Navigating the Holidays with T1D


Holidays are a time of magic made up of sparkling lights, the piney scent of Christmas trees, bows and ribbons, hot chocolate and sweet and savory food. It’s time to enjoy the company of friends and family at festive celebrations. It’s also a time that can be challenging for people with type 1 diabetes (T1D). During this time of year, it’s important to remember that having T1D doesn’t mean missing out on the celebrations.

Diabetes Research Institute’s Susan Weiner, MS, RDN, CDE, CDN, says when it comes to holidays and special events, pre-planning can be very helpful. “It’s important to enjoy family holidays and special functions. It’s not just about the food. What do the holidays mean to you besides food? Try to be mindful of your choices. Savor the flavor of whatever you choose to eat and listen to your body’s satiety cues.”

Navigate the holidays with T1D using these tips that will decrease the stress and increase the fun:

  • Stay active. You’ll feel better and have more energy, and it will balance off some of those extra treats, whether your chief concern is blood-glucose control, weight management or both.
  • Don’t skip meals before a party. Instead, eat regular meals that include carbs, protein, and a little fat. It will help keeps your appetite and blood sugars controlled.
  • Plan ahead. Learn the carb count of the holiday foods you love. Make a plan to fit them in, so you don’t feel deprived on the holidays. See some helpful carb count charts below for your Christmas & Hanukkah favorites.
  • Test blood glucose frequently.
  • Be kind to yourself. Remember, the holiday season comes once a year. If your blood glucose spikes or drops, correct and move on.

Remember that there is more to the holidays than food. Enjoy your friends and family and embrace this magical time of year!