Candy canes sit in a jar by my front door, for any visitors or carolers who might happen to come our way. Hot chocolate stands ready in the cupboard to warm us on cold nights. Plates of Christmas cookies brought by friends and loved ones line the counters. Sweet breads and cakes are made and wrapped in shiny foil because it’s finally cold enough to use the oven all day. It’s no wonder that most of us gain a few (or more) pounds during December!

Not only do I struggle keeping my diet in check around this time, but it gets trickier to avoid high blood sugar numbers with Kaitlyn. We embrace Christmas at our house in every way we can —lights go on the house the day after Thanksgiving, decorations go up all over the house, we start gift shopping with full force, and yes, I admit that I have been known to start listening to Christmas music in October. And with all the holiday hubbub come the food traditions too. It’s my goal to keep these traditions alive but be thoughtful and reasonable about how much and how often and to keep a close eye on blood sugars. Here are three ideas of what we’re doing this season to reduce the “holiday highs.”

  1. Find Meaning in Healthier Comfort Foods.

I will be the first to admit that food is an important part of the holidays for me. I place great meaning on the traditions of baking and eating together as a family. I love watching my kids decorating Christmas cookies. I love making my grandma’s famous cinnamon roll recipe, and Christmas would not be complete without a gingerbread house! I’m not ready to get rid of these traditions completely, but I am ready to start new traditions with healthier foods. My family loves to eat all kinds of soups when the weather gets cold, and so we’ve begun a collection of soup recipes that we absolutely love — some old family recipes and some new ones that we’ve found from all over the place. Kaitlyn loves to make these soups with me, and we have found that we can create family memories by chopping veggies just as easily as mixing butter, flour, and sugar.

  1. Measure and Count Carbs Carefully.

When you’re trying to count carbs for a sugar cookie piled with frosting, candy, and sprinkles, it’s easy to get your estimate way off! We keep the food scale on the counter especially during the holiday season, so that we can easily and quickly count carbs. A good rule of thumb that works well for us is to estimate 15 grams of carbs per ounce for most kinds of baked goods and/or candy (and, of course, look at nutrition facts for packaged foods when available).

  1. Stick With the Schedule.

As soon as we get busy with the holidays, it’s so easy to get out of our routines. As soon as our routines go out the window, so do the stable blood sugar numbers. Our goal for this holiday season is to keep the schedule alive as much as is practical — bedtimes, mealtimes, and checking throughout the day and night. It’s easier said than done, I know, but here’s to giving it our best!

Disclaimer: The experiences and suggestions recounted in these articles are not intended as medical advice, and they are not necessarily the “typical” experiences of families with a child who has type 1 diabetes. These situations are unique to the families depicted. Families should check with their healthcare professionals regarding the treatment of type 1 diabetes and the frequency of blood glucose monitoring. Jen and Kim are real moms of kids with type 1 diabetes and have been compensated for their contributions to this site.

Related topics:
Parents’ Favorite Holiday T1D Tips
People in the Know: Holiday Traditions vs. Stress
“Free” Holiday Treat Recipes

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