I recently celebrated my birthday (you’ll have to guess which one), and I started thinking about cake and special celebrations. Is there a way to have your cake and eat it too when you have diabetes?

To answer this question you first need to consider your current diabetes management plan and how well it is working for you. Are you checking your own blood glucose levels at home? If so, you will be better informed about whether the cake will be worth any potential damage to your health. Indulging in birthday cake when your blood glucose levels are already too high moves you one step closer to the complications of poorly managed diabetes.

Many people will have a piece of cake regardless of their current blood glucose levels. If this is you, try these strategies to minimize post-cake regret and high blood glucose. A couple of days in advance of cake day do what you can to improve your blood glucose level. Take any diabetes medications prescribed by your doctor if you have not been doing so regularly. Review your carbohydrate choices and trim back your portions a little along with swapping out less desirable carbs, like refined starches and sweets, for better choices like non-starchy vegetables, whole grains or beans. See the “Get Started” page on my website for more specifics (http://jstackchefrd.com/get-started/ ). Add some walking or exercise to your daily routine to help bring your blood glucose level as close to your goal as possible before the big event.

Consider cupcakes or a mini cake instead of bringing a large cake into your home. This will help you avoid the temptation of lots of leftover cake. Celebrating at a restaurant, where one piece of cake can be shared by several people, is another option that can minimize the carbs and calories you consume during your indulgence. You can also save up carbs and calories for your treat by having a low carb meal with of lots of non-starchy vegetable and some fish or poultry beforehand.

Finally, enjoy some sort of movement (walking, dancing, anything) to avoid just sitting after you eat your cake. Using your muscles makes them more sensitive to your body’s insulin and can result in lower blood glucose levels. Remember that better diabetes management today can help ensure many more happy and healthy birthdays for your future.