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Our first Christmas Holiday with our daughter, after her diagnosis, if I am being very honest here, was not that scary. Our daughter was only 2-years old at the time, so there wasn’t a lot of food that she ate during that time.
However, as time passed, and with her eating more things, I started to become more and more nervous and anxious about the types of food she could eat during the holiday season.
Our culture is Puertorican, which means, very high carb meals like: rice with pigeon peas, potato salad, tres leches cake, tembleque (a coconut dessert), coquito (without alcohol for her), mashed potatoes, and very high-fat foods.
I mean, we have always been very lenient with her sweets and we let her eat whatever she desires, as long as is in moderation, but this is now, back then, it was NOT like this.
Over the years, I have started to be more aggressive with her Diabetes Management, especially all thanks to Dexcom, which gives us the freedom to manage better her lows and high sugar levels.
Here are some tips for managing your child’s diabetes during the Holiday season!
1. Low Carb Meals
Have your child eat low-carb meals or snacks during the day.
Having a low carbohydrate meal before going to a party can help maintain appropriate blood sugar levels. An appropriate blood sugar range is between 80-120mg/dL before meals.
Make sure to offer your child healthy options without any carbs or very few carbs. Some low-carb options could be Popcorn, Low sugar yogurt, Cheese, apples, chicken, tuna, and peanut butter.
You don’t want your child’s blood sugars getting too high and affecting their behavior at the party! If they eat something with lots of carbohydrates it will cause their blood sugars to spike and then crash which can make them irritable and moody.
2. Meal Plan
It can be hard to keep your child from eating unhealthy foods at a party.
Parties are often filled with unhealthy snacks and sugary drinks that can ruin your child’s diet.
Manage your stress, plan ahead of time what type of snacks and meals your child can have at the party. Start getting your child prepared about the types of foods that might be there and what is the plan of action about eating and dosing for insulin.
If it’s a party outside your home keep in mind that there may not be any healthy options available. This is something that you are going to have to learn to deal with.
My recommendation is to have your child eat at least one snack or meal before going to the party which will help them avoid eating too many unhealthy foods at the party.
3. Know Insulin Carb Ratio Doses
It can be difficult to keep track of your child’s carb intake during the holidays with so many parties that you might be attending to.
The holidays tend to be a time when we indulge in foods that aren’t always the healthiest for us. Your diabetic child might end up eating more than their usual amount of carbs and you’ll need to be prepared with the right insulin dosage.
Since you will not have a nutritional label on hand to see the number of carbs for the food, you can use The Calorie King as a great tool for tracking your child’s carb consumption. This book is a great guide.
4. Have your child drink a lot of water
It can be tough to keep your child’s diabetes in check during the Holidays. There are so many sugary snacks and treats around, it’s hard to resist temptation.
All those holiday treats can really spike your child’s blood sugar levels, especially if you’re not careful and on top of it.
Make sure your child drinks plenty of water throughout the day, both at home and at the party. Water will help to keep his/her blood sugar levels stable and minimize unhealthy food consumption.
5. Encourage your child to eat vegetables
It can be hard to get your diabetic child to eat vegetables, especially at a party. I know I struggle a lot with this, even when we are home.
All parents want their children to eat healthy foods, but it can be tough to get them to eat their veggies. Diabetic children can be even more resistant.
If there are vegetables in the form of chips like the Veggie Straws, have your child eat them. It is yummy and crunchy; the perfect snack for any occasion, that your child will love.
6. Have a walk
After eating a high-carb meal, your child’s blood sugar may spike.
A walk around the neighborhood is a great way to help manage any potential spikes in glucose levels after eating a carb-heavy meal. It’s also a fun way to spend time with your child and get some exercise yourself!
It’s not easy to manage your child’s diabetes during the holidays when everyone wants to eat and drink more than usual – especially children! However with preparation and these tips you can make it through!
Make sure to offer your child healthy options without any carbs or very few carbs. Meal planning ahead of time will help your child’s glucose levels stay on track when attending holiday parties. Know your child’s insulin carb ratio doses for managing his/her blood sugar levels. Have your child drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep him/her hydrated and minimize unhealthy food consumption. Encourage your child to eat vegetables at holiday meals and have a walk after eating a high-carb meal to prevent blood sugar spikes.
Whatever you do, just enjoy yourself and be glad that your family can celebrate together!