Denise Schroeder column sig

Holidays and special occasions are a time for family, friends and happiness. But for people with diabetes, the extra helpings, sweets and alcohol and obstacles that must be navigated.

Any special occasions or night on the town can present a dilemma. But with the proper planning and mindset, you can thoroughly enjoy a big night out.

Parties pose special problems for diabetics. You may find yourself poring over these questions: What can I eat? When can I eat? Can I have a drink? What if my blood sugar shoots out of control? On and on it goes.

Sharing your concerns with your dietician or enlisting the support of friends and family will help ease your mind a bit. They can help you realize that as long as you consume things in moderation and keep close tabs on your blood sugar, there is no reason not to enjoy yourself.

Things to remember

Follow these tips to help you enjoy eating out. Always talk to your doctor or dietician about eating things that aren’t part of your meal plan.

1. Keep your blood glucose levels even. Test more frequently around special occasions and adjust your medications accordingly. Don’t leave home without your meds and monitor, and bring extra meds if you think you may stay out longer than planned.

2. Always wear medical identification and be aware of where and how to obtain medical care should it be necessary.

3. When choosing a meal, try to stick to foods that have been grilled, barbecued, marinated, steamed, baked or poached.

4. Try to find out what’s on the menu so you can plan your daily meal plan, or carb counting around the party.

5. Try to time your meal so it arrives at the same time you normally eat at home. If you’re in a restaurant and facing a long wait for your food, order an appetizer.

6. Limit foods that are fried, creamed, buttered, breaded or served with sauces.

7. Do not add butter, sour cream, gravy, cream or salad dressing at the table.

8. Find out how alcohol affects your blood glucose, and if you drink, always drink in moderation. If you know you’ll be drinking, don’t drink on an empty stomach. Let someone in your party know you have diabetes. Low blood glucose symptoms are easily mistaken for drunkenness. And most important, don’t drink if you’ll be driving or if you haven’t discussed the potential health risks with your health care team.

9. And last, for the most important thing to remember, when dealing with a special occasion, reread No. 1.