The Hanukkah Survival Guide with Type 1 Diabetes


Note: This article is part of our library of resources for Celebrations & Holidays. Check out our food and drinking tips as well as an array of holiday carb charts here

Oy(l) Vey—Can I eat all of this fried food?

To celebrate the miracle of the oil that burned for eight days, we traditionally eat a lot of fried food. Meals that are high in saturated fat (i.e. fried food) can increase the amount of free fatty acids in the circulating blood. That being said, those with type 1 diabetes must also consider how saturated fat affects one’s blood sugar. While there is still little hard science to explain why, many with type 1 diabetes do report that blood glucose levels remain higher several hours after eating a meal high in saturated fat. High saturated fat may affect you differently than others, but think about and plan for possible highs if you plan to eat these fried foods!

Count your carbs—hey! You can even play a little dreidel with this one!

If you are headed to celebrate with some friends and family, make a few measures ahead of time so you are prepared.

  • Use a carb counting app or our Hanukkah carb chart to find accurate numbers quickly.
  • Offer to bring one of your favorite dishes to a party, to be sure of what you are eating (cauliflower latkes anyone?).
  • Bring along a measuring cup so that you are able to find precise portions and carb ratios!

This way you can easily spin out an action plan for what to do with a carby food.

  • Gimmel: eat all of it
  • Hey: ehh eat about half of it
  • Nun: pass on that today
  • Shin: give it to a friend

(This is not a suggestion to let a dreidel decide how you eat.) Dreidel Dreidel Dreidel I made it out of … Insulin?

Hanukkah is a marathon, not a sprint!

Hanukkah is a long holiday, so do some planning before jumping into celebrations! Be sure to stay active; walks are a great way to lower blood glucose levels and a fun way to get your family out of the house for a bit. Don’t forget to hydrate (and I don’t mean with extra Manischewitz): a glass of water between glasses of wine and throughout your meal will help your management. Get enough sleep! Your typical schedule may be off due to increased celebrations, but try to stick to a consistent sleeping pattern to also help with your diabetes management.

WRITTEN BY BT1 Editorial Team, POSTED 12/20/16, UPDATED 12/26/22

This piece was authored collaboratively by the Beyond Type 1 Editorial Team.