A person with diabetes enjoying the holidays with their family.

Diabetes and the Holidays: Tips for Enjoying the Festivities

Discreet, On-The-Go, All-In-One Glucose Checks
Tips for Diabetes and the Holidays
Plan Your Meals
  • Ask the host in advance what foods will be available.
  • Ask the host about the timing for meals.
Check Your Glucose Levels Often
  • Check glucose levels a few extra times throughout the day.
Stay Active
  • Keep up with your normal exercise routine.
  • Go on walks after big meals.
Get Some Rest
  • Prioritize rest.
  • Aim for seven to eight hours each night.
Prepare for Emergencies
  • Put together a backup kit of supplies and documents.

The holiday season is a time of celebration and togetherness, and for most people, it involves an abundance of food. While that is all the more reason to be excited for some, for people with diabetes, it can be stressful. The parties, the dinners, the desserts—the holidays can seem like a fast track to higher blood sugar levels. But with a little planning and preparation, you can find a balance between managing your diabetes and enjoying the season. Here are a few tips to help you better navigate your diabetes and the holidays.

Tips for Managing Your Diabetes and the Holidays

A few simple but effective strategies can set you on the right path to managing your diabetes during the holiday season.

healthy food chart

Plan Your Meals

If you aren’t the one preparing a holiday meal, ask the host what food it will include and what time it will be served. This will help you time your meals and manage your glucose levels. You may want to bring a snack if you won’t be eating around the time you’d normally take your insulin injection or oral medication.  Knowing the menu ahead of time also allows you to gauge the nutritional value of the dishes, choose healthy options, and plan your portion sizes. One of the simplest ways to ensure you’re getting the right amount of type of food is by using the diabetes plate method.

Check Your Glucose Levels Often

Checking your glucose levels more often than usual can help you assess how well your holiday game plan is working. Holiday meals, which tend to be carb-heavy, can quickly raise your blood sugar as your body breaks the carbs down into glucose during digestion.  A few extra checks throughout the day will let you know if carbs are affecting your levels so you can adjust your meals or insulin accordingly. Talk to your healthcare provider about glucose management strategies if you use therapies other than insulin.  To make regular testing easier, consider switching to an all-in-one blood glucose monitor like the POGO Automatic® Monitor, which eliminates the need to carry separate lancets and test strips, allowing you to check in just one simple step.

“I was able to just put my hand in my purse as if I was looking for something, turn on the meter, test really quickly, and pull my hand out—and nobody knew.” 

- Jen, POGO Automatic user, type 2 diabetes

Stay Active

Staying active will help you manage your blood sugar levels and prevent weight gain. Keeping up with your regular exercise routine during the holidays can be a challenge, but there are things you can do to make sure you’re moving, such as:

  • Take a walk after big meals. 
  • Go ice skating. 
  • Join a game of flag football. 
  • If you’re attending a holiday party, you can count dancing as part of your daily exercise.

Get Some Rest

The holidays can wreak havoc on your sleep. Travel, stress, parties, or family gatherings that stretch long into the night can make it difficult to get enough rest. But lack of sleep can increase your blood sugar levels and compromise your well-being. Be sure to prioritize rest, and try getting the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep each night.

Prepare for Emergencies

When planning how to manage diabetes and the holidays, people living with diabetes need to be prepared for sudden changes in their schedule. Having a backup kit can be helpful, especially if you are away from home. 

Diabetes holiday checklist


You should always pack with your specific needs in mind, but here are a few general suggestions. Following these tips can help keep your diabetes from feeling like a burden during the holiday season. Remember that while these tips are a starting point, they don’t outweigh any medical advice from your healthcare team.

Happy Holidays

Navigating diabetes and the holidays takes a bit of extra work, but having a plan will help you protect your health while you enjoy the holidays. Remember to be gentle with yourself. If you get off course, do the best you can to take care of yourself and get back on track. With the right strategies and support, you can stay safe and have fun during this festive season.

Discreet, on-the-go, all-in-one glucose testing.

POGO Automatic is the only FDA-cleared blood glucose monitor that lances and collects blood automatically, in one simple step, with its 10-test cartridge technology, eliminating the need to carry separate lancets and test strips. Reach out today to learn more about how you can check your blood without interrupting your day.

 Jaclyn Owens, product director specializing in diabetes management tools

Jaclyn Owens

Jaclyn Owens is a product director specializing in diabetes management tools. She is committed to using technology to empower people with diabetes and help them take control of their health.

All content on this website is for educational purposes only and does not replace the guidance of your healthcare practitioner. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new healthcare regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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