A Holiday Guide For T1Ds

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As the holiday season is in full swing, many of you may be wondering how you can manage you or your child’s T1D while still letting them have fun and get in the holiday spirit. With all the schedule changes, seasonal outings and activities, family get-togethers, and all the tempting goodies to eat, it can all seem a little overwhelming. Your perfectly curated diabetes management plan may seem far from reach during the season’s festivities, but JDRF Northern Florida has some helpful tips to keep your child’s T1D management on track without losing any of the holiday spirit.

Plan Ahead

The most important part of staying as close to your T1D management plan as possible is planning ahead. Whether it’s picking out your child’s meals for the day in advance or making sure their activity level is a little above normal to make up for all the sweets, the best thing you can do is stick to your plan.

  • Carb counts: learn the carb count of the holiday foods your child loves. Make a plan to fit those foods in, in moderation, so they don’t feel deprived on the holidays. Click here for some helpful carb count charts for your Christmas favorites.
  • Bring your own food: you never know what foods will be spread throughout the smorgasbord at a holiday party. Pack a meal from home so you know your child will get the nutrition and carbs they need. Once you get to the party, see if there are foods you can switch out for some that you brought – this lets your child partake in the holiday meal, while ensuring they still eat what’s needed to stay on track.
  • Mealtimes and bedtimes: try to keep your child’s mealtimes and bedtimes as close to routine as possible. Sure, there may be a time or two when the party goes a little late. Once you get home, take the time to recoup, check in with how the T1D was managed that day, and reset for tomorrow. Staying close to routine and checking in on how the day went will help set you up for success and make sure you child doesn’t crash during the next day’s festivities.

Remember that if things don’t go exactly according to plan, don’t fret – just correct and move on. We all know T1D management is about trial and error, and with the holiday madness things can get a little crazy. Be kind to yourself, figure out what went wrong, and make a plan to have a better day tomorrow!

Stay Active

With all the treats and sweets, consider increasing your child’s activity level for the time being; this will help make up for the extra carbs and sugars they are eating and keep their blood glucose levels in check. By staying active, your child will feel better and have more energy throughout the day, but also won’t be tempted to sneak some sweets since they’re on the go.

Get outside and have some fun! There are many ways to stay active: schedule a daily walk or bike ride around the neighborhood, go to the park with friends, take a dip in the pool (we do live in Florida after all!), organize some games with their friends, and so much more. Don’t forget to keep a close eye on your child’s blood glucose level – even if the extra exercise is to make up for the extra sweets, you don’t want them to crash before they even make it to the holiday party. Here is a great article on how your child can exercise safely with T1D.

T1D Doesn’t Have To Ruin The Fun!

During the holiday season, it’s important to remember that having T1D doesn’t mean missing out on the celebrations. By making a plan in advance, staying active, and keeping a close eye on blood glucose levels, you won’t have to worry about your child losing their holiday spirit. You can also get friends and family members involved so your child doesn’t feel alone! Holidays are about spending time with your loved ones and there’s nothing better than showing support for your T1D.

From all of us at JDRF Northern Florida, we wish you a Happy Holidays! Although our offices will be closed from December 23rd-January 3rd, the work we are doing to advance JDRF’s mission will never stop. Thank you for your continued support and commitment to improving lives and finding a cure for T1D – our hearts are full of gratitude as we inch closer to the end of 2021 and prepare for amazing advancements in 2022!