Diabetes has become an epidemic in this country, particularly Type 2 diabetes which tends to arise in middle age. That sad fact means that any one of us is likely to know someone who has diabetes: a parent, a family member, a friend, a co-worker.
So how do you find a good gift for a diabetic? Well, the best diabetic gift ideas will be all about health and healing. We found seven gifts appropriate for people with diabetes. Before we get into the specific gift ideas, we’d like to say a few words about the reasoning behind our healthy choices. If you want to learn more specifics about the physiology of diabetes, check out one of the many easily accessible medical websites.
For health, our blood sugar (glucose) should remain relatively stable over the course of a day. It’s obvious, but worth the reminder, that we get sugar directly from the foods we eat. Certain food, like simple carbohydrates (starches) and refined sugars are known to immediately convert sugar into glucose and cause a spike in blood levels. These foods are considered to be “high” on the Glycemic Index (GI). The hormone insulin works to lower blood sugar. In people who are developing Type 2 diabetes, the body’s sensitivity to insulin begins to decrease. Insulin starts to be retained as fat (particularly around the abdomen) and causes weight gain. When insulin is no longer able to control the glucose levels in the blood, Type 2 diabetes is diagnosed.
The best gifts for diabetics will be ones that 1) promote eating healthy foods that do not cause blood glucose surges, and 2) encourage weight loss and physical exercise, which help to increase the effectiveness of insulin. If you need to send a gift to a person who has diabetes, you will not go wrong if you choose one of these!
#1. Gift Basket Filled with Low Glycemic Treats
Fresh fruits are considered a healthy dietary choice for people with diabetes. However, some fresh fruits are higher on the GI than others. At Manhattan Fruitier, we have designed gifts for people with diabetes that include fresh and dried fruit known to be low on the Glycemic Index (GI) so they help keep blood glucose levels steady. Fresh fruits are considered a healthy dietary choice for people with diabetes. However, some fresh fruits are higher on the GI than others.
At Manhattan Fruitier, we have designed gifts for people with diabetes that include fresh and dried fruit known to be low on the Glycemic Index (GI) so they help keep blood glucose levels steady. In fact, we named our Diabetic gift baskets collection, “Even Keel”! To that we add other low GI snacks and treats including nutritious low carb chickpea snacks, jumbo roasted peanuts in the shell and stevia sweetened chocolate. Stevia is a natural plant-based sugar that has no carbs and no calories and doesn’t affect insulin levels or blood glucose. This is one of our favorite Even Keel gift baskets with delicious low GI treats:
A cookbook for people with diabetes is a great gift, especially for someone who is pre-diabetic or recently diagnosed. It can be confusing at first to know what foods are better to eat than others, and it can be hard to adjust a familiar diet to make new and healthier substitutions. A cookbook with enticing photographs of meals focusing on fresh vegetables and whole grains can be inspiring! There are so many options available. Look for a cookbook with simple, easy to prepare meals if the gift is for a diabetic who isn’t facile in the kitchen. Your gift will be much more successful if the recipes aren’t intimidating. Conversely, you can find a gourmet cookbook written specifically for people with diabetes in mind, and still please the foodie who likes to cook. Also consider a cookbook with healthy recipes for smoothies and juices! A yummy way to get low GI fruits and vegetables.
#3. Blender or Juicer
And why not combine a recipe book for smoothies and juices with a blender or juicer? There are a variety of types at a variety of price points to fit any budget. A blender or juice is a great gift idea to promote healthy eating because they make it so easy! Whether it’s a fruit and yogurt morning shake or an afternoon veggie juice pick-me-up, you will be helping someone you care about to maintain a healthy diet and keep their diabetes under control.
#4. Exercise Gear & Apparel
Next to managing their diet, people with diabetes are encouraged to get into a steady exercise program. Recent research has shown that losing even a few pounds can have an impact on blood sugar levels. For someone who will be starting an exercise program for the first time, the best diabetic gift idea to encourage exercise is gear for walking.
A Fitbit would be a great way to introduce the concept of walking for health. Fitbits are ubiquitous among those of us who already know the benefits of walking. But for someone who is just getting off the couch, it can be a real eye-opener. Daily step/mile requirements set a concrete goal and watching as that goal gets closer and closer can make the challenge more fun! And that’s the purpose of a good gift for a diabetic: to help them establish a new healthy routine.
If they are already a walker or exerciser, there are other thoughtful and inexpensive gift ideas for exercise gear. There are some really practical and attractive waistbands for walkers or runners with discrete pockets to conveniently hold cell phones, house keys, tissues, and even healthy snacks. Another pragmatic gift for a diabetic for walking or running is an easy to hold water bottle: some have special hand holds, others attach to the wrist and some even attach to waistbands for hands-free exercise.
If interested in starting yoga, or already a devotee, yoga clothes are easy to find and always appreciated. Yoga pants and tops can be found in lots of fun patterns and colors, both lightweight for warm weather months and heavier weight for the cold.
#5. Exercise Equipment
Depending on your budget, think about giving a gift of a gym membership or a pack of yoga classes at a local studio. These would make excellent birthday gifts for diabetics! There is no better way to encourage exercise than in the group setting of a health club or yoga studio. If your recipient is already a gym member, consider hiring a personal trainer for 5 to 10 sessions. A trainer can breathe new life into a tired routine and help a person with diabetes keep motivated to continue their exercise program and even move to the next level. (While you’re gifting them, why not purchase yourself some workout classes and take the classes together).
An organic yoga gift basket (like the one above) with an environmentally friendly water bottle, yoga belt, eye pillow and organic snacks of fresh and dried fruit and nuts is a great diabetic friendly gift idea for the yoga lover. Workout equipment for home or travel use is another thoughtful gift. A set of hand weights, exercise bands, travel yoga mat or block will help keep a person with diabetes engaged in their exercise regime even when they can’t get to the club or to group practice. (We also love these fun gift ideas for any yogi in your life.)
#6. Medical Supply Bag or Case
Besides adjusting to a new diet and weight loss program, a person with diabetes also has to find a way to carry around all their diabetic paraphernalia. Medical supplies such as blood glucose meters and monitors, lancet devices, glucose test strips, insulin bottles and needles need to be carried wherever the person with diabetes goes. A very considerate diabetic gift idea is a medical supply bag that can carry all the testing gear in as compact and attractive way as possible. Many diabetes websites have examples to choose from so you can find one that matches their style.
#7. Diabetic Reference Material
Especially for the newly diagnosed, a comprehensive medical reference book that explains everything you’d want to know about diabetes is a necessity. This gift may not be something that is immediately thought of as essential, but it’s guaranteed to be used again and again. A subscription to a monthly diabetic publication is another gift for people with diabetes that they might not think they need, but can be very informative. Publications range from medical and scientific, to lifestyle so you can choose the best match.
When thinking about what gift to get for a person who has diabetes, the most important criterion is to keep it healthy and healing!