Balancing a Healthy Christmas: One Mom’s Advice on Managing Diabetes During the Holidays

When you think of holidays, especially Thanksgiving and Christmas, one of the first things you think of is: food. Overindulgence just seems to be part of the plan. Willpower seems to go by the wayside, but it is pertinent to a diabetic.

Today, Antoinette Taranto, mom of two sons (one of which is a diabetic), offers some tricks and tips to help enjoy the holidays. With proper management, children with diabetes can enjoy the holidays as well. 

Diabetes affects about 29.1 million Americans, thus 9.3% of the population is living with this chronic disease. Diabetes is a growing epidemic; one of the best tools to combat this growth is to spread awareness about the disease.  

Make Healthy Choices All Year Long


Lead a Healthy Life

Much of life is a balance; we walk a fine line of over indulging and enjoying ourselves. The younger we start preparing for how to make better choices, the stronger we will be as we grow older.  

Taranto comments, “As a family, we cook and eat fairly healthy. We teach the boys that everything is okay in moderation; therefore, we do not avoid eating carbs during the holidays. By teaching our sons that moderation is key, we are able to keep an eye on their glucose numbers to make sure we can keep their diabetes in check.” Taranto keeps an eye on what her kids are eating, but also recognizes that kids should be kids. “By stressing that certain foods and treats are okay in moderation, we are helping our son with diabetes learn how to manage his condition.”

Taranto Family Holiday Meal Menu 

  • Apple Cider Turkey
  • Baked Cauliflower
  • Broccoli and Asparagus
  • Smoked Gouda Mashed Potatoes
  • Orange Sweet Potatoes
  • Fresh Cranberry Sauce
  • Dessert Tip: Make small serving size desserts so there are no leftovers.

Creatively Replace Sweets


Stockings Stuffer Ideas Without the Sugar

  • Hot Wheels
  • Dum-dum lollipops (5 carbs)
  • Shiny silver dollar for piggy banks
  • Fruit and nuts
  • Markers
  • Pencils
  • Kid’s flashlights
  • Blind bags
  • Crafts
  • Advent Calendar Tip – Place small legos inside that come together to make one larger piece.

Keep Active 


We all can relate to falling back on our exercise regimes while on vacation, but staying active can be crucial to diabetics. When traveling, seek and find outlets for energy – parks to run and play, walks around the airport, even hopping out of the car for jumping jacks are all ways one can expend energy while traveling. 

Pack Your Bags


Taranto’s family uses Dexcom CGM to be able to keep a close eye on glucose levels. She comments, “We can properly manage his diabetes and are able to identify trends that exist with his diet and exercise. With the CGM, we have the ability to always make sure his numbers are within range.”

She also recommends the Calorie King App. Here she can enter certain foods when she is unsure about the amount of carbs. For example, cheese, fish, and meat are generally diabetes friendly foods, but the app can help give her the exact amounts going into her son’s body.  


Balance is key. “The holidays are no different than any other day except for exposure of more gluttonous foods and treats,” comments Taranto, “By eating the foods we love in moderation, we are able to satisfy our cravings without overindulging.”
Want to learn more about sugar intake? Check out Children & Sugar: The Not So Sweet Side.

Sources: Antoinette Taranto

Photo Credits: m01229Ashley WellsJamie, Alaina Burgas

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Ashley Wells

Ashley lives in North Carolina, with her husband, 4 year old little girl and infant son. She has dreamed of being a SAHM since she was a little girl and now enjoys living out this dream by making everyday adventures with her two tiny sidekicks. She loves yoga, fitness, dark chocolate, and wine. She's an organizer of playdates, preschool happenings, and girls night outs. She's an encourager of making messes, finding passions, and dreaming the impossible.

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