7 Tips To Get Through Holiday Parties with Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes and holiday parties

Holiday parties can be great fun but they also typically present opportunities to eat or be tempted by foods that are not good for you. This statement is true for many people and especially if you have type 2 diabetes.

Naturally you want to have a wonderful time during the festivities, but your plans may go awry unless you pay attention to your glucose levels. Here are seven tips on how to enjoy the holiday cheer without experiencing challenges from your diabetes.

Bring your own. When going to a house party, bring along something you know you can eat. Your special dessert or side dish may be the hit of the night and you will already know how many carbs are in each serving!

Network with other diabetes party participants. If you know other people who are going to the party who also have diabetes, check in with them several days before the event and plan on what to bring. Then all of you will know you have foods you can enjoy safely.

Read about diabetes support

Steer clear of meat. Numerous studies have shown a relationship between eating red and processed meat and the development of type 2 diabetes. Now a new international study reports on a link between eating these foods and the risk of gestational diabetes, and that includes women who are not yet pregnant. So walk past the bacon and sausages and head for the fresh veggies and low-fat dips and salsas.

Read about type 2 diabetes and meat


Bring your testing equipment. Don’t leave home without your glucose monitor and strips. It pays to be prepared for unexpected delays in travel time or available food or events that may have a negative impact on your blood glucose levels. With that in mind, consider the next tip as well.

Read about paying for diabetes test strips

Pack extra meds and snacks. This tip is a good idea especially if you are traveling hours away or overnight to visit friends. Bring along extra medication and easy-to-store snacks (a small lunchbox sized cooler is great for keeping things fresh, including insulin) such as nuts, raw carrots and bell peppers, low-carb crackers, almond or peanut butter, and oranges. These treats are great for you and the entire family.

Don’t apologize or compromise. If someone urges you to taste or eat something you know you should avoid, don’t apologize for refusing the food or compromising your health. You know which foods and beverages are right for you, and you have a responsibility to be good to yourself.

Be empowered. A polite “no thank you” or “It looks wonderful, but it’s not part of my health program” is sufficient. You are the one who has to live with the consequences of your actions, not them.

Focus on fun, not food. Holiday parties include food, but they are about so much more. Step away from the buffet and find some action. Suggest some party games or participate in any that are already underway. Take a walk (walk the dog!), talk with friends, play with the kids, dance, help clean up, or start a sing-along.

It is possible to go to holiday parties, have a wonderful time, and still stay true to a good type 2 diabetes program. After all, the greatest gift you can give yourself this holiday season is health.

Middleton P. Gestational diabetes: higher animal protein intake during pregnancy is associated with increased risk, and higher vegetable protein intake with decreased risk. Evidence Based Nursing. DOI:10.1136/eb-2013-101550

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