Marching Band

Hi I am in the marching band at my high school and it is holiday parade season. Anyone have suggestions on how to keep your blood sugar up during a long parade? The longest parade I will be participating in this year will be the NYC St. Patcricks day parade but I am also participating in 5 holiday parades in the next few weeks. I am not going to take as much insulin with my meal beforehand and I think I will also have a snack right before we step off.  Any other tips?


Hmm I am not in marching band...but I would, as you say, increase your ratio at the meal beforehand. Also might try to incorporate more slow-acting carbs with some fast-acting carbs, if they don't give you a lot of trouble regularly, such as rice and bread (pasta?) to keep you going through the parade. Eat food that you can predict the outcome of on your bg so that there are no surprises like spikey highs and lows. Are you on a pump? If so try a temp basal starting at the beginning of the parade over the duration or maybe even longer, to prevent lows from catching up to you. And as always, keep convenient snacks with you that you can get down quickly, like carb-y granola bars and glucose tabs (or whatever you normally use to bring your bg up).

And by the way, have fun!!! :)

NYC, that's really great! It will be a blast. Good luck!

Marching band :D haha, I love marching band.


What I usually do is lower my basal by 50% (if you're on a pump, thats probably the best idea) and do the same things as you: correct less and eat right before.


Good luck with the St. Patrick's day parade! That should be a ton of fun!

I dont know why I didnt even think to use my temp weekend I will!

My high school marching band has 320 students and NYC st. pattys day parade is the big parade we go to every year. Last year we participated in the Inaugural Parade and the year before that we traveled to China to participate in Pre-Olympic Youth festivals. I am lucky enough to be a senior this year and I was able to travel to all of these huge events! :D Next year however, the band will be in the Rose Bowl parade out in CA! I'm very sad that I wont be able to go on that trip. After getting about 280 students over to China two years ago, bringing about 300 students from NH to CA wont seem to challenging though!

Thanks for the suggestions and keep them coming! :-)

That's so exciting!  What instrument do you play? 

I agree about eating beforehand both long-acting and faster-acting carbs, and definitely set a temp basal.  Just be careful to keep track of your blood sugars a few hours before the parade so that after you eat they'll be sure to be higher.  And definitely keep glucose gel/tabs with you to eat while you're marching, even if you don't feel low. 

Have fun! :) :)

Hi Laura,

Oh marching band.  How I miss it!  I was not diabetic when I played in high school, but I was in college.  My band marched in the Fiesta Bowl Parade as well as several other long ones.  I remember eating a granola bar right before we stepped off and having one ready in my pocket for as soon as we finished.  Because we were marching in 90 heat, we had staff members carrying around water botttles for us.  I asked one of them to carry gatorade for me (which I didn't actually need). This was 10 years ago, but I've noticed that nowadays,  lots of bands now have their members carry individual water bottles on lanyards around their necks, so maybe you could do that and keep a little bit of gatorade in there. 

I actually noticed that even though we were marching far, we were going so slowly and took lots of breaks (marching in place) that my blood sugar didn't really plummet like it does when I exercise or run.

Good luck in the parade and have fun!  I played piccolo in marching band... what do you play?!?!

What instrument do you play?


Being in the band is a wonderful experience for you. It provides exercise as well as the valuable exposure to all the music. I was in the high school band and orchestra for FIVE years, because in those days the New Rochelle (NY) school system was 7-5. Our leader was Harry Haigh, who had spent several years in one of the bands of none other than John Philip Sousa. So we played at least ten different Sousa marches. In my senior year (1949-1950) the marching band performed at Yankee Stadium for the NY Yankees FOOTBALL team (they were in the All-America Conference of the American Football League). Of course, we performed at all the NRHS football games and the Memorial Day Parade. And our concert band won high ratings at the regional New York State competitions. Back in those days there were no insulin pumps, just one shot of long-acting insulin per day, and no short-acting insulin for meals, so unfortunately I can't offer any useful advise to you, except that the temp basal sounds like the right thing. And please tell us what instrument you play. I played the trombone, and that always put me in the front row of the marching band.

I play the saxophone!!! I have had so many awesome experiences through our music program. Out of 1800 students at my school, almost half are involved in some sort of music class throughout the day.

Our band is a "parade" band. We are not a competition band. Meaning, we do not compete with our football fieldshow, however, we do A LOT of parades!! This will be the fourth time that our band has been invited to the rose bowl parade.

Tom, that is amazing!!! My band director, Mr. Soucy, loves Mr. Sousa's music! haha Our marching band puts the trombones in the back, but before the drumline. We lead with piccolos, then clarinets, saxs, trumpets then trombones.  We are so large however, sometimes we split the band in half and put half of all those instruments behind the drumline.

In the spring our Jazz ensemble, chorus, and orchestra will be traveling to Florida to perform in Disney.  I will be going on that trip and it will be my first time flying with Diabetes so I'm sure I'll be back to ask about travel too!!


I play the Alto Saxophone in concert band, but I am in colorguard for our marching band.

As for keeping your blood sugar up while marching : 1. Check before you go. 2. Carry glocose tablets with you! I am sure your director will understand as long as you just keep the eating kind of descrete and stay on beat while marching.

As for flying....NO BIGGIE! You can have food on the plane and they serve beverages so its all good. I normally get apple juice or regular coke just to keep my blood sugar from dropping. Good luck!

during band camp we had marched for about five hours straight, we marched drill, and fundamentals.

are you on a pump?

if so i have many suggestions =)

alright now that i see that your on a pump what i did was two hours before i drank about half a gatorade, and ate about three pieces of chocolate.  i also set my temporary basal rate to a decrease of about fifty to sixty percent for the certain amount of hours i would be marching.

usually after i would be done marching and i would check for lunch my sugar would be 200 

not to high but high

but i never went low.