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There’s Something for Every Sweet Tooth: Desserts for Diabetes
The holiday season is here, and you may be daydreaming of a sweet treat or two. Is that delight even possible for someone managing diabetes? The answer is yes! Desserts for diabetes can make those sweet dreams come true.
It’s a common misconception that people with diabetes must steer clear of sweets entirely. While it’s important to keep a close eye on what you eat and to limit the amount of added sugar in your diet, you can still eat sweet dessert with a bit of planning.
Diabetes-Friendly Holiday Goodies
The holiday season can be filled with diet pitfalls for anyone and everyone, as many traditional recipes are often packed with sugar, salt, and fat.
You may have seen tips about healthy eating habits to follow when gathering with friends and family for the holidays. One common recommendation is to prepare and take a dish with you that you can enjoy. That way you know there’s at least one item you can indulge in.
If you are living with diabetes, prepare one of these easy and healthy diabetes-friendly desserts:
Frozen yogurt. Use your food processor to blend your favorite fruit with sugar-free Greek yogurt to create a frozen treat! Add a dash of honey for extra sweetness. Freeze and then serve topped with a sugar-free whipped cream or a couple of chocolate chips.
Homemade cookies. Steer clear of store-bought cookies. Instead seek out recipes for easy options containing a sugar substitute, such as monk fruit extract or stevia. Look for recipes that jazz up flavor by using natural ingredients, including peanut butter or cