It’s beginning to look at lot like… SUGAR & CARBS!

One of the most common questions I get asked around Christmas and holiday time is; ‘How do I stay on track with my diet’ and ‘what should I NOT be eating, and what CAN I eat.’

Christmas brings seasonal joy, the comfort of friends and family, as well as over eating and drinking. It’s a special time of year to eat, drink and be merry, but when living with a condition such as diabetes, you are limited when it comes to choices of things that bring on the Christmas cheer. Does this mean we can’t eat, drink and be merry? Absolutely not!

I’ve come up with a few helpful tips and tricks to help make this festive season an enjoyable and healthy one:


Education is the key for! Most people are completely unaware of the effects and causes of both types of diabetes, which intern means they will be unaware of the foods you should and shouldn’t be consuming. A quick chat to close friends and family regarding your condition will go a long way. Explain to them the role that insulin plays to help our bodies process carbs and also let them know it’s not just about watching your sugar intake – carbohydrate intake is equally important, for example: a large serving of mashed potatoes can cause a surge in blood sugar levels just like sweets and chocolate.

Hopefully this may encourage them to ask for a diabetic friendly recipe for Christmas lunch and allow you to feel more supported in making your own diabetic food to enjoy at Christmas lunch. Your main aim over the festive season is to still consumer high fiber foods, complex carbohydrates, lots of water and fill up on lean proteins and veggies!

Bring your own:

Don’t be afraid to ask if you can contribute a dish or two to the table so you can eat stress free.

Here are a few options that you could make and take to a party or Christmas lunch:

  • Fresh guacamole or hummus and veggies
  • Fresh popped Popcorn
  • Raw fruit platter
  • Wholegrain breads
  • Low fat cheeses – cottage cheese, ricotta and quark.
  • Tomato salsa with veggie sticks
  • Avoid all processed meats
  • Homemade pita chips
  • Raw nuts
  • Deviled eggs
  • Roast Turkey- eat the light colored meat (not stuffed)
  • Whole baked or pouched baked Salmon
  • Stuffed vegetables
  • Roasted vegetables
  • Baked ham- go easy on this, low carb but high salt content

Keep exercising:

Regular activity is a key part of managing diabetes and keeping it up during the holiday season is a must. This is something you could do as a family, make it a social outing to catch up with a friend; it can be done in small amounts throughout the day or could be done while everyone else is pigging out on chocolate!

When you are active, your cells become more sensitive to insulin so it can work more efficiently. Your cells also remove glucose from the blood using a mechanism totally separate from insulin during exercise. So, exercising consistently can lower blood glucose levels.  My tip would be; exercise after you have consumed carbohydrates- this will help prevent hypoglycemia from occurring.


We all love a boozy lunch but the sugar is alcohol can have a massive effect on your blood sugar levels. Try and eat before you have a few drinks as hunger can distort your judgement and choice of drink. Don’t forget that alcohol has a very high calorie content so try and drink a alcohol low in sugar. Options may include: lower carb beer, small glass of red wine, use a sugar free mixer, drink lots of water in between drinks and check your blood glucose levels before going to be to prevent hypoglycemia while sleeping.

Know how to handle dessert:

During Christmas you’ll be surrounded by a number of sweets treats that will tempt you. Although you should avoid eating dessert when possible, I understand this will be especially hard to do during this time of the year: I recommend eating fruits and yogurt as an alternative to most sweets, but if you do plan on having something sugary, make sure it is small and consumed at the end of your main meal.

Another thing to consider is the timing of your meal. Christmas meals are often a long, extended events, which is actually good for suffers of diabetes as it spaces out the glucose influx to your body. So pacing yourself at the table and keeping dessert until a couple of hours after the meal is really helpful.

If you space out your meal taking a break between mains and dessert and give your body time to process the glucose.

So even though planning ahead may sometimes be a chore, having a healthy holiday is the best way to assure a festive one. Merry Christmas – May your days be merry and bright.

Rachel x




Leave a Reply