The festive Season as an Indian seems to be a never-ending affair. With the diversity of religions, cultures, and traditions around us, it isn’t surprising that the twelve months in a year are filled with different festivals.

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However, the month of October-November calls for an extra special celebration time of the year when Indians from different parts come together to celebrate Navratri, Durga Puja, Diwali, and so many other festivities. And, with gifting as a primary form of appreciation, our homes and refrigerators are often filled to the brim with sweets and similar delicacies.

Despite taking up “cheat day” very seriously these days, as a diabetes patient, you have to listen to your body as well. Managing diabetes symptoms during the festive season can often take a backseat in your mind. But, it’s time to change that habit.

This article will explore all the top tips you can follow to better manage your diabetes during the festive season.

Tips for Diabetes Management during Festivals

As a diabetes patient, your biggest antagonist is sweets. A little bite or two might not make a lot of difference but an unregulated consumption of it during the festivities might lead to a spike in glucose levels, further worsening your condition.

Holiday get-togethers often make it difficult for a lot of people to maintain their regular diet, especially avoiding foods that are high in sugar and artificial sweeteners. While it might seem impossible to manage your type-2 diabetes during the festive season, we have some tips lined up for you.

1. Plan for the Festive Season

Festivities are an integral part of Indian culture. So, you are more than likely going to end up eating your way through the event if you don’t plan ahead of time.

It’s one thing to munch down on savory foods but it is a whole different thing when you are munching down on desserts without any inhibitions. As a diabetic, your main issue is with the blood glucose spike that often happens when you scarf down a lot of desserts in one sitting.

So, plan according to the event you are attending. If you are attending a puja event where there will be sweets and snacks, stick to the options that are low in carbs and sweet factor. Even if you have to eat a dessert or two, keep that as your limit for the day. Avoid eating any other dish with high sugar content throughout the day.

Balance is key, in this case.

2. Avoid Artificial Sweeteners

The concept of artificial sweeteners sounds too good to be true and that’s exactly what it is. They might not cause a spike in your blood glucose levels at the moment but they increase your risk of developing insulin resistance in the body.

What we’d recommend you do is switch to natural sweeteners like Stevia. The great thing about sweet dishes prepared with stevia is that they don’t cause blood sugar spikes but they also take care of your sweet tooth without causing negative implications.

If you are craving desserts and have a sweet tooth seeing an overwhelming number of sweets at home and outside, opt for a healthier sweet made with Stevia, instead of refined sugar.

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3. Don’t Skip Meals

If you are wondering how to manage diabetes during the festive season, missing your meals isn’t the way to go. You might feel guilty after eating a lot of sweets, fried food, and unhealthy meals the night before. But, skipping your breakfast the next day isn’t going to balance what you ate the day before.

It is one of the biggest misconceptions we have regarding our eating habits. Instead of skipping out on your important meals, try to balance them with healthy and nutritious elements.

If you ate a lot of junk food, desserts, and fried items the night before, keep your next day’s meal lighter with fresh produce, whole grains, and protein. Your holiday eating habits will be a lot different than normal and it’s fine now and then. Instead of cutting out calories or eating less or not at all, focus on finding the right balance in what you eat.

Eating everything in moderation during festivals is fine. But, what matters is you pay attention to the medical side of things. Get your blood glucose levels tested even during the festive season. Also, if you don’t feel your best, schedule a consultation with your doctor for adjusting the medication dosage as needed.

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4. Focus on the Portion Size

By portion size, we aren’t focusing on calorie cutting. Instead, you need to focus on eating the right amount of the right food.

Maintaining a balance of all the vital macronutrients on your plate is essential. Include a healthy amount of simple and complex carbs, protein, healthy fats, fibers, etc. You want your meal to satiate you and keep you filled for a long time so you don’t indulge in mindless and unhealthy snacking.

Also, since the festive season is essentially an excuse to satisfy your sweet tooth, it’s ideal that you keep a check on the amount you are consuming. Even the “healthier” versions of sweets in excessive amounts can cause a spike in your blood sugar levels – something that won’t be a good thing for you with diabetes.

5. Be Mindful of the Carbs

Carbohydrates are essential for our bodies, irrespective of whether we have diabetes or not. So, completely cutting out carbs from your meals won’t do you any good.

Instead, you need to be smart about the carbs you are consuming. When you are attending events during the festivals, focus on eating a mix of carbs and not relying just on simple and refined carbs. That’s where the problem arises.

