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Plan your Passover meals to manage carbohydrate restrictions

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Jewish people with diabetes who are celebrating Passover should plan how they will manage their intake of carbohydrate-containing foods, Diabetes UK is advising.

As foods which are considered to be leavened are off the table, many people rely more heavily on potatoes. While people with diabetes can enjoy a diet with a wide range of foods, all carbohydrates including potatoes will affect their blood glucose (sugar) levels, causing them to rise, so watching portion sizes is important.

Passover is held from the 15 to the 22 of the Jewish month of Nissan, which this year runs from the evening of Friday 22 April to Saturday 30 April.

 

'The key is moderation'

Emma Elvin, clinical advisor at Diabetes UK, said: “Passover can pose a unique challenge for Jewish people with diabetes because of the changes to what carbohydrates they are allowed to eat, but with careful planning around what you will substitute your regular foods with it doesn’t need to be an issue.

“If you test your blood sugars at home you may want to do this more regularly at this time. If you count your carbohydrates and adjust insulin doses, remember to work out the carbohydrate content for the different foods you are eating. And whether you have diabetes or not, matzah with lots of butter and jam for breakfast every day isn’t a healthy choice for anyone.

“Family gatherings can also see a lot of desserts, biscuits and lots of bigger portion sizes being served. The key is moderation, watching your portions and being aware of how a treat may affect your diabetes management. Fit occasional sweeter treats around eating healthier recipes and snacks – there are lots of suggestions on Diabetes UK’s Enjoy Food recipe finder.

 

'Think about portion sizes'

“Prolonged meals during Seder can be a challenge as you tend to eat more than normal and this can affect your diabetes management. Remember to think about portion sizes and balance occasional treats with healthier foods. And if you are using insulin injections or a pump to manage your diabetes, you will need to discuss with your healthcare team the best way to manage your insulin doses at this time.

“It is also worth thinking about the four small cups of wine or grape juice which are traditionally drunk during the Seder. We should all be limiting how much alcohol we drink, so stick to small glasses, and during the rest of the meal look to drink water or no added sugar soft drinks.

"The other important thing to remember is to stay active, such as with a matzah ramble, as this will help you to manage your blood glucose levels. One or two high blood glucose readings should not affect your long-term diabetes control, but people should aim to avoid persistently high readings.”

For more information speak to your healthcare professional or call the Diabetes UK Careline on 0345 123 2399, and for healthy recipesvisit the Enjoy Food pages.

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