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For families managing diabetes, the holiday season can be fraught with temptations. Although it is easy to lose control with the multiple classroom parties, family dinner gatherings, and travel, planning can help your child stay healthy during the holiday season.
The Le Bonheur Endocrine Team recommends:
Eat an early healthy breakfast or snack. Family holiday dinners are often scheduled at odd times and can be delayed. Skipped meals make it harder to manage diabetes, so plan to have light snacks on hand, just in case.
Review the sign-up list for classroom parties. This allows you time to better estimate carbohydrate amounts of your child’s favorite dishes.
Bring your child’s special dessert to family gatherings. By bringing a dessert, you know the carbs in each serving. Have your child choose his favorite, and decrease your mealtime anxiety.
Do not drink your calories. Sugar sweetened drinks can add calories while increasing blood glucose levels. Sip sugar-free versions of favorite drinks; choose water or low- or zero-calorie options between drinks. (Just watch the artificial sweeteners.)
Pack snacks and meds when traveling. Bring complex and simple carbohydrate snacks (think nuts and veggies) in your carry-on to quiet hungry tots. Also, double up on your diabetes supplies for unexpected travel delays. Finally, keep medications and supplies in your carry-on bag for easy access.
Get moving. Create family memories with fun activities like a three-legged relay race or touch football. Games take the focus off of food and constant grazing.
Check out reliable resources. The American Diabetes Association website, diabetes.org, has reliable information and links to additional resources for managing diabetes during the holidays, including recipes.
NOTE: The LeBonheur Outpatient Endocrinology and Diabetes team is putting together a healthy holiday guide and cookbook with recipes and tips designed for children with diabetes. Send along your favorite healthy holiday recipe to be considered. Email your recipe to firstname.lastname@example.org. • Deadline: Friday January 16, 2015.
Nakicia Smith, licensed social worker; LaTonya Ivy, certified diabetes educator; and Dena Dourisseau, registered dietitian