Party time can be stressful when you have diabetes. You wonder what will be served, if you will overindulge in some of your favorite “fun” foods and how it will affect your glucose levels. The last thing you want to do is allow stress to hinder your enjoyment or be at the forefront of your thoughts on a joyous occasion. No doubt, July 4th picnic foods are primarily carbohydrates: hot dogs/hamburgers on a bun, corn on the cob, cole slaw, fruit, dessert, etc.

Here are some helpful hints so that you can more healthfully celebrate your Independence Day:

Choose which carbohydrates are most important to you. Perhaps you can have the hot dog or hamburger without the bun if you know you’ll be indulging in some corn on the cob and coleslaw. Take the skin off the chicken where most of the artery-clogging, cholesterol raising saturated fat AND sweet barbecue sauce is. Treat yourself to a large salad and grilled vegetables to fill up on high nutrient, low calorie and lower carbohydrate foods. Maybe even bring your own cut up raw vegetables like carrots, celery and vitamin C packed red peppers and a delicious zero calorie/zero carbohydrate Walden Farms veggie dip? Pick your favorite flavor: Bleu Cheese, French Onion, Ranch or Bacon dip. Have more fruit than sweet treats while you’re socializing! Or at least consider bringing a Sweet N’ Low Chocolate or Banana cake, Sans Sucre Key Lime or Chocolate or Chocolate Cheesecake Mousse or delicious Chocolate Fudge Brownies. If your blood glucose levels rise too high you may be too tired to watch the exciting fireworks!

Be sure to consume water or non-carbohydrate beverages. The hot weather (as well as higher blood glucose levels) may be dehydrating. If you have an alcoholic drink, try to aim for wine or alcohol with club soda or diet soda instead of fruit juice. If you must have beer, try a lite beer which is lower in carbohydrates. Alcohol typically lowers your blood sugar but be careful. Check your blood glucose levels at some point during the party to make sure you are on track or close to it! Gauge yourself. If you want the apple pie, take a nice walk or wait a couple of hours before eating it. Allow your blood glucose levels to drop a bit before sending them back up with your dessert.

Enjoy the holiday and the time of being with friends and/or family. July 4th is not all about the food. It is a celebration of our Independence – cherish that thought.

NOTE: Consult your doctor first to make sure my recommendations fit your special health needs.