Diabetes Management and Food while Partying


If you ask me, parties of all types represent a big challenge. When living with diabetes, socializing can be difficult because you’ll find foods that are very high in carbs. Even if your diet includes carbs, some foods found at parties can have a significant impact on your blood glucose levels. It is worth mentioning that parties, of all kinds, include food—and if we’re being real, most of the time that food isn’t even healthy. Delicious? Yes. Healthy? Not always. 

I don’t know about your family and friends, but gatherings with mine are always a culinary experience. Believe me,  I try to eat healthily. But, I must confess that I do it not because I live with diabetes but because I like to remain as healthy as I can.  Recently, I received an invitation to a party with friends, which will, of course, include indulging in some delicious food.  I am more ready than ever because, when you have diabetes, you always need to have a plan to party. Here’s what I say and do to get out of situations where I’m pressured to drink or eat portions of food that aren’t conducive to my diabetes plan. 

Don’t want to drink? Try my “Antibiotics” trick

 “Do I want tequila? No, thank you very much, I’m taking antibiotics.” I know, it’s wrong to lie, but this trick usually works when I’m feeling pressured to drink alcohol. In fact, drinking alcohol while taking antibiotics can cause side effects such as upset stomach, drowsiness and dizziness. If anyone tries to tell you the effect of antibiotics is eliminated with tequila—don’t believe them. If I want to drink, I’ll go for a light beer, which has fewer calories and slightly lower alcohol content as regular beer. Now, if you still want tequila, go for it, but be aware of the effect alcohol has on blood sugar.

“Thank you, I can serve myself”

I find high-carb foods such as cake, pasta and rice absolutely delicious. Usually, the host tries to show off by serving a tremendously large portion of food on our plates. By serving yourself, you have more control over the number of carbs you’re eating and can decide to add more protein and vegetables to your plate.

“Whew, I’m full!”

In Mexico, we say “pretend dementia” and we act literally as distracted crazy people. There is nothing simpler than pretending with the same drink or the same plate of food.  So if someone asks us if we want more, we can say “No thank you! Look at my plate, I have already served twice.”

Contribute to dinner:

Bring something to the dinner that you can eat and think others would enjoy! If you’re nervous about making something from scratch, get it from the grocery store. Look, I know the stares I would get if I  brought baked tostadas, but I could always find a healthy option at the market I like and serve it to friends. 

“I brought dessert!” 

Of course, I always offer to bring desserts. I do it so I can have something sweet that will have less of an impact on my blood sugar compared to what else may be served at the party. 

If none of these advice work for you and you find yourself indulging in high-carb unhealthy foods, dance those calories and carbs away!  The idea, of course, is not to stop eating at parties. Enjoy the party and live a little, even if that means eating a little crazy from time to time. But, if you want to watch your carb intake, my tips are always here to help you. 

WRITTEN BY Mariana Gómez, POSTED 03/04/19, UPDATED 12/12/22

Mariana has a degree in psychology and a diabetes educator. She was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in the 80's. In 2008, Mariana started a blog where she shares her life experience with others and topics related to life with diabetes and emotional health. Mariana worked for the Mexican Diabetes Federation until 2012 and today she is project manager at Beyond Type 1. She is the mother of a teenager.