Whether you realize it or not, you probably know someone—maybe even a loved one—who has diabetes. This chronic health condition occurs when your pancreas either stops making insulin (type 1 diabetes) or you experience changes that make it difficult for your body to produce enough insulin and to use it properly (type 2 diabetes). In either case, the result is too-high blood sugar levels that can affect your health in a number of different ways.
Diabetes as a whole affects 37 million Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)—and those numbers are rising. In the last 20 years alone, the number of adults who have received a diabetes diagnosis has more than doubled. (Though, it's important to note that 90 to 95 percent of people with diabetes have type 2.)
- Lori Cooper, MD, Lori Cooper, MD, is an endocrinologist and metabolism specialist with an interest in diabetes, PCOS, osteoporosis, thyroid and parathyroid, and transgender medicine.
- Michael Maher, RD, Michael Maher is a registered dietitian from Long Island, NY, who works with Teatis, a diabetic nutrition line.
Living with diabetes can be challenging—it often involves a complex balancing act to keep your blood sugar as close to your target range as possible. So, if you know someone who’s either been recently diagnosed or has managed the condition for years, you may be looking to get them a little extra something this holiday season—and that’s very kind of you.
Still, you may be wondering what exactly to get someone with diabetes. It’s not always easy to know what will actually be a useful, appropriate, and appreciated gift for someone living with such a hands-on condition.
When buying a gift for someone with diabetes, it’s important to support their diabetes-friendly lifestyle, notes Michael Maher, R.D., Long Island-based dietitian with Teatis. “For friends and family we love, we should try to help them achieve the happiest and healthiest life they can and help them feel supported, which can make a huge difference in their life and even condition.”
However, it's important to realize that while diabetes is likely a major part of their lifestyle, it's not the totality of who they are—many people don't wish to tie their identity to their condition. Not sure how your loved one feels? You can always ask them.
To help you on your quest to find the perfect gift for a friend or family member with diabetes, we’ve compiled a list of gift ideas, all expert-approved, that are sure to impress this holiday season.
30 Best Gift Ideas for People With Diabetes
Swapping veggies in for carb-heavy foods like pasta and rice can be a healthy decision that can come in handy for people with diabetes, but purchasing the pre-cut and sliced stuff at your grocery store can add up. This at-home veggie spiralizer lets you whip up julienne noodles, spaghetti, tagliatelle, you name it, all from vegetables in no time.
Running, especially outdoors, can be a challenge for people with diabetes who need to have certain supplies with them, like a fast-acting source of carbohydrates in case of a low. This belt is made for running, and can store all of the must-haves that someone with diabetes might need on the go.
“Pouches or small bags that are fun and stylish for a person with diabetes to carry their needed supplies or medication,” notes Dr. Cooper. This sleek bag from lululemon can store several important items along with any medical supplies someone with diabetes may be carrying around. The Everywhere Bag is a shopper-favorite—and for good reason. It’s small enough to be super convenient (versus a more bulky fanny pack), yet has enough pockets for everyday storage. It’s truly the most practical, perfect belt bag.
People with diabetes may have a condition called neuropathy, notes Lori Cooper, M.D., endocrinologist and diabetes and metabolism specialist in Seattle, which is nerve damage that can make their hands or feet more sensitive to injury. For this reason, she recommends gifting a warm pair of socks that they can wear during the wintertime, and protect your feet from injuries.
Fitbits are super cool devices that allow a person to keep track of their personal fitness in an easy and accessible manner. Not only does this help encourage exercise, but it’s a great way to keep someone looking to step-up their health and fitness super motivated. The stats are easy to navigate, which makes fitness tracking that much less intimidating for those who are interested.
This smart home diffuser plugs right into the wall to disperse teeny-tiny droplets of fragrance into your home. Via Bluetooth, users can connect to Pure’s app to control the scent intensity and schedule disbursement. It can also be used as a nightlight (it’s not bright enough to, say, read a book at night, but it helps set the mood for if you want a little bit of ambiance while you’re relaxing and catching up on your favorite shows).
Hands always tend to get dry around the wintertime, and folks with diabetes may have this a bit worse—so a gift set full of nourishing hand creams would be appreciated by most. You can customize this gift set to include scents of your choice—all of which smell incredible.
It’s always a good idea to have a mix of snacks for any situation that arises—whether you’re just hungry or treating a low. This gift allows someone to create and customize their very own gift box full of snacks. You go through a survey that lets you select your favorite flavors, indicating any potential allergies, medical conditions as well as the type of diabetes you have, and then it curates a box to be sent right to your door. All of the snacks have been vetted by a registered dietitian to boot!
Some studies suggest that yoga therapy may increase some insulin receptors for people with type 2 diabetes, making yoga a very beneficial practice all-around. This gift set is perfect for the person who’s looking to incorporate a little mindfulness in their life. It comes with everything someone just starting out in the yoga sphere may need—a mat, a block, a strap and even access to digital workouts.
Staying hydrated is important, especially for someone with diabetes, as dehydration can potentially lead to an increase in blood sugar levels, warns Dr. Cooper. This water bottle can help encourage someone to drink up. It stays cold thanks to triple-layered insulation and can be refilled over and over again. It’s also sleek and pretty, which doesn’t hurt.
