Living with Diabetes at Christmas time

Christmas is a time of celebration not deprivation.  Eating delicious food is part of the fun, and there’s no need for you to miss out just because you have diabetes. Luckily Christmas comes but once a year, so don’t worry if you happen to have a couple of high readings – this shouldn’t affect your long-term diabetes control and you can always get back on track on Boxing Day or the day after. You may even like to give yourself the day off checking your blood glucose levels.


If you are carrying some extra weight you might like to consider having healthy Christmas dishes. Many Australians now celebrate Christmas with a seafood feast and it is hard to think of a healthier meal than that.  Aim to fill half of your plate with salad, a quarter with seafood and the remaining quarter with some form of carbohydrate, perhaps some potato salad or some lovely crunchy bread, and you have just served yourself a healthy meal. A bowl of perfectly ripened summer fruit, luscious berries, fragrant mangos or juicy nectarines, served with a scoop of your favourite ice cream is a great way to round off your meal. You might even like to have a square or two of chocolate, washed down with a nice cold glass of wine or beer. On the other hand, you may choose to have a less healthy version of Christmas lunch.  Think crispy roast potatoes, succulent turkey, honey glazed ham or roast pork with crackling, followed by plum pudding with cream. It is unlikely to do you much harm, especially if you have a moderate size serve and finish your day playing backyard cricket or some other fun activity.


If you have type 1 diabetes, and are using an insulin pump, you might like to think about using a combo or dual wave bolus when you sit down to your Christmas feast.   A combo or dual wave bolus allows you to deliver part of the bolus up front and part of the bolus over an extended time. This works really well if you are likely to be eating a leisurely meal or the food you are eating is very high in fat, for example the Christmas Day roast or pizza, as these foods are digested more slowly. Using a standard bolus with these foods can mean the insulin is delivered before digestion has occurred, resulting in a delayed meal rise, sometimes 5 to 8 hours after your meal. Generally the higher the fat intake, or the longer you are sat at the table grazing on food, the longer the extended insulin delivery period should be, often somewhere between one to two hours.  You should discuss this with your diabetes team or feel free to contact us through PM.


To our valued clients and Facebook friends, we wish you a very merry Christmas. Enjoy the festive season and travel safe if you are heading away.


The Total Diabetes Care Team


Written by Jane Overland

Total Diabetes Care