Chocolate bunnies, golden eggs, and Easter baskets are a part of Easter traditions. For those who celebrate Easter with diabetes, you may find yourself stuck between letting yourself enjoy the holiday traditions and managing your blood sugar levels. This blog post is going to provide you with realistic tools and strategies to navigate the Easter holiday with diabetes.
Eat Consistent Meals
Eating consistent meals throughout the day will help you from overindulging on sweet treats throughout the day. If you have a child with type 1 diabetes, even having an "Easter" themed meal and snacks will keep them excited and less focused on the candy. Some recipe ideas include: Easter Nest Bagels, Carrot Pizza, or Easter Egg Quesadillas
It's a known fact that Easter often revolves around candy and other treats. I used to have a competition with my sister to see who could get the most candy by the end of our family's Easter Egg Hunt! When your child has type 1 diabetes, they don't know exactly what moderation is. As the parent, it is your role to teach them what moderation looks like. This could be saying something like, "You can have more tomorrow at lunch."
Do A Trade-In
You have a favorite candy, don't you? I personally love anything peanut butter and chocolate, and could honestly care less about anything that is gummy or sour! Ask your child to organize their Easter candy into piles of treats that they really enjoy, and others that they would want to trade-in. During the trade-in, you can offer them some small change (like a penny or a dime), or knick-knacks from the Dollar Store.
Plan for Leftovers
It's no doubt that you will likely be left with pounds of candy leftovers. Instead of FREAKING OUT about all of the candy being in your house, create a plan for what to do with the leftovers. You can bring them into your work to share with your co-workers, store them somewhere for future low blood sugars, or keep a stash in the freezer so you'll have a few fun-size treats to have along with dinner (my personal favorite!).
Eat Candy with Meals
Most candies are high in added sugars, which can have a more prominent impact on blood sugar levels when eaten by themselves. One strategy to offset this blood sugar rise is by encouraging your child to eat candy along with a meal or snack. When eating candy along with a meal, there are other foods that will help slow down the blood sugar rise and provide a satiating factor. This way your child isn't just filling up on candy alone.
Be Careful of “Sugar-Free”
"Sugar-Free" candies don't necessarily mean "carb-free." A popular candy choice during the Easter season is Russell Stover sugar-free chocolates. However, these chocolates are (usually) more expensive and contain stevia and maltitol for sweetness. Stevia is well-known to not impact blood sugar levels, but maltitol is a sugar-alcohol that digests similarly to table sugar. Maltitol will be listed under the ingredient list of candies- so make sure you scan through to see so you will know if it will impact blood sugar levels similarly to regular versions.
Rethink the Easter Basket
Easter was the first holiday I celebrated after my T1D diagnosis and I remember comparing mine to my sister's. My sister's basket was FILLED with Reese's, Butterfingers, and jelly beans while mine had socks, gold bond lotion, and Russell Stover chocolate. I remember crying because I just felt so "different." While adding non-candy items (like candles, lotion, mini games, socks, and more) is a great way to take the emphasis OFF the candy, make sure if there are any other siblings that they are also getting the same type of basket.
Know Your Carb Counts
Knowing the carb counts for different candy and treats can come in handy! You can get a free comprehensive guide for carb counting Easter candies here.