102 Responses

  1. Cara
    Cara November 18, 2008 at 5:47 am |

    The best way to control my blood sugar at a party is to stay AWAY from the snack table. I tend to graze and then not realize what I have eaten, therefor having my blood sugar spike. Instead, if I eat, I try to get one small place, count my carbs on that, and stay away from the food afterwards! (There goes my being a wallflower over next to the punch bowl, too. :P )

  2. Cara
    Cara November 18, 2008 at 5:48 am |

    I meant one small PLATE. :) I can’t spell this early in the morning…

  3. type1emt
    type1emt November 18, 2008 at 6:02 am |

    I try to stay low-carb(meats,cheese, veggies, etc.)..or(when the temptation is just too great) if I have something sweet, bolus more then I think I need because it probably does have a ton of sugar/carbs in it.

  4. Windy
    Windy November 18, 2008 at 6:07 am |

    I make sure that when I arrive I’m not starving, because if I am there is no keeping me from eating 14 deviled eggs. (slightly kidding here) I keep a can of natural almonds in my car and I munch on a handful before I go into restaurants or parties to keep me feeling full.

    Another thing I do, if I know I might want to indulge in a few sweets is get a good cardio work out in before the party. When I exercise it keeps my sugars lower for several hours after the workout and almost seems to act as extra insulin would. =)

  5. Kathy
    Kathy November 18, 2008 at 6:31 am |

    I try to enjoy small amounts of my favorite things, test often and bolus on the pump as necessary.

  6. Debbie
    Debbie November 18, 2008 at 7:32 am |

    Don’t linger near the food table. Too tempting. But instead mingle with and talk with lots of people.

  7. Chris
    Chris November 18, 2008 at 7:56 am |

    My rule of thumb for holiday parties is the following:

    1. Eat and Bolus before you party. You never know what you are going to get at a party so eating before helps to avoid mis-counting carbs.

    2. Eat only what you know. If you can’t eat before, look for item that you are familiar with and stick with those.

    3. If you aren’t sure, stay away. If you question what something is made of, eating it is a recipe for disaster.

    4. Calorie king is your best friend. Make sure to carry around your favorite dietary fact book (I use Calorie King “calorie Fat and Carbohydrate counter.) Its an invaluable resource and really helps when in a pinch.

  8. Karen
    Karen November 18, 2008 at 8:35 am |

    First, I stay away from high sugar mixed drinks – like those frozen drinks my friends love to make, or drinks with lots of fruit juice and such. But I DO have a glass of wine, which always lowers my blood sugar – especially if I’ve exercised before the party.

    Second, I do allow myself to have some party food – because denying myself is just going to make me cranky and blue, and who wants that at a party. But, I be sure to COUNT what I’m eating and to test at least once an hour and bolus any corrections I might need.

    And lastly, since I haven’t denied myself during the party, by the end of the night the party desserts really aren’t tempting to me. So I just say “no thanks” or have one small bite of my husband’s dessert.

  9. Cheri
    Cheri November 18, 2008 at 9:25 am |

    I relax first off…I check out what is being offered and typically bring one dish that I enjoy and know how it affects my BS. Then I bolus and test often, typcally using an extended bolus for most of the party. I usually am successful with low to mild swings throughout the day and the am reading is always good as long as I diligently check BS before I go to sleep.

  10. ellisal
    ellisal November 18, 2008 at 9:51 am |

    1) The most important thing is to make sure that i bring my Contacts Card (which i wrote all the personal contacts in case anything bad would happen), insulin, and all the properties needed to check my BG.

    2) Eat some foods to make you feel full before stepping out of the house. I meant low carb foods, much prefer to take it together with fruits(usually i eat fruits before i step out of the car) to make me fuller, so i wont be tempted by any of the sweet things at the party.