If you’re really stumped on what to get anyone this holiday season, you can’t really go wrong with a gift set from Yankee Candle (unless you know this person is really sensitive to smells—then maybe super fragrant candles aren’t a great option). This one has a great price point and includes three of their best-sellers for the holiday season: Balsam & Cedar, Christmas Cookie™, and Red Apple Wreath.
This is definitely a big-ticket gift item, but it’s surely one anyone on your list will appreciate, especially someone with a chronic disease like diabetes. These silky-soft organic cotton sheets get even softer with every wash and come in three neutral colors. When you spend so much of your mental and physical energy on your health condition, it simply feels like to be able to snuggle into soft, decadent sheets when you’re resting.
Snacks come in clutch for people with diabetes who are diligent about avoiding lows—and these are packed with all the right nutrients to provide energy on the go, including almonds, egg whites, cashews, dates and more. They come in a ton of flavors, so this variety pack will be much appreciated.
Someone with diabetes may be tempted to keep track of their food to make sure they’re consuming the right stuff—and this journal makes it easy to do that. Not all folks with diabetes do this, so it’s a good idea to know if this is how they prefer to track their nutrition intake. But if your giftee finds food journaling useful, this is a great choice. You can record every detail, from nutrient intake to water consumption and even daily activity.
If you haven’t put on a pair of these socks, it’s about time. They contour to your foot in a supportive and functional way thanks to their honeycomb arch support system, and don’t compromise on quality with each wash. As a plus, the company donates a pair of socks for each one purchased.
For someone with diabetes, who’s keeping track of their sugar intake, this chocolate is a tasty alternative to traditional candy. Each box contains an assortment of both milk and dark flavors made by famed chocolate brand Asher’s Chocolate, which was established back in 1892.
Many people with diabetes are on the hunt for ways to create healthy meals from the comfort of their home (versus takeout—which, in its nature, isn’t the most transparent about ingredients)—and one of the easiest ways to do this is with an Instant Pot, which is just a pressure cooker. It can whip up a meal in no time, and is particularly useful for cooking vegetables, rice, or even desserts.
This sweet gift is really considerate for someone who is either recently diagnosed or especially struggling with their diabetes. You can have it customized to include their name and each includes a very sentimental note about what it’s like to be diagnosed and to cope with this life-changing medical condition.
For the snack lover, this is the ultimate gift. It comes with an assortment of sweet, spicy and salty classics, including Cheez-its, Skinny Pop, Welch’s Fruit Snacks, Nutri-Grain, Chewy bars and more. What we like about it is that it contains 30, travel-friendly, smaller packages that are incredibly convenient. Just note, if you’re watching your carbs and sugars, you’ll want to be mindful of the nutritional content in this bundle.
For anyone with an eye on health and longevity, this cookbook shares 100 recipes that may help someone live an extra 10 years (who wouldn’t want that?). The Blue Zones are the five regions in the world where people live the longest (Okinawa, Japan; Sardinia, Italy; Nicoya, Costa Rica; Ikaria, Greece, and Loma Linda, California). It combines wisdom collected from more than 50 food pros, including chefs from all around the U.S., and incorporates easy-to-make meals that anyone can whip up at home.
If you’re looking for something small, yet meaningful, as a gift for someone with diabetes, consider this sweet keychain charm that says “Always remember you’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think and loved more than you know.” Going back to what we originally said, though, just make sure your giftee is comfortable with this kind of gift (they may not feel strongly about displaying the fact that they have diabetes—we just never want to assume!).
Living with a chronic disease like diabetes can undoubtedly be stressful, so a gift that encourages a loved one to take it easy and unwind can speak volumes about your love for them. This app features unlimited access to meditations and support that can help someone become more centered and relaxed in their day-to-day life.
If the person you’re gifting is keen on snacking, and you know they’re a meat lover, this pack of grass-fed beef jerky meat snacks is a great gift (or stocking stuffer). They’re not only low in fat, carbs and sodium, which is unusual for jerky, but they’re also sugar free and packed with protein—if those are nutrients your giftee is moderating.
Sweet treats that are diabetes-friendly are hard to come by. While this frozen dessert is dressed up like ice cream, it’s actually Greek yogurt, which packs way more protein and less sugar. Yasso offers custom-built boxes and DIY, so you can have a little fun with your gifting.
Who wouldn’t appreciate a foot massager that you can use at your leisure in the comfort of your home? It’s the ultimate way to take the edge off after a long day, and helps with blood circulation (diabetes can put people at a higher risk for conditions that would impact the circulatory system, according to UCLA Health). This one has three kneading and three squeezing intensities that you can adjust to your liking. It also offers heat, which can be especially soothing during the winter.
If you want to go big with this year’s present, you can’t really go wrong with the newest edition of the Apple watch. It’s great for someone with diabetes, since it can keep track of their blood sugar, plus comes with a host of other super helpful features they’ll love (if they’re interest in fitness and health tracking, like blood oxygen levels, REM, and more).
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