With Easter just around the corner, many people with diabetes and their friends and family might be unsure about how chocolate eggs and other treats might affect their diabetes management.
When you’ve got diabetes it’s really important to make healthier food choices, which includes choosing healthier fats, cutting down on added sugar and being smart about snack choices. But Easter only comes once a year and people with diabetes shouldn’t worry about the odd one or two treats, as these will not affect your long term diabetes management.
Of course some adults with diabetes may actually prefer an alternative Easter present such as flowers, fruit or a book so it’s worth checking.
When it comes to children it’s important that they don’t feel that their diabetes excludes them from enjoying a chocolate treat like their friends or siblings but parents might want to keep an eye on portion size.
We do not recommend 'diabetic' Easter eggs. Diabetic chocolate is just as high in fat and calories as ordinary chocolate, it can still raise blood glucose levels and is often more expensive than regular chocolate. To say food is a diabetic food is now against the law. This is because there isn’t any evidence that these foods offer you a special benefit over eating healthy. These foods can also sometimes have a laxative effect.
We asked our Facebook followers for advice about enjoying Easter. Here are some of their top tips.
Vicky: "Easter is Easter and Christmas is Christmas and I indulge just like anyone else who isn’t diabetic (but I'm also sensible and don't overdo it). I live life to the full and don't let being diabetic get me down."
Teresa: "Just enjoy Easter and don't let diabetes rule anything you do in life."
Jackie: "Don’t deny yourself a treat hat you would normally have."
Adjust insulin for Easter eggs:
Adam: "You can still eat chocolate, as I still do, but just adjust your insulin dose for Type 1."
Paula: "Have chocolate if you want it! Just remember to take extra insulin. It is hard and tears will fall but always remember 'you control diabetes it doesn't control you!! Amber: if you want proper choc have some but take your insulin and if you’re not sure about how much to take, give what you think but just check your sugars a couple hours later."
Remember to eat in moderation:
Rachel: "Eating half a ton of chocolate in one go isn't good for anyone, diabetic or not so probably best to not eat all of your Easter eggs all at once anyway!"
Don’t be hard on yourself:
Teapot Diabetic: "Don't be discouraged when your blood glucose levels go haywire. Diabetes is a marathon not a race."
Gemma: "If you miscount and end up a bit higher than you want, don't beat yourself up, no one is perfect all the time!"
Avoid ‘diabetic’ Easter eggs:
Catherine: "Don't buy 'diabetic' Easter eggs. They have a nasty effect on the guts. Have some normal choc and enjoy."
Amber: "Dont get carried away with the diabetic chocolate it might seem like a good idea but it doesn’t taste too great and too much of it acts as a laxative."
Simon: "If you get the sugar free chocolate and you want to eat it, remember to read the warnings about excessive consumption."
Choose alternatives to chocolate:
Julie G: "For Easter egg hunts the prize doesn't all have to be chocolate. I've just bought my nieces and nephews Easter gifts - pencil cases filled with things like keyrings and toys. Even for older people you could find a plastic egg which could be filled with some of their favourite things such as perfume or jewellery."
Julie: "As a Type 1, everyone knows not to buy me chocolate for Easter, Xmas, Birthday etc., as I simply asked them not to -it's just my choice."
Talk to others:
Peter: "You’re not alone! Social media is there for you to connect with everyone I don't know another diabetic (type one) in person but I’ve got plenty of people on Facebook and Twitter who I can talk to."
Children with diabetes:
Rachel: "Don’t wrap your child up in cotton wool just let them carry on as normal just have eyes in the back of your head for signs of a high or low as the little monsters don’t always tell you if they’re too busy having fun."
Other top tips:
Steven: "Check yourself! Don’t wreck yourself!"
Stephanie: "Diabetes can go up and down for many reasons, chin up, enjoy life and don't change your life just because you have diabetes, you are no different."
Milli: "Just don't let diabetes ruin it, you’re the same as any other person except you have to give insulin to yourself. Enjoy Easter!"