Tips for managing diabetes through Eid al-Adha

By Jessica Durston - 16 July 2021

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Diabetes UK has created a top ten list for staying safe during Eid al-Adha.

The start of Eid al-Adha tomorrow - Monday July 19 - will see many Muslims fast, until three days of celebration start on Tuesday, July 20.

Diabetes UK says the celebration of Eid involves lots of food which can create a challenge for people with diabetes, and even affect those at risk of the condition, but that having diabetes does not mean traditional festive foods cannot be eaten. Foods that are high fat and high sugar, such as barfi and rasmalai, can be enjoyed in moderation.

Dan Howarth, Head of Care at Diabetes UK, said: “Eid is a time of celebration, which can be difficult for people living with diabetes, but we hope Diabetes UK’s top tips on managing diabetes will help those with the condition to keep safe and well, while enjoying the festivities.

“Ultimately, it is a personal choice whether or not to fast, and it’s important to remember that people living with diabetes are not required to fast. However, if you do choose to fast, then you must consult your doctor or healthcare team, to make sure that you are able to look after yourself properly. 

“We encourage those living with diabetes and their loved ones to keep safe during Eid celebrations. As restrictions change in some parts of the UK, it’s important to stay safe and keep in mind those who have health conditions such as diabetes, that could put them at greater risk of serious illness if they get the virus.”

With Eid al-Adha falling the day after covid-19 restrictions are lifted in England, Diabetes UK is also urging everyone to mark the occasion safely, and be mindful of those who have health conditions such as diabetes, who may have a higher risk of being seriously ill if they get the virus.

Diabetes UK’s top tips for enjoying Eid celebrations are: 

  1. Check your blood sugars: Checking blood sugar levels is important during the festivities in order to ensure they stay within the target range.
  2. Think about portion size: Be mindful of portion sizes, especially when it comes to carbs, as the amount of carbohydrates eaten will affect blood sugar levels.
  3. Use healthier cooking methods: Instead of frying, try baking, grilling or dry frying food. Rapeseed or sunflower oil could be used instead of ghee, butter and coconut and palm oil.
  4. Choose healthier carbs: Try cooking with wholegrain basmati instead of white rice: Wholegrain basmati rice will be absorbed more slowly and can help keep blood sugar levels more stable.
  5. Getting enough fibre: Pulses such as chickpeas, beans and lentils are high in fibre and will not affect blood glucose levels as much, making them a great swap for processed and red meat or potatoes.
  6. Choose healthy desserts: Try making small changes to traditional recipes to make them healthier. Fruit salad or chaat with plain yogurt sweetened or a small handful of nuts is a great alternative. 
  7. Support loved ones with diabetes: When planning meals, be mindful of friends or family members who are living with diabetes and take the time to check in with them. Provide heathier options and small portions of less healthy dishes to make it easier for people to choose wisely.
  8. Fill up on veg: Make sure to eat plenty of salads and vegetables, which are a great source of fibre, vitamins and minerals.
  9. Choose drinks wisely: Swap sugary drinks, energy drinks and fruit juices for water, plain milk, or tea and coffee without sugar.
  10. Enjoy yourself: Eid is a time to celebrate and indulge in treat foods. Being a time of indulgence and celebration, many traditional foods tend to be higher in saturated fat, sugars and salt than in the average person's usual diet. But a slight break from the norm is to be expected, so enjoy it, then get back on track once the festivities are over.

 

More information about fasting and diabetes can be found at diabetes.org.uk/fasting

More information is also available in Diabetes UK’s Learning Zone at https://learningzone.diabetes.org.uk/

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