A Very Happy Hanukkah, with Minimal Diabetes Challenges

Very happy Hanukkah for those who celebrate! In 2021, the holiday begins at sunset on November 28 and continues until the evening of December 6.

For those who suffer from diabetes and celebrate this holiday, Hanukkah can be a challenge when it comes to blood sugar management, due to large holiday meals full of fatty fried foods, which can delay the glucose spike.

Fortunately, many people with type 1 diabetes (T1D) have found that Hanukkah does not need to be affected by diabetes. As always, properly measuring and properly processing a person’s carbohydrate intake is key.

We’re excited to see so many in the diabetes community reaching out to help one another – including this helpful Hanukkah Carb Counting Chart from Beyond Type 1.

In New York, longtime T1D Dan Fleshler says he hasn’t considered Hanukkah a hard holiday in terms of diabetes.

“As far as I know, there’s no need for insulin when one lights candles in the menorah,” he joked. “The most common traditional dish, the medium potato latke, has about 10 grams of carbs. Add apples and sour cream and, according to this recipe at least, it’s 27 grams. We eat with salad and some fatty protein like brisket. For To me, Thanksgiving is a much bigger challenge.”

Longtime T1D defender Gail deVore in Colorado echoes those sentiments. Her family makes a lot of food, but she still considers Hanukkah a small holiday in terms of dealing with diabetes.

“It’s very easy to overcook and rise, especially with the oil from frying latkes and sour cream,” she said. “Measuring is not easy, but getting a quick bolus and then monitoring our blood sugar will work wonders in being able to fully enjoy eight days of light.”

She points out that knowing what’s in homemade latex — potatoes, onions, and oil, plus applesauce and sour cream — makes it easier for her to count the carbs and treat them as needed to avoid a spike in blood sugar.

In Judaism, we have a saying that is true 101 percent of the time: They tried to kill us. We won. Let’s eat,” she chuckles.

Fellow diabetes blogger Jessica Apple at A Sweet Life once told DiabetesMine that when she was diagnosed with T1D as an adult in 2008 during the holiday season, her doctor immediately told her Hanukkah favorites like potato latkes, jelly donuts, and gelt, chocolate coins The traditional wrapped in gold leaf – all high-carb foods – were all out of the question.

She grew up in Texas before she moved with her husband Michael to Tel Aviv, Israel, so Apple says she knew firsthand how to approach the task of finding healthy food options. Since then, she’s modified her recipes to include low-carb lattes made with zucchini, kale, carrots, and other vegan alternatives.

“As a modern woman at 21St A century, however, I hope to be able to resist food with grace, and never feel the need to take baked goods openly,” she shared with DiabetesMine.

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