It's that time of year again. It seems like there is holiday gathering after holiday gathering, which can make diabetes management a little more difficult than usual. No matter which of the December holidays your family celebrates, there is always food involved in the celebration.
As with Valentine's Day, Easter and Halloween, there are a few things that you can do to make it a bit more manageable with diabetes - without taking away from the festivities.
School Parties with Diabetes
I think it's important to remember that your child with diabetes just wants to be a child like his or her siblings and classmates. They don't want to be treated differently or singled out because of their diabetes. For that reason I personally try to let my child participate in school parties as much as possible with the other kids. This means making sure that she gets insulin for those class party snacks. You can volunteer to help at the class party or work it out with the teacher or school nurse to make sure that carbs are counted and insulin is given.
Diabetes and Holiday Treats
At home your child can still have some of the seasonal treats, such as mini candy canes or Advent calendar chocolates (the Advent calendar chocolates I purchased are only 2 carbs each). The key is to either choose small portions that don't need insulin to cover them (ask your medical team, but many agree that foods under 5 grams of carbs are "free" foods) or work them into a meal as dessert.
Holiday Meals with an Insulin Pump
Of course there are always family get-togethers over the holidays with a literal smorgasbord of food and desserts. When my daughter was on injections we would make a plate for her and do our best to estimate the carbs. Sometimes she would have to choose between seconds and an extra injection. Starting on an insulin pump has made meals like these much easier because we can bolus for seconds or dessert without having to give multiple injections.
If this is your first year dealing with diabetes during the holidays you might wonder if you can carry on with your traditions. I'm happy to say that our daughter has continued baking cookies with Grandma on Christmas Eve just as she did before she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.
With a little planning and flexibility, holidays with diabetes can still be happy holidays.