Easter is a tricky time for people with diabetes. Like Christmas – and any other festivities that tend to involve lots of chocolate – it’s difficult to maintain careful blood glucose management amid all the temptation.

That said, with the right approach it’s possible to manage your diabetes well and enjoy yourself.

However you choose to navigate Easter and diabetes, be sure to have a plan. Keep an eye on the carbohydrates and calories you consume.

Chocolate and blood glucose

If you want to carefully control your blood glucose levels over Easter, eating lots of chocolate isn’t a good idea. However, a small amount of chocolate is fine for most people with diabetes. It depends on your diabetes, and how your blood sugar levels react to different food. Everyone is different in this respect.

A healthcare professional may be able to help you work out how much chocolate your blood sugars can handle.

Easter eggs

Easter eggs are probably the biggest temptation you’ll face over the Easter period. And while there’s no need to avoid them altogether, keeping portions small is advisable.

When it comes to things like chocolate, the most important thing is to know what your body can handle. Understand how much a certain amount of chocolate might increase your blood sugar levels, and work around that.

The problem is that this kind of knowledge takes a long time to develop. If you’re not quite sure how much chocolate is suitable for you, it’s worth conducting blood tests. Test your blood sugar, then eat some chocolate, then test it again. Over time, you’ll realise what works for you.

Another good piece of advice is to space out your chocolate consumption over the Easter period, rather than eating it in a short space of time.

Sugar-free or “diabetic” Easter eggs

If you don’t feel comfortable with full-sugar Easter eggs, there are sugar-free alternatives. Some people get on well with sugar-free Easter eggs, but others don’t.

The positive is that they tend to have less of an impact on blood glucose levels because they use alcohols (or polyols) instead of sugar.

But, eaten in large amounts, these alcohols can have laxative effects.

Dark chocolate Easter eggs

As a general rule, dark chocolate is better for people with diabetes than milk chocolate. Dark chocolate contains more natural cocoa (which has a higher fat content), and therefore less added sugar.

At Easter, then, having dark chocolate Easter eggs rather than milk chocolate ones will do a lot of good for your blood glucose levels.

Easter alternatives for people with diabetes

You might not be comfortable with Easter and chocolate at all. That’s understandable, particularly if it’s your first Easter with diabetes. If you’d rather just avoid it altogether, there are alternative treats.

For example, a card with a voucher might be a preferable gift, or a bunch of flowers.

There are food alternatives: hot cross buns, for example, although fairly high in carbohydrates, will have a less significant effect on blood glucose levels than chocolate.

Children, diabetes, and Easter

Easter is a difficult time for children with diabetes. Most children enjoy the fun of Easter, but it isn’t traditionally very healthy. Not being able to join in can make children with diabetes feel left out.

A good solution to this problem is to replace chocolate treats with treats that aren’t food. Toys or books, for example.