You want to include carbohydrate-rich foods that have a low-glycemic index and are complex carbs that keep you satiated for a long period. Festivals are filled with processed carbohydrates that have a high glycemic load. Your work is to find foods with a low glycemic load that won’t cause an uncontrolled spike in blood glucose levels.

6. Never Miss out on Medications

It won’t matter how much or how little of the food you are eating if you aren’t taking your diabetes medication on time.

Irrespective of your diagnosis of type-1 diabetes or type-2 diabetes, taking the prescribed medication or insulin therapy is key. Since your body is already unable to process the abundantly available blood glucose levels, the medication stabilizes your condition and enables you to enjoy the meals through the festive season.

If you miss out on taking your medicines on it, you are putting your health at risk exponentially. Alongside your medication, also indulge in getting regular blood glucose testing to keep an eye out on the glucose levels. This is extremely important too.

7. Don’t Skimp on the Exercise

Festivities often slow down our life, enabling us to prioritize fun and family time. But, that’s where you need to keep a little semblance of your old routine as well.

If you exercised every day, keep up with that habit. Switching from a somewhat active lifestyle to a suddenly sedentary lifestyle reflects on the body’s blood glucose levels.

So, even if you can’t find time to hit the gym, go out for a walk instead. It doesn’t have to be a lot but enough to keep you active and enhance the body’s sensitivity to the secreted insulin in the bloodstream.

8. Keep an Eye on Your Health

It could be nothing but as a diabetes patient, your body is still at risk of being unable to process the glucose levels. Pair that with an unhealthy and over-the-top diet during the festive season and you are putting your body through a lot.

What we’d recommend you do is keep an eye out for any unexpected symptoms. Your body might be at risk of having a sustained high glucose level or hyperglycemia. Symptoms like dry mouth, fruity-smelling breath, nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, confusion, etc. are some early signs of hyperglycemia.

Being alert of these symptoms allow you to take immediate precaution before things take a turn for the worse.

9. Avoid Sweets when You are Hungry

When you have an abundant supply of sweets stocked in the refrigerator during the festive season, reaching out for one when you are hungry is common.

But that’s where you need to practice self-control. Eating sweets when you have an empty stomach messes up with the hormones in the body that are responsible for controlling satiety. So, you are more prone to overeating, which can be bad for your blood glucose levels.

So, have healthy foods at hand, especially when you are hungry and want to snack on something healthy and filling at the same time.

10. Consult your Doctor

If your festive season diet has been too over the top, and you are experiencing symptoms that weren’t there before, we’d advise you to schedule an appointment with your doctor. The symptoms might be temporary. However, we’d recommend you pay better attention to them.

Getting tested and then consulting your doctor is crucial if you don’t want things to go out of hand.

Also, festivities are a part of our life, and going a little off the track with your meals and indulging in sweets and unhealthy foods during that period is common. Don’t let guilt take over your conscience. Instead, focus on getting back on track and recuperating from all the unhealthy eating that you did the last few days or weeks.


Can Diabetics Go to Festivals?

Diabetes is a manageable condition with the right diet and treatment. It should never prevent you from being part of the festivals and the events that define your social life.

How many Sweets is too much for Diabetics during festivals?

There is no standard answer to this question because every person’s body is different and it reacts differently to the food they eat. So, while one sweet might be too much for one diabetes patient, a box full might be the limit for the other. What we’d suggest you do is be mindful of your last recorded glucose levels and eat in moderation. Listen to your body.

Can I eat a box of sugar-free sweets during the festival as a diabetic?

Sugar-free sweets are often made with artificial sweeteners or natural sweeteners like Stevia. Irrespective of what they are made of, eating an entire box isn’t ideal.


Life as a diabetes patient might seem very limiting, especially during festivals and events. But, it’s how you plan things around your diet that makes all the difference. Instead of avoiding everything and sticking to a bland diet, balance your meals. Also, don’t let guilt be a primary emotion within you when you are enjoying the meals. Sometimes, it’s okay to let your taste buds dominate.

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Prekshi Garg is a young, dynamic, energetic, and meritorious professional biotechnologist. She is a merit rank holder in her post-graduation and a skilled bioinformatician with great zeal to do her best in neurosciences. She is currently working in the area of Neurotranscritomics dealing with neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative disorders. She has presented many papers at different scientific forums and is awarded ‘Representing the Institution in Scientific Events’ citation by Amity University Uttar Pradesh and Top position in Student Assistantship Program held at Amity University in addition to awards won for oral presentations in different scientific deliberations. Prekshi has published a good number of papers and book chapters during the start of her academic career itself. Her tremendous skills and knowledge make her a good blend of biotechnology and bioinformatics.

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