Enjoy cocktails and holiday meals with diabetes


Celebration meals are an art. Variations can be endless: cocktail hours, large multi-course dinners, and holiday meals… How can you attend these socially important events and manage your blood glucose when faced with unknown quantities of carbohydrates? How to manage such an event over time when living with type 1 diabetes? 

Cocktail Hour

Cocktail hour… it’s a must! Especially in Europe where it’s very popular. While chips and sweet cocktails are often omnipresent at social gatherings, healthy options can also easily be found. To spare yourself – and your BG, (especially if the evening has just begun…), you can opt for raw vegetables with a light yogurt sauce or snacks that are low in carbohydrates (nuts and almonds, cheese, olives…)

By snacking lightly, you can satisfy your hunger and skip the chips, sweet treats  and other industrial snacks. Remember that processed food is often very high in carbohydrates: it is difficult to know all of its ingredients and therefore to calculate the number of carbohydrates… However, you can indulge with less guilton homemade snacks and dips as it is easier to get the recipe from your host… Another tip is to eat something beforehand (a hard-boiled egg or some cottage cheese) in order to avoid arriving on an empty stomach and gorging  on unhealthy appetizers!

If the cocktail hour is short and you stick to low carb items, you can wait until the beginning of the meal for your insulin injection. Don’t forget to check your blood sugar level. On the contrary, if you plan to eat carb-rich foods, it is better to plan a bolus before the cocktail hour and adjust your insulin dose before dinner, depending on the menu. 

Floating dinner

On the food side, floating dinners are more or less like cocktail hours (often with more choices). The main distinction is the duration of the meal: we nibble all evening long! That’s why it can be difficult to anticipate what you’ll eat. One solution is to split insulin doses to manage over time and be ready to adjust when the pastries will arrive with the coffee!

Some ideas for guaranteed low carb* appetizers:

– deviled eggs

– cucumber slices and fresh cheese

– guacamole and seed crackers

– roasted chickpeas

– vegetable chips (parsnips, kale, carrots)

– vegetable frittata

– sliced vegetables with dip (celery stalks, onions, carrots)

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Multi-course celebration meal

For holiday meals, it’s not always easy to know in advance the content of your plate, nor the moment when dishes will be served. If the opportunity arises, ask your host for the dishes and ingredients of the menu. It will then be easier to anticipate your insulin injections or even to customize your dishes, saving the melon for dessert rather than as a starter for example.      

We also know that some foods, often present on these occasions, are naturally low in carbs: smoked salmon or seafood, for example. Something to enjoy without worrying too much about your blood sugar!

* low in carbohydrates

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