How diabetics survive holiday dinners

How diabetics survive holiday dinners
Reading Time: 2 minutes

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The holidays are the hardest on my A1C. There are so many sweets, carbs, high-calorie food spreads, and indulgences, that my insulin pen is in overdrive, and I’m constantly testing my blood sugar to make sure I’m staying within range. It has been a roller coaster ride, but I’ve learned how diabetics survive holiday meals, and what helps me function between the end of November, and the beginning of January. Read on to learn more about how diabetics survive holiday dinners.

How Diabetics Survive Holiday Dinners: Pick smaller plates

The easiest thing you can do is try to dine on smaller plates. I celebrate the holidays with my big families and everyone brings a dish. Sometimes there are 12-15 things on the table, and so I try to stay aware of what’s there. It’s natural to want a little taste of everything, so I start with smaller plates and smaller spoonfuls to keep my carbs and fat at a minimum. That also means splitting a dinner roll with someone or trying to measure my portion as closely as possible.

Use your eyes and hands to measure

This is always really hard. It’s not like you can carry measuring spoons around the table with you (or can you??). I try to eyeball my measurements, but I also have a few hand signals and plate divisions that help keep me in check. A fist size is about 4 ounces of protein, a handful is 1/4 of a cup. 1/2 of my plate should be veggies, while the other 2/3 are split between protein and carbs. If I cant measure, I can at least rest assured that I’m somewhat in balance.

Try not to go back for seconds

It’s so hard, right? Especially when the food is good, but remember that going back for seconds means that you’re going back for extra carbs, extra protein, and extra fat. If you can stand it, snack in between, and have your second round for dinner.

Get some exercise

The best way to work down that blood sugar is to get some exercise. Go for a walk, or run. Lift some weights, do whatever you can to get moving so that you can burn some extra calories. Getting some exercise will also help you feel better if you’ve gone a bit overboard.

Try not to stress about the small stuff

You’re going to go a little overboard, and you can’t blame yourself for that. Do what you can to enjoy the holidays, but just remember to take care of your body and re-calibrate when it’s needed. Pay attention to what your body is saying to you, and make sure to take always take care.

Whether you’re diabetic, or not, what are your best tips for making sure that you don’t crazy during the holidays?

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Mila Clarke Buckley
Mila Clarke Buckley

Mila Clarke Buckley is a type 2 diabetes advocate who started her food blog, “The Hangry Woman”, after being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and struggling to find approachable resources to help her manage the chronic condition and live a happy, healthy life. aims to take away the shame and stigma that comes with a type 2 diabetes diagnosis and covers topics like diabetes management, cooking, and self-care from the perspective of someone living with the chronic condition.

Mila has worked with companies like OneTouch, a Lifescan Company and Whole Foods Market, and she has been featured by The Kitchn, Houston Press, Travel Noire, Healthline, Yahoo Lifestyle, and WebMD.

Mila lives in Houston with her husband and two pups.

Find me on: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook


  1. jen
    November 30, 2017 / 6:02 pm

    These are great tips diabetic or not! Love using a salad plate over dinner plate

  2. November 30, 2017 / 9:43 am

    This was a great read, I cannot even imagine how difficult it would be to monitor all of that while trying to take in the festivities. I had an aunt who was diabetic and I remember growing up my mom would always put out “Special” treats just for her <3

  3. November 29, 2017 / 3:19 pm

    I’m sure it’s difficult for people with health concerns to celebrate the holidays. Thanks so much for these tips!

  4. November 29, 2017 / 12:33 pm

    Thes are great tips! I’m not diabetic but this would always be good practice to just try not to overeat during the holidays too

  5. November 29, 2017 / 11:26 am

    My aunt is diabetic so the holidays are alway hard for her, but this tips will definitely come handy 😀

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