxiety and stress.  As a parent of a child with diabetes, food and excitement can create the most ugly 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….

  1. Have a plan!  I have always been a firm believer in allowing my son to be a child first and a child with diabetes second.  This could sometimes be easier said than done as we watch and panic. Pushing down the panic and moving forward with wag carb (wild @s$ guess) counts helped to make things much more enjoyable for my son.
  2. Integrated Diabetes’ November blog offers a lot of great advice on how to wade through the many holiday dishes that will cross your path.  One great tip 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. 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. Test a lot.  If you make an error on your carb guesses testing will catch those rises or drops ideally before they become too stressful.
  5. 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. Finally, remember to enjoy the occasion! Food is lovely…and tasty, but this is a time to make memories and cherish the time spent with good friends and family.  Remember to make that your focus and make diabetes take a backseat as much as you can.

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