Jeanette Terry was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was 11 years old, and she has since lived with diabetes through difficult life transitions, including the teenage years, college, and having children. She addresses the day-to-day struggles of living with diabetes—going beyond medical advice—to improve overall adherence and management.  

Summertime is for parties and get-togethers, and you can almost guarantee there will be food involved. Don't be scared. You can do this!

5 tips to keep your summer celebrations diabetes friendly

1. If you are the host, it all starts in the planning. Choose a few healthier food options, such as fruit or vegetables and dip to go along with your other party foods. If you plan to use the grill, you have made a great decision. Food that is grilled rather than baked or fried is a much healthier alternative. If you're not hosting, offer to bring a healthy dish you and others will enjoy. This has an added bonus of showing others that diabetes-friendly dishes can be tasty!

2. Don't do seconds. Remember portion control. Everyone else may be going back for seconds, but it is going to be harder to count the carbs in your food if you keep going back. So look over the options before you start, then choose which ones you will want and put it all on your plate to start with. This will make it easier to get an accurate count on the carbohydrates.

3. Beware of sauces. If the meat or other food is smothered in sauce, there goes all of your carbs for the meal. Ask the host ahead of time for a piece without sauce, then get a small amount of sauce on the side. That will allow you more carbs for dessert!

4. Remember not to drink your carbs. It will most likely be hot, and there may be tantalizing drinks and smoothies and other deliciously cold beverages. But if you fill up on such beverages, your blood sugar may be sky high by the time you want to sit down for some real food. Instead, choose some ice cold water. If you are picnicking or are somewhere where there may not be water, bring your own.

5. Don’t forget to give insulin or take your medication for the food you did eat at the party. If there is a lot going on, you may get wrapped up and forget your medication, and you and everyone else will regret it later. Plan ahead to take care of business so you don't miss out on a thing.

You can still have fun and be responsible. There is no reason why your diabetes should ruin your party or prevent you from enjoying your summer to the fullest.

What's your go-to diabetes-friendly potluck dish? Share in the comments below.