    3) i always bring my best friend who knew much about being a diabetic, so she would not ask me to accompany her eating this and that. instead, she would be much pleasure to swallow most part of my foods to make sure i dont eat too much yet tasting all of the foods.( i chew my foods slowly)

    4) i drink not-a-high-carb/sweet-drinks. i stick to mineral water. plus, i dont really like soft drinks. that’s a point to me. usually, i would put the water into a glass so that i dont feel like left out in the party.

    5)i wander here and there,busy making new friends or chat with friends to make sure i dont really remember about ‘checking out’ foods served on the table.

    6) i keep track of my time at the party (to remind myself to check BG) and dont spend too much time there. when i starting to feel like hungry again, i guess that’s my time to hop on the car and go home.

  11. Scott Strange
    Scott Strange November 18, 2008 at 10:30 am |

    Well, I don’t suppose being anti-social and just staying home is a valid strategy, so…

    I try not to go hungry, stick to the lo-carb foods as much as possible. I’ve never had a real sweet tooth (does that give me some kind of mutant genetic advantage?), but I love pumpkin pie.

    This will be my first holiday season on the pump, so we’ll see how it goes

  12. Molly
    Molly November 18, 2008 at 10:34 am |

    Test, test, test. (and NEVER guess)

    I don’t tell myself that I can’t eat things. I just ask a lot of questions about ingredients, make lower carb choices, and bolus for the carbs that I eat. I usually bring my own beverages (some fun soda in glass bottles, usually) so that I don’t have to factor alcohol into the mix.

  13. Lee Ann Thill
    Lee Ann Thill November 18, 2008 at 10:36 am |

    I always offer to bring something that I like and I know is healthy and won’t destroy my BG – a veggie platter, an assortment of cheeses (I LOVE cheese!!), a green salad if it’s a sit-down affair. That way I have a little more control over what my options are. If the host declines, I’ll usually insist. Then I can eat what I brought without much concern about what’s in it, and I avoid that pre-party anxiety wondering if there will be anything marginally healthy. Having some wine or beer also helps because the alcohol will hopefully offset any residual highs from eating fattening foods hours after the fact. And check my BG often, of course! If I indulge, I don’t beat myself up over it. A high BG isn’t something that can’t be fixed, and I eat healthy the rest of the time anyway.

  14. Megan
    Megan November 18, 2008 at 10:57 am |

    1. I try and eat (and bolus appropriately for) something filling before I leave.

    2. (Assuming a cocktail party sort of situation) Before putting anything in my mouth or on my plate, I do a full scan of all the food that’s available. I pick out the treats (sweet and savory) that look best to me, put them on my plate, and then bolus for them as I eat them. The idea being that I’ve created my own personal mini-buffet, which has enough treats on it to make me feel festive but is limited enough that I’m not going to go way overboard.

  15. Kathy Moskal
    Kathy Moskal November 18, 2008 at 11:12 am |

    Hi Amy… Kathy (from VERE) here. I would like to donate some of our Holiday “Diabetic Friendly” gift packages to your giveaway. I’ll send you some pictures and info a little later today if you’re interested. Kathy

  16. Kim Robbins
    Kim Robbins November 18, 2008 at 12:30 pm |

    Here is how I work this:
    I have an insulin pump and I eat a little of this and a little of that and I check my blood sugars often. The people who know me, and who would invite me to their party, would already know that I check my blood sugars all the time anyway, so it wouldn’t appear odd or out of place. I am learning, as I age, to not eat a lot of any one thing, but to nibble, nibble, check BS, nibble nibble, check BS. That works the best for me. Kim Robbins

  17. Amylia
    Amylia November 18, 2008 at 12:53 pm |

    I carry the little one-touch meter in my pocket with strips and then test often–if I feel self-conscious, I just test when in the bathroom and readjust with my pump. It’s fairly easy and so long as I’m good about testing, I can eat what I want and monitor the results.

    Oh, and my diabetic monkey helps, too, when he’s not tossing bananas.

