Diabetics Eating Healthy at Parties
As people with diabetes move from New Year celebrations to other food focused parties like the Super Bowl, the thought of diabetics eating healthy at parties arises. And chances are good that later in the year you will also be sharing a meals with family and friends. These parties can set the stage for questions about etiquette when it comes to preparing diabetic-friendly meals or asking for a diabetic-friendly meal to be prepared for you.
So how do you politely tell a friend you can’t eat something he or she has prepared because of your diabetes? Likewise, how can you make it easier for a loved one to eat healthily when during with you? Here are 5 tips to help you navigate through the Holiday season with special dietary restrictions.
- Take along a diabetic gift basket – or have one available for house guests. Whether you have diabetes or are hosting a loved one who has diabetes for your Holiday or New Years party, having a diabetic-friendly gift basket on hand is a great way to ensure that you’ll always have access to low-sugar foods that are tasty and safe for diabetics to eat without much concern.
You can find a wide variety of diabetic gift baskets for all occasions – including vegetarian diabetic gift baskets for those non-meat-eaters in your life. Set out a diabetic gift basket in your home if you have diabetic loved ones coming for an overnight stay or meal – or take along a gift basket with foods for everyone to enjoy when you visit loved ones; chances are good that your host or hostess will appreciate that you’ve brought along foods you know you can eat safely.
- Offer to prepare a low-sugar alternative. If you are going to a party or meal at a friend’s house, offer to bring along a low-sugar version of a high-sugar dish. Your host or hostess will appreciate not having to prepare one more dish – and will probably be delighted to see your healthy alternative to a high-sugar classic. When asking to prepare a low-sugar alternative, you can say something like, “I’d love to bring the mash potatoes; I found a tasty recipe for low-fat and reduced-carbohydrate mashed potatoes online and they’re the tastiest potatoes I’ve had since my grandmother made them.” Chances are good that your host or hostess will be happy to oblige.
- When staying overnight, take along your own foods. If you are going to be an overnight house guest, it’s perfectly fine (and often appreciated) if you take along your own staple foods, such as breakfast cereal, meal replacement bars, jellies, and any other diabetic-friendly foods you regularly eat for meals. Let your host or hostess know in advance that you plan to bring along groceries that are suitable for your diabetic requirements. Your host or hostess will be able to relax knowing that you will always have diabetic-friendly alternatives to the meals they plan. (And bringing your own special foods is much more polite than sending a list of dietary requirements and restrictions in advance of your arrival).
- It’s okay to pass. When sharing a meal that has high-carbohydrate foods, remember: it’s okay to pass on a dish. If there is a high-carbohydrate dish that comes by you at the table, it’s okay to decline to take any for yourself. It would be rude of anyone to force food onto your plate or to ask why you don’t want to eat something.
However, if anyone does raise an eyebrow if you pass on a certain food, you can simply say something like, “This looks so delicious, but as a diabetic, I have to appreciate the smell more than the taste of it.” Peer pressure to “be polite” and eat everything can be strong during the Holidays, but remember your own health is more important in the long-run than giving into that pressure. Most people will understand if you need to decline something.
- Slip into a private place to test your blood sugar. Many people will avoid testing their blood sugar levels at parties or other events because they feel it’s rude and takes them out of the action. However, there are so many parties and events during the holidays – many of which last longer than they would during other times of the year – that it’s important for you to regularly test your blood sugar levels regardless of your location or activities.
The New Year season, the Super Bowl, Thanksgiving, family reunions, and other events should be a fun time for everyone. One of the best ways to ensure that it stays a fun time is to be sure that you pay attention to your body and to your diabetes management. With these diabetes management tips, you should find that you can easily and politely stay in control of your food meal, testing, medicine administration, and more without drawing attention to yourself or your loved ones. In the end, if you’re unsure of how to manage something, it’s okay to ask your hostess or host or your diabetic guests about what would be most comfortable for them.