12 Great Gifts for People with Type 1 Diabetes

Thoughtful, useful and tasty options that your loved ones with diabetes will be excited to unwrap on Christmas morning!

outdoor holiday lights and decorationsManaging blood sugar never goes on vacation and often becomes even more challenging during the stressful holiday season. These thoughtful ideas won't remove the burden of diabetes but they might make the holidays a little happier. (Photo: Unsplash, Marina Khrapova)

Dear Santa,

Please stop buying me those gross, “sugar-free” chocolates from CVS, along with pretty much anything from the "diet" section of any store. There may be a few people with diabetes who enjoy them but if I've never met any of them. Here are some suggestions.  Love, Ginger. 

Ginger's Picks

Since I've been on the receiving end of plenty of disappointing "diabetes-friendly" presents from well-meaning folks I decided it was high time I put together a gift registry from people with diabetes (PWD). Here are my top picks:

#1. Lion's Pack Edible Cookie Dough: The Ultimate Sweet Treat

Lion's Pack Edible Oreo Cookie Dough

Ohhh, this is a good one! Gluten-free, vegan, dairy-free, and the best thing about it is that it contains ZERO nasty fake sweeteners or sugar alcohols...and it’s still pretty darn low-carb! The flavors of these doughs are out of this world. And they taste exactly like their title implies: oreo cookie, s’mores, cinnamon roll, Samoa cookie, snickerdoodle, brownie batter...and more! But they aren’t cheap which is why it’s a wonderful indulgence to receive as a gift!

#2. A Pretty New Case for Glucometer, Strips, Meds & More


open and closed myabetic diabetes supply case

Both of these companies make products for people with diabetes created by people with diabetes. Personally, I love the playful patterns favored by the Out of Sight brand—there are animal prints...cheetah and zebra! I also like that it works with any glucometer thanks to a piece of velcro for the back of the meter that sticks conveniently to another piece of velcro inside the case.

#3. Test-Strip Subscriptions: Save Money, No RX Required

These days companies are getting smart and delivering test-strips in the quantities we actually need to live well with diabetes without getting prescriptions or insurance approval. 

These three companies have created their own glucose meter and test-strip subscription plans (some even come with complimentary diabetes coaching with a certified diabetes educator) for the same price as a monthly copay. Way better than having insurance companies dictate how many test strips you're permitted to use each day.

These companies offer programs that cost as little as $8 month if you only need 1 or 2 strips per day, and unlimited test-strip supplies for about $40 if you test more than 4 times a day. Check out each one and see what you think!

*Full disclosure: I freelance for OneDrop but was not paid to promote them in this article.

#4. Sign On a Personal Diabetes Coach

Sometimes appointments with doctors aren’t enough. To really reach our goals around weight-loss, nutrition, A1C levels, and the emotional challenges of living with diabetes, having a diabetes friend/cheerleader/coach (who also has diabetes) can be a life-changing experience!

If your loved one has been lamenting about their diabetes-related struggles—getting them a coaching plan with one of these inspiring people will give them the support and guidance they need!

#5. A Cool Diabetes T-Shirt?

diabetes strong T-shirt

Nothing shouts diabetes pride like a t-shirt that shows off just how powerful people with type 1 diabetes really are! It’s nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed by and these fun tees (made by PWD) teach every passerby that diabetes can look STRONG and AWESOME just like your family member or beloved friend. 

#6. GrifGrips: Keep Your Insulin Pump or CGM Close

Holiday-themes GrifGrip


I wish GrifGrips existed when I was still using a CGM! Boy did I struggle with keeping that darn thing stuck to my body. GrifGrips have dozens of designs—from cool to adorable—and they actually keep your diabetes technology where it belongs on your body without ripping off your skin!

Designed for a variety of diabetes gadgets, they really are the ultimate must-have accessory for anyone wearing a pump or CGM.

#7. A Few Good Reads

Books about diabetes written by authors with diabetes! Search title in Amazon and have it delivered to their door.

Classic Titles

  • Think Like a Pancreas
  • Dealing with Diabetes Burnout
  • 50 Myths That Can Ruin Your Life—and 50 Diabetes Truths That Can Save It
  • Sugar Surfing
  • Thriving with Diabetes
  • Pumping Insulin

For the Newly Diagnosed

  • The Book of Better
  • The Pocket Carbohydrate Counting Guide
  • Typecast: Amazing Individuals Overcoming Chronic Disease
  • If I Kiss You, Will I Get Diabetes?
  • Too Sweet: The Not-So-Serious Side of Diabetes
  • Sugar Linings

To Manage Blood Sugar When Exercising

  • Diabetic Athlete's Handbook
  • Yoga for Diabetes
  • Unleash Your Inner Diabetes Dominator
  • Fit with Diabetes

Special Concerns

  • Pregnancy with Type 1 Diabetes
  • Balancing Diabetes
  • Emotional Eating with Diabetes
  • A Woman’s Guide to Diabetes

#8.Frio Insulin-Cooling Case

Frio-Insulin Cooling Case

This is really a must-have for anyone with diabetes who carries insulin in their bag, backpack, or purse. To protect your insulin during the hot summer months, or even in your car on a warmish spring day, the Frio case is a simple, affordable “cooling” case that requires zero time in the freezer. Instead, you just run it under water to activate its cooling system and presto: insulin protection!

When it needs to be “re-cooled,” you simply run it under water again!

#9. Low-Carb Pasta that Actually Tastes Good

Seapoint Farms Edamame Fettuccine is my favorite diabetes-friendly noodle. Not only because it holds together well but it's NEVER gummy or chewy like rice pasta and barely affects my blood sugar! It's easy to cook—boil, add pasta, drain, add sauce. Mangia Pasta in under 10 minutes! Even my picky father-in-law likes it! And if he likes it, anyone will.

#10. Quest Bars: Pricey But Worth It

Quest Bars

Okay, so this is far from “real food” but they’re really quite tasty. If your loved one with diabetes loves protein bars, getting them a big box for Christmas of their favorite flavors will be appreciated.

Sometimes it's really handy to have simple treats like this— that can satisfy your sweet tooth without consuming a lot of sugar. Wrap up the box with a bow and leave it under the tree (or the menorah)—or individually to stuff a stocking—and they'll be even more fun to eat!

#11. Fitness Tracker: Wearable Motivation

Obviously these gadgets are very popular in the non-diabetic community, but for PWDs they offer an extra incentive to get moving which is so important for managing blood sugar especially with all of those holiday treats around that tend to spike BGs.  

Somehow seeing how many steps you’ve taken each day really is an effective eye-opener for anyone struggling to make exercise a bigger priority. They're expensive so being the one to give your loved one a quality fitness tracker— like a FitBit—could make you Queen of Christmas or the Hero of Hanukkah or the King of Kwanzaa! (Beware of the cheap knockoffs—the reviews are terrible great—I’ve spent hours pouring over them!)

#12. A Little Dab Will Do Ya! 

For those who prefer to "wipe" the blood after a finger prick (versus licking it...), these are just for you! Diabetic Dabs were invented by a mom of a type 1 kiddo, and serve as a perfectly compact little pad—sort of like a Post-It note for your bloody finger—that you keep in your diabetes kit. Wipe it...dab it...and go! Save money when you buy them from Amazon.

Happy Holidays and cheers to another year without having to throw away multiple boxes of gross “sugar-free” chocolate from drug-store checkout line! Don’t waste your money...but don’t forget: people with diabetes love presents, too!

Updated on: November 29, 2018
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