  18. David
    David November 18, 2008 at 1:15 pm |

    When I am invited to go to a party or event, I always make sure I bring along something that I know is “safe”

    and within my eating requirements.

    Sometimes it is as simple as bringing Diet drinks (0r sugar-free like crystal light) , things that are carb

    friendly, things that are low in sugar etc. I usually find that some people have no clue that there are

    people out there with diet restrictions.

    They are generally happy for the additional items. I know that I can eat them since I know what went into

    them. I also find that I am usually not the only one who has these restrictions. So when I find others that

    are not eating, I mention to them to try my items, and they are generally happy.

    I have learned that you also need to be careful in telling people that the items are carb friendly, or no

    sugar added. When you do that, they are flagged as “bad” however, if you say nothing, you will be amazed how

    often people like what you bring and even ask for the recipe not knowing it is low-carb or sugar-free.

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  20. Ashley
    Ashley November 18, 2008 at 2:31 pm |

    The key to it is showing up to the party with a BG in the 150-170 range. Then I can have a beer. I have a snack that I know what the carbs will be, and take the exact I:C ratio of insulin, to cover nothing but the snack. And I test every hour or so. If I do it this way, I end the night at about 100.

  21. Beth
    Beth November 18, 2008 at 3:00 pm |

    Most importantly, I remember not to freak out because holiday parties are supposed to be FUN! Besides, it’s just another day of my life with diabetes.

    I bolus on my pump as needed and test often to make sure there aren’t any surprises. I remind myself to be sociable and friendly to those who have questions about my diabetes when they see me testing or pumping (even though I’d rather chat about other things).

    And since there is usually alcohol available, I stick to the drinks that I know will not affect my blood sugar much – a glass of wine or a lite beer.

  22. Sara
    Sara November 18, 2008 at 3:05 pm |

    One strategy I often use for holiday parties is to eat a large-ish meal about 2 hours before hand. That way potential snacking is not conflicting as much with a previous meal bolus (if on insulin), and/or you are not as hungry.

    The MiniMed insulin pump has a square-wave bolus function that is basically designed to make snacking easier. I take a look at the food table, decide what food I like and what my ‘carb limit’ will be for those foods. I plug that number into the square wave wizard of my pump and then am free to snack that amount the rest of the party.

    Much less crucial, I also almost always bring my own diet soda to the party. You can’t always count on the host to be prepared for your food and drink needs.

    Chewing gum is also a way to keep your mouth occupied to avoid excessive snacking.

  23. Nina
    Nina November 18, 2008 at 5:28 pm |

    Eat some basic food before the party. Bring low supplies, this is most important when I plan on drinking. I try and test a couple times if I am drinking. I don’t worry about food to much and will under bolus for said food. Try and not make diabetes a focus and just enjoy myself.

  24. Rose
    Rose November 18, 2008 at 5:40 pm |

    This is will be only my third Holiday Season with T2 (although I don’t really count the first one since I was diagnosed in early November!). Even before, I cared less & less for dinking booze, now drink even more water & less wine. I have a real sweet tooth, too. Make sure I have food in my stomach, test, & take something I know I can have without shooting up my bs. I’m still working on the regular excercise part…
    I’ve learned alot just from reading evryone else’s comments. Thanks & Happy Thanksgiving to all.

  25. karend1
    karend1 November 18, 2008 at 5:40 pm |

    Okay I guess I am the only one that just eats whatever I want and keeps my finger on the bolus button. :(

  26. John Hnath
    John Hnath November 18, 2008 at 5:46 pm |

    My strategy for managing blood sugar levels at parties is quite simple. I try to consume very little more than I ordinarily do and concentrate on enjoying the company of friends and relatives. That way I am not stressed out, nor does my eating or drinking cause anyone else to take notice. Since I never consume alcohol at any other time, not doing so at a party doesn’t raise an eyebrow. Simple but effective

  27. Stacey Woods
    Stacey Woods November 18, 2008 at 6:02 pm |

    My holiday tip would be firstly to have fun. It is the holiday season and meant to be spent with friends and family. If going to a function at a resturant or banquet facility be sure to familiarize yourself with what is available before hand so that you can figure out your carbs and be prepared. Stick to your strategy! Test often, and drink water inbetween everything. That helps to fill you up and if your drinking this helps you to space your drinks. Ensure that at least one person knows your diabetic and what to do in an emergancy. Have fun relax and enjoy the festivites :) With all this being said, this is my first holiday with my pump and will be interesting to see how things go.

