The holiday season is a time when our lifestyle habits and diabetes management may be disrupted.

Blood glucose fluctuations

During the holiday season, some people tend to:

  • Eat larger servings of sweet and fatty foods
  • Drink more alcohol
  • Be either more relaxed or more stressed
  • Eat meals at odd or irregular times
  • Be less active (stop sports activities, get out less, etc.) or more active (more time to engage in physical activity or play outside with children, etc.)

For these many reasons, blood glucose (sugar) levels can be harder to control. You should accept this reality and temporarily cut yourself some slack. That doesn’t mean you can ignore your diabetes. On the contrary! By measuring your blood glucose levels more often, you will be aware of variations and make necessary adjustments.

Six mealtime tips

To enjoy your meals while limiting blood sugar spikes and dips:

  1. Stick to your normal meal schedule, as much as possible, and take the necessary measures when meals are delayed.
  2. Try not to skip meals. This will keep you from mindless snacking or overeating at mealtime.
  3. Keep your personalized meal plan in mind or, if you don’t have one, use the balanced plate model.
  4. Ask your host, in advance, what the menu will be, and offer to bring a vegetable-based dish or hors-d’œuvre.
  5. Eat slowly and listen to your body’s hunger and satiety signals. Don’t be embarrassed to tell your host than you are full.
  6. Have a small serving of a holiday dessert (a serving with less than 30 g of carbohydrates). If you have a meal plan, you can substitute some of the carbohydrates from your meal for your dessert.

Take time to savour every mouthful, and enjoy your time at the table with the people you love.


Holiday time often involves boozy suppers. If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation and follow this advice:

  • Avoid drinking on an empty stomach, especially if you take insulin or medication that puts you at risk of hypoglycemia.
  • Ensure that the people around you know that you are diabetic, just in case.
  • Pay attention to the risk of delayed hypoglycemia, especially if you have type 1 diabetes.
  • If you drive, be sure to measure your glycemia before taking the wheel, as well as ensuring that you have not exceeded the permissible blood alcohol level.

Stay active!

For many people, opportunities to be active are rare during the holidays when routines are disrupted. To remedy this, plan pleasant activities that make you move.

Why not take advantage of having the whole family together to organize an evening dance or an active outdoors outing like a long walk, skating or tobogganing with the children? A good way to take full advantage of the season!


Last update: August 2018