Skip to content

Managing diabetes during the holidays: Information for patients and families



Patient care

Information for patients and families

The Primary School
Glut1 Deficiency Foundation
The National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD)

Content Reviewers:

Rishi Desai, MD, MPH

Turkey, giblet gravy, wine, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green bean casserole, wine, sweet potato casserole, wine, dinner rolls, cranberry sauce, wine, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, and my mother’s favorite (even though I don’t know what it is) green fluff.

These are staples that I’m planning to have on my Thanksgiving table which don’t even account for snacks that will be served throughout the day before the feast.

American Thanksgiving is famous for its gut-busting portions and rich dishes, but there are a number of holidays this time of year that can be just as challenging for someone with diabetes.

So, how do you keep to a diabetes management plan when temptations, travel, and parties throw you off your routine?

Here are a few tips to help keep blood sugar under control.

1) Plan ahead.

Are you in charge of hosting a holiday party? Make healthy menu decisions.

Are you invited to a party? Offer to bring a healthy dish to share.

2) Mimic your regular routine as much as possible.

For example, don’t skip meals to prepare for a feast.

Have your normal breakfast and try to eat as close to your usual meal times as possible.

If the party happens later than your usual dinner time, try having a small snack at the regular mealtime and cut back when the holiday feast is served.

3) Be smart about alcohol.

Alcohol can interfere with blood sugar levels and diabetes medications.

It also lowers your inhibitions, making you more likely to overeat.

So, if you do choose to imbibe, limit your intake, sip your drink slowly, and don’t drink on an empty stomach.

4) Beat the buffet.