  28. landileigh
    landileigh November 18, 2008 at 6:16 pm |

    I always contact the hostess/host to make sure that low-carb snacks will be available (veggie plate) and finding out if it is a sit-down dinner what the menu will be, so that I can bolus accordingly. I don’t want special arrangements made for me, but want to be in good control so that i’m not worrying if I am high or low, and can enjoy the company of friends and family during the holiday season. I also usually bring my personal favorite pumpkin pie which is made with splenda and always gets raves!

  29. Diana
    Diana November 18, 2008 at 7:48 pm |

    I let myself have just a taste of a couple of especially good looking desserts so I don’t feel like I’m being punished, but I also keep myself from going overboard.

  30. Michele
    Michele November 18, 2008 at 7:54 pm |

    I have a snack prior to the party and then go armed with a pack of sugar free gum in a strong flavor like cinnamon or peppermint. It keeps me from nibbling duing the appetizers plus – makes for fresh breath just in case. :)

  31. Dave
    Dave November 18, 2008 at 8:29 pm |

    I will not let My diabetes control my life, if there is a party or holiday that I want to go to? I go. I simply bolus for what I am going to eat and test as soon as possible then re-bolus for any wrong carb counting or for that last piece of carb/ sweet. I feel that we have to worry and think about so many more details than most everyone else, it would not be fair to myself to just not go or not eat and enjoy friends and family. I will not let diabetes control my life anymore than I medically have to. It does help to test as often as I can and the CGM is a Godsend, not for the precision but for the trends. It really helps knowing if I am on my way up or on my way down and the speed in which I am heading. Happy Holidays!

  32. b wolter
    b wolter November 18, 2008 at 9:04 pm |

    bring foods that We know We can eat and eat small portions

  33. Lauren
    Lauren November 18, 2008 at 10:17 pm |

    Veggie plates are good, those are always safe snacking. I don’t usually care about doing my shots in public view, in fact I rarely go to any lengths to hide my testing and injecting — but at parties it’s tricky because it can quickly turn the topic to diabetes. I feel like I’m in a defensive position when it becomes obvious that I’m diabetic, having to respond to questions like, “did you try exercise?”

    I did a shot today in front of classmates I don’t know very well, and two of them gasped and said, “are you okay? are you feeling all right?” I was eating an apple and granola bar, therefore I bolused some insulin — no big deal, just routine, but some people react strongly to shots. It’s hard to explain that type 1 is a “wellness disease.” We aren’t sick, but we have to work hard to stay healthy.

    The things people say still drive me up a wall.

  34. Virginia Macaione
    Virginia Macaione November 18, 2008 at 10:23 pm |

    So many people are going to be offering drinks – if you just have a glass of club soda with you at all times, people will just assume you have a drink and not make you feel guilty for not drinking. Also, I always bring along both low carb snacks that I can eat along with others and I bake a low sugar dessert so that when that time arrives I do not feel deprived.

  35. Virginia Macaione
    Virginia Macaione November 18, 2008 at 10:28 pm |

    Everyone will be having drinks so make sure you have a bottle of club soda with so that you do not have to make excuses for not drinking. Also, I always bring along a low carb (sugar free) type of snack that I can enjoy without feeling guilty. If I know that at the end of the night dessert will be served, I make sure that I make my own dessert made with sugar free pudding, sugar free cool whip and I have my cream pie that I can enjoy without the fear of runaway blood sugars.

