Holidays with Diabetes

Ask our CDE

Holidays with Diabetes

Question:How can I have fun and make it through these holiday weeks with my mind, my BG, and my weight intact? SO. MANY. CARBS...


Answer: The holidays are such a special time of year. And while going through this season living with diabetes may seem like an added challenge, it doesn’t have to mean missing out on quality family time, festive parties, or your favorite foods!


I want to encourage you to keep it simple this holiday season. Focus on what matters the most to you and don’t let stress or worry steal any of your cherished moments. Since diabetes is primarily self-managed, know that you are the most important expert on your healthcare team...because you are the expert of your life. :)


Here are my top 6 tips to help you enjoy the holidays with diabetes:

  1. Don’t deprive yourself. Going into the holiday season with a plan to completely avoid all desserts or carbs is not realistic and likely to backfire. Deprivation often leads to overeating, guilt and added stress. Instead of depriving yourself, choose a food that you love, enjoy it slowly while savoring every bite, and recognize that no one food is going to derail your health or blood sugar goals in one day. You’ve got this! :)

  1. Choose wisely. The amount of food and drink options at holiday events can be so exciting...and so overwhelming. Take a look at all of the options offered at a party or social gathering before putting anything on your plate (or in your cup). Then take a moment to think about what you really want as well as what you want to skip. And never be afraid to politely say ‘no thank you’ when offered a food or beverage that you might not care as much about.

  2. Avoid temptation. Limit your exposure to tempting foods by avoiding buying treats that you know you cannot resist and by not accepting food from others that may cause you to overeat. The saying ‘out of sight, out of mind’ holds a lot of truth! And if you are in need of a some new, diabetes-friendly treats, download my free holiday dessert guide.

  3. Listen to your (very smart) body. I know you’ve likely heard this before, but eating ‘mindfully’ means slowing down while you eat and closely paying attention to the food to notice how it tastes, looks, and feels in your mouth. Pay attention to your hunger and fullness levels and honor them, rather than ignore them.

  4. Don’t forget about exercise. Think about ways you can continue incorporating daily movement into the holiday season and make it a priority to stick to your exercise regimen if you already have one. Taking a walk during your lunch break, being active outdoors with family, and yep, shopping, can all add up and contribute to better blood sugar control and weight management.

  5. Give yourself grace. It is so important to go into the holiday season with a positive outlook. Rather than assuming your blood sugar will be less-than-ideal, try to have the mindset that you will enjoy this once a year season while maintaining your health. Taking a few moments to plan a strategy now will help guide you and keep you on track.