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Holiday Tips for Children with Diabetes by Brandon Bolton, RDN

The holiday season should be a joyous time to spend with family and loved ones. This time of year can be tough for children with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. It can be difficult for children to manage their blood sugars during the holiday season due to changes to daily routines, holiday meals, increased eating, new foods, and changes in activity levels. Remember, holiday meals are special occasions, it is okay for kids to break their typical routine during the holidays and enjoy themselves. You may see blood sugars fluctuate more during this time. Try not to let holiday eating be a full week-long event, and instead enjoy your holiday meal and then try to return to your normal eating schedule as soon as you can.

Here are some tips for healthy and happy holiday eating:

  • Encourage your child to follow the “MyPlate” method of eating : 1/2 plate non-starchy vegetables, 1/4 plate lean protein, 1/4 plate carbohydrate.
  • During holiday meals, try filling up on non-starchy vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, celery, zucchini, brussels sprouts, asparagus, cabbage, and many more.
  • Help your child count their carbohydrates. It can be difficult for your child to keep track of everything they are eating during a holiday meal, but do your best as a team. This can help with blood sugar and medication management throughout the day.
  • Don’t force children to finish their meal if they take too much.
  • Sweets are allowed. It is alright for your child to have some sweets during the holidays, just try to monitor intake and stick with small portions.
  • Increase blood sugar monitoring. Since there are a lot of foods, sweets, and activities surrounding holidays, be sure to have your child check their blood sugar more often to stay on top of any changes that might be occurring.
  • Plan for some activity. Take a family walk or plan some games that can get everybody up and moving. Staying active can help keep your child’s blood sugar in a normal range and can be healthy for everyone!
  • Enjoy the festivities with your loved ones, and remember not to be too hard on yourselves.

If you have any questions about helping children with diabetes and about your child’s nutritional needs or how to manage diabetes throughout the holiday season, feel free to reach out to the dietitians at NOAH!