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Advice for people with diabetes and their families

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Five tips for a healthier Eid

There are two Eids in the muslim calendar, Eid al-Fitr, which celebrates the end of Ramadan, and Eid al-Adha.

Eid al-Adha is sometimes called ‘Salty Eid’ because of the amount of savoury food available. Eid al-Fitr is known for the amount and variety of sweet foods on offer.

It’s a great time to get together with family and enjoy delicious foods as part of the celebrations. But eating a lot of food, especially food that’s high in fat or sugar, can make it harder to manage your diabetes.

Read on for our suggestions on how to enjoy the festivities without compromising your diabetes management.

1. Make easy swaps to reduce your sugar, salt and fat intake

You can still eat sugary foods as an occasional treat if you have diabetes, but simple switches can make a big difference. For example, when making a traditional masala tea you could replace sugar with sweetener and use semi-skimmed or skimmed milk instead of full fat milk.

You should also be mindful about not having too many rusks or biscuits with tea, as these will also increase your sugar and fat intake. You could also try making lassi with reduced fat plain yogurt and a handful of fruit.

Remember to stay hydrated by drinking sugar-free drinks, rather than fizzy or juice drinks which can have a lot of added sugar. Take a look at our Food Labels Made Easy guide before you shop, which has handy tips on how to understand food labelling.

When you go food shopping it’s easy to become tempted by what’s on offer, but supermarkets tend to promote ready-made desserts and drinks, which can be high in fat and sugar. Try to cook from scratch if you can, as that way you’ll know exactly what’s in your food. You can also reduce the amount of fat in your own recipe, for example by grilling meat instead of frying.

If you’re having a dessert, try making small changes to your traditional recipes to make them healthier. Fruit salad or chaat with plain yogurt sweetened with fruit or a small handful of unsalted nuts is a great alternative.

Read more about cutting down on sugar.

2. Be mindful of portion sizes

It’s easy to overindulge during celebrations like Eid, but being aware of your portion sizes can help you avoid eating more than you’d planned. Try to fill up on vegetables, and these will help you feel fuller, and stop eating just before you feel full. You can also try using smaller plates or bowls to help you manage your portions.

Read more about getting portion sizes right when you have diabetes.

3. Managing your blood sugar levels

If you normally check your blood sugar levels, you'll need to check them more often during the festivities to make sure they stay in the target range. Try cooking with wholegrain basmati instead of

white rice: Wholegrain basmati rice will be absorbed more slowly, which helps to slow down how quickly your blood sugars rise after a meal.

4. Get your fill of fibre

Pulses such as chickpeas, beans and lentils provide plant-based protein which is naturally low in salt and fat. Using these to replace some of the red meat or processed meat options will lower your salt and fat intake.

In the long term, eating less salt and fat will help you keep your blood pressure low and help keep your heart healthy. Eating too much red meat isn’t good for our hearts and could also increase your levels of cholesterol, which increases our risk of heart disease.

Try our chana chaat (mixed bean salad) recipe, which has four green traffic lights.

Read more about what you need for a healthy, balanced diet if you have diabetes.

5. Remember to get active

When we celebrate with food it’s easy to consume more calories than we plan to. Try to keep active, for example by going on a walk to meet your friends to celebrate. Take a look at our exercise hub for loads of advice on how to get more active.

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Ultimately, don’t worry too much if you do overindulge a little during Eid. Eid is a time to enjoy yourself and have treats that you wouldn’t normally have. It's a time of indulgence and celebration, so many traditional foods tend to be higher in saturated fat, sugars and salt than our usual diets. But a slight break from the norm is to be expected, so have fun, then get back on track once the festivities are over.

Our ideas for Eid recipes 

Lamb curry
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