October is a month when sugar and carbs like to come out to play - whether we’re preparing for Halloween craziness or looking to buy warm fall drinks, sugar seems to be present in all of our favorite holiday treats. Not to worry! The U-M Pediatric Diabetes team has some tips and tricks to help you stay in range.
Tricks for Treats
So you want to go trick-or-treating - but your friends say, “Don’t you have diabetes?” Forgive them; they don’t understand that you can eat just as much candy as them (if not more!), but you need to balance it with Insulin.
So how can we make trick-or-treating about fun and friends and not all about going high? Easy! Check out this ‘fun-sized’ candy Halloween guide from JDRF so that you know just how much sugar is in your goodie bag. We advise that you try to enjoy these tasty treats in moderation, and it never hurts to stockpile some free goodies for treating lows! If you'd prefer to trade in your sweets for toys or prizes, check your local area or with your dentist for an eligible Candy Buyback program.
Don’t go trick-or-treating on an empty stomach. Be sure to have a healthy, balanced meal with high-fiber carbohydrates, vegetables, and healthy protein before heading out. Trick-or-treating involves a lot of walking around and extra playing, and a balanced dinner will prevent low blood sugar.
Halloween is also a great night to make sure you are wearing your medical ID bracelet to be safe. ID bracelets can be purchased in a a variety of styles online.
Some of our diabetes patients may also have celiac disease, which adds an extra layer of complexity when trick-or-treating. Not to worry! Here is a list of celiac-approved candy to help you through the night.
Did You Know?
If you see a house with a teal pumpkin, they are raising awareness of allergies and may be offering non-food treats such as glow sticks or small toys. Learn more about the Teal Pumpkin Project here.
And don't forget, Halloween is more than just candy! There are many other fun activities to enjoy including costume contests, carving pumpkins, haunted houses, and making healthy, Halloween-themed snacks.
Fall = Pumpkin Spice!
If fall for you means warm, delicious drinks to keep toasty, do your research on those amazing pumpkin spice lattes, hot cocoa, apple cider, and peppermint mochas. These drinks are super sweet and delicious, but they also contain loads of sugar and can make your blood sugars jump if you're not careful. Make sure you ask about the nutritional information when ordering a sweet drink (like at Starbucks) and keep your meter or CGM close by. You can also enjoy these sweet beverages to treat a low, or share them with a friend!
Did You Know?
A ‘short’ pumpkin spice latte at Starbucks (with whipped cream) is exactly 27g of carbs. Most customers are not aware of the ‘short’ (8oz) size, but it is an option which can be nice if you're looking for a smaller amount of sugar. Be sure you know your options when you order food or drinks!
During the fall as the weather gets colder, it can be tempting to hunker down indoors and enjoy sweet treats and high-carb comfort foods. It is important during this time to stay active and on top of your diabetes management in order to stay in range. Take a look at our other tips below to make the most of your autumn.
Always check yourself or keep your meter or CGM handy. With high-sugar drinks, desserts, and fatty meals (with tons of carbs), it helps to keep close track of your numbers so that you can correct for highs and avoid lows.
Exercising helps when you are high - if you just can’t seem to get down from a high blood sugar, try going for a brisk fall walk or running through a pile of leaves!
When in doubt, ask for nutritional facts (when out) or ask if a lot of sugar went into a homemade dish.
Don’t forget to wear your medical ID bracelet when enjoying festive activities.
Don’t be too hard on yourself, with so many wonderfully sugary sweets, we are bound to be high now and again. Take each number as it comes -- you got this!