Diabetes and New Year’s Eve

Posted: December 27, 2010 by amygilman in Nutrition Q & Amy

I am a Nutrition Editor at Foodpicker.org, a website designed to help people with diabetes.  Here is a question I recently received:


“I have recently been diagnosed with diabetes and my wife has pre-diabetes. New Year’s Eve we always have a large celebration with cocktails and lots of food. We are growing weary of the party this year given my new diagnosis. Any tips on how we can still enjoy the party?”


I understand your anxiety and weariness about celebrating New Year’s Eve. Here are a few ideas to make it a cheerful and enjoyable one. This is a great time to review the past year’s accomplishments and joys and to set new goals for the upcoming year. Managing diabetes is a great goal and does not have to be put on hold for New Year’s Eve.

Try incorporating a new tradition into your celebration. For example, find a healthy recipe for an hors d’oeuvre. Fill most of your plate with your healthy dish and then take small samples of other food. Check your local grocery store for healthy cooking magazines or cookbooks, or do a Google search if you need recipe ideas.

Drink plenty of water. Drink plenty of water throughout the day, especially before the celebration begins. It will make you feel fuller and may help prevent eating or drinking too much. For example, if you usually average about 6 glasses of water per day, try drinking 8 glasses the day of the party.

Alcohol with food. Drinking alcohol without eating may cause hypoglycemia and can last for 8-12 hours after the last drink. If you are going to drink, do so in moderation and definitely consume food with your drink. Alcohol is probably not the best choice of drink for people with diabetes. However, it IS New Year’s Eve and it’s a night that is usually centered around alcohol, so I feel I should mention it (just trying to be realistic).  I will list the guidelines just so we are all on the same page.  By definition, moderation is 2 drinks per day for men and 1 drink per day for women.

As for dessert? Enjoy a sliver of your favorite dessert. The key to New Year’s Eve is going to be portion control for you and your wife. Try taking larger portions of vegetables and smaller portions of higher fat/higher carbohydrate meals.

Timing. Many people eat small meals throughout the day, spaced apart by 2-3 hours. A suggestion might be to stick to this routine at the party. Eat a small meal when you get there, mingle about, and then come back a few hours later for another small meal. This will help keep your blood sugar stabilized.

Exercise. Of course I have to mention exercise.  Get plenty of activity in the day of the party.  Exercise helps lower blood glucose levels by moving it out of the blood and into the muscles.  It also helps to boost your mood and your confidence so you can go to the party and be ready to take control of what you put in your body.

Thank you for the question. I wish you a happy and healthy New Year!


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