  36. Danielle
    Danielle November 19, 2008 at 6:03 am |

    I try to Avoid the sweets at all costs. It tends to be extremely tempting when I’m depresed. So I skip the candy cookie cake brownie & icecream section at the store by pretending to not see them calling me to eat them from the shelf. I try to think about how lond i’d feal crappy after rather than the little bit of relief i’d feel during. At home i’ll have yogurt instead of icecream and evey so often 1 small sugar free candy. I hike to avoid the depression. Some how if can seem to find me when i’m in the woods.

  37. Anne Jackson
    Anne Jackson November 19, 2008 at 6:20 am |

    Eat a regular meal before the party, even if it is small. Bolus accordingly.
    At the party, keep a “count” of the carbs you are eating. I cannot do without sweets at a party if they are available. Pick one or two favorites (the best offered!) and ENJOY them. Bolus.

    Check BS as much as needed during the party. At least once.

    My favorite drink is soda, crushed ice, lime juice, fresh lime, and a touch of cranberry. I also drink diet tonic and lime with ice cubes. Bring your own drinks if the host/ess doesn’t normally supply a delicious alternative to alcohol.

    Grazing at parties is so common. Watch what you’re eatiing when you graze. I like to go for the protein and low carb offerings–cheese, vegetables, etc.

    Have fun!

  38. Anne Jackson
    Anne Jackson November 19, 2008 at 6:23 am |

    I, too, am constantly annoyed when people say “Are you sure you should be eating THAT?” I try to use that moment for an educational opportunity if the person is willing (even if they’re not open to it and start to walk away!)

    Imagine: Walking up to anyone and saying “Are you sure you should be eating THAT?”

    Annoying, plain annoying. And rude.

  39. Sandra Leal
    Sandra Leal November 19, 2008 at 9:27 am |

    I have developed a little formula for keeping readings in range:

    I eat anything that fits inside this circle:


  40. Debi Martin
    Debi Martin November 19, 2008 at 11:46 am |

    I know this isn’t a pediatric diabetes website, but for my daughter, we employ a lot of the suggestions already mentioned- take sugar free drinks (not always available at kid functions!), make sure she concentrates on lower-carb options, and- probably most important for us-set a temporary basal rate on her pump of about 125% for the first hour or two of the party to allow for a little grazing within reason. All of these things insure that she feels “normal” during the party and can enjoy herself like the other guests. Through trial and error, we’ve found that 125 is the magic percentage- anything more is too much, anything less and we’re looking at 300 in short order.

  41. David
    David November 19, 2008 at 12:10 pm |

    I try to carry a supply of favorite sweeteners with me. I find that many parties will offer coffee or tea, and only provide real sugar. If you prefer something other than plain or black and generally use artificial sweetener (equal, splenda, sweet-and-low ) take a few packets with you.

  42. Pubsgal
    Pubsgal November 19, 2008 at 12:21 pm |

    This will be my first holiday season with type 2 diabetes. Based on parties I’ve been to since diagnosis, I usually think about my strategy before the party and plan a bit. I’ll eat beforehand, stick to veggies and low-carb choices (sometimes we bring something to share…offering that is a good way to chat up the host about what’s going to be served), spend a lot of time chasing my kids around or otherwise on my feet and moving around, and drink lots of water. I bring my meter and if it’s a really long party, I’ll do a spot-check now and then. If there is something that looks utterly amazing and “must-have” (my rule of thumb for “worthiness” is that it must be homemade and I’ll feel totally depressed if I don’t get to taste it), I’ll either try to grab a couple of bites-worth of a serving or (in the case of something pre-sliced, like pie) will share with my husband or kids.

  43. Suzanne
    Suzanne November 19, 2008 at 1:57 pm |

    I go to all parties armed with a PLAN!! Before I go, I prepare myself to know:

    1-what things I want to stay away from, if anything. This helps me to stay STRONG!

    2-how often I need to take a “diabetes focus moment” where I excuse myself to check and bolus. It can be each hour, 1.5 hrs, 2 hrs or whatever fits your needs. This lets me keep track of my carbs, insulin and my blood sugar without letting it get out of control, but also without letting it stress me out and distract me from all of the fun! I know that at 7:30, 8:30 and 9:30, I will devote time to make sure my blood sugar stays on track and isn’t out of control! Partying “high” isn’t fun, either!!

    Having a plan helps me to stay focused while enjoying myself and without letting my diabetes become a distraction from socializing. I just plan out my “diabetes focus moments” and enjoy the rest of the party. Adjust it to fit your needs, your wants, your diet, and your cravings.

  44. tara
    tara November 19, 2008 at 2:36 pm |

    we try to get him to eat a health meal , a couple hours before we go, then we let him have a special treat at the party.

  45. Michelle
    Michelle November 19, 2008 at 4:09 pm |

    I have been a diabetic for more than seventeen years, and I’m only nineteen, so you can naturally assume that diabetes has been a part of me. I was never forced to change my lifestyle or give up snacks, drinks or sweets that I loved. Since I was diagnosed at such a young age, I believe diabetes has been somewhat “easier” for me to cope with over the years. Recently, however, I made the decision to go on the insulin pump which changed my life drastically. The only problem is – I get lazy! I may forget to bolus after a meal, and sometimes I go without testing for long periods of time. The unanswered question, however is: am I just lazy, or it is just because I’m sick of my diabetes? My endo team started me on a non-conventional method which has improved my numbers and will make dealing with party situations great, especially with the upcoming holiday season. I no longer bolus – instead, my basal rate ramps up at certain hours throughout the day and that is when I am supposed to eat my meals. The only downside is that it doesn’t give me too much flexibility, which is a major pro of being a pump user. However, I know that by using this non-conventional method and by remembering to test, I will not have to worry about my blood sugar spiking while enjoying the holidays with my family and friends.

  46. Liz
    Liz November 19, 2008 at 7:04 pm |

    As a pumper, I have the option of using a dual or square wave bolus while at parties or large meals. When figuring my bolus I take not only the carbs into consideration but the fat as well. Holiday meals and party food is often very rich and loaded with both carbs and fat, and that fat can really change the action of the carbs. By using a dual wave bolus and testing frequently I can usually manage but I still have to watch for rising blood sugar overnight since the fat can really hit me then.

    It’s very easy to help yourself to “free” foods like cheese & nuts when grazing at a party but be aware that even if they don’t raise your BG right away, they can later on!

  47. Eve
    Eve November 19, 2008 at 9:01 pm |

    My strategy seems to be similar to many already mentioned. I try to stay very low-carb, filling up on meat and cheese, drink water or no-sugar drinks, and try to find something interesting to do or an interesting conversation so I’m occupied away from the food.

  48. Tim Monreal
    Tim Monreal November 19, 2008 at 11:04 pm |

    As a newly diagnosed Type 1 (22 years old) this will be my first holiday season with the diabetes.I really appreciate all the suggestions. I have found that it is good to go out with a very caring friend. Even though they ask a bunch of questions including the dreaded “can you eat that?”, their heart is in the right place and sometimes it makes think twice about that sweet.

  49. Glenda Steffee
    Glenda Steffee November 19, 2008 at 11:50 pm |

    We all know that it’s harder to stuff your face if your busy – so why not “work” the party. Maybe your host/hostess could use some help serving, keeping the punchbowl filled, or taking coats upstairs? How about volunteering to take photos? I happen to be an accomplished pianist with a portable full size keyboard – I often play at friend’s parties over the holidays. There’s always lots of folks who want to sing a few favorite songs or want to dance to that special memory. All I ask for is a steady supply of seltzer with ice. When a toast is offered, I request a diet ginger ale – no one but my host knows the difference. Being busy sure beats standing in the corner drooling over what you shouldn’t eat!

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