Tips for Managing Type 2 Diabetes During the Holidays

It may be the most wonderful time of the year, but the holidays are also a challenging time for individuals with diabetes. From office parties to family gatherings to plates of cookies, cakes, and other sweets seemingly appearing on every counter 24/7, the time between Thanksgiving and New Years Day is fraught with diabetic dietary dilemmas that must be managed effectively.

If you have type 2 diabetes, you can still have a holly, jolly holiday season that includes tasty treats and delicious meals; you just need to plan ahead and adopt a strategy for dealing with the temptations and disruptions the season can bring.

Here are five tips for managing type 2 diabetes during this holiday season:

1. Account For Changing Meal Times

Whether on Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, or other times during the season, meals often occur at unusual hours. For example, many families sit down for dinner at 3:00 or 4:00 in the afternoon on turkey day. Plan for how you will adjust your insulin or snack times to account for meals that don’t align with your regular schedule.  Speak to your diabetes health care provider before the holidays to discuss how best to handle mealtime changes throughout the holiday season.

2. Plan Your Snacks

Just as some holiday meals may occur early, some gatherings won’t see food arrive at the table until well after you arrive. Find out from your host approximately what time they’ll be serving food and whether there will be healthy snacks to munch on beforehand. If not, plan on bringing a healthy, shareable appetizer to the party.

3. Reduce Your Portion Size

Carbs are king during the holidays, which can make managing blood glucose levels particularly tricky. While you can certainly have yourself some of these carb-rich foods, be mindful with the portions given the likelihood that there are more carb-heavy dishes on the table than usual. If you can’t narrow down your selections, try the “two tablespoon rule”:  check out all the available options and then take two-tablespoon “samples” of your faves.  But even modest samples can add up over time, so try to keep your total carbohydrate intake similar to a normal day.

4. Be Selective

As noted, many traditional holiday foods tend to be high in carbohydrates, such as mashed potatoes, stuffing, sweet potatoes, dinner rolls, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, and other desserts. You don’t have to eat them all, especially those like mashed potatoes that you probably eat at other times of the year. Focus on the foods that you only tend to have during the holidays, like that pumpkin pie.

5. Stay Vigilant With Your Blood Glucose Monitoring

Disruptive schedules full of gatherings, errands, travel, and other obligations can interfere with your regular blood sugar monitoring schedule. By using Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM), however, you can monitor your blood sugar levels 24 hours a day during the holidays without interrupting your day to obtain a blood sample.

CGM has easy-to-use features that can help each person proactively record and track glucose levels—as well as provide valuable insights on data that helps manage exercise, meals, and daily health status.

Contact us today to see if you qualify for CGM and access our guide to continuous glucose monitoring.


If you are not insured, or have a high deductible health insurance plan, you can still purchase the Freestyle Libre Reader and Sensors at extremely competitive prices. Prices starting as low as $99 per month

*Fingersticks are required for treatment decisions when you see Check Blood Glucose symbol, when symptoms do not match system readings when you suspect readings may be in accurate, or when you experience symptoms that may be due to high or low blood glucose.

Reference 1: Data on file. Abbott Diabetes Care. 2, FreeStyle Libre 14 day User’s Manual

Indications and Important Safety Information

FreeStyle Libre and FreeStyle Libre 14 day Flash Glucose Monitoring systems are continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) devices indicated for replacing blood glucose testing and detecting trends and tracking patterns aiding in the detection of episodes of hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia, facilitating both acute and long-term therapy adjustments in persons (age 18 and older) with diabetes. The systems are intended for single patient use and require a prescription.

CONTRAINDICATIONS: Remove the sensor before MRI, CT scan, X-ray, or diathermy treatment.

WARNINGS/LIMITATIONS: Do not ignore symptoms that may be due to low or high blood glucose, hypoglycemic unawareness, or dehydration. Check sensor glucose readings with a blood glucose meter when Check Blood Glucose symbol appears, when symptoms do not match system readings, or when readings are suspected to be inaccurate. The system does not have alarms unless the sensor is scanned, and the system contains small parts that may be dangerous if swallowed. The system is not approved for pregnant women, persons on dialysis, or critically-ill population. Sensor placement is not approved for sites other than the back of the arm and standard precautions for transmission of blood borne pathogens should be taken. The built-in blood glucose meter is not for use on dehydrated, hypotensive, in shock, hyperglycemic-hyperosmolar state, with or without ketosis, neonates, critically-ill patients, or for diagnosis or screening of diabetes. When using FreeStyle LibreLink app, access to a blood glucose monitoring system is required as the app does not provide one. Review all product information before use or contact Abbott Toll Free (855-632-8658) or visit for detailed indications for use and safety information.html. . FreeStyle, Libre, and related brand marks are trademarks of Abbott Diabetes Care Inc. in various jurisdictions. Other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. ©2018 Abbott. ADC-09691 vLO 10/18

*The FreeStyle LibreLink app and the FreeStyle Libre 14 day reader have similar but not identical features. Fingersticks are required for treatment decisions when you see Check Blood Glucose symbol, when symptoms do not match system readings, when you suspect readings may be inaccurate, or when you experience symptoms that may be due to high or low blood glucose.

The FreeStyle Libre 2 app and the FreeStyle Libre 2 reader have similar but not identical features. Fingersticks are required for treatment decisions when you see Check Blood Glucose symbol and when your glucose alarms and readings from the system do not match symptoms or expectations

‡‡‡Based on the sensor being replaced once every 14 days, and scanned at least once every 8 hours.

§§§Glucose readings are not available during 1-hour warm-up, when sensor is too hot or too cold, when you see an error or "LO" or "HI" message, or no current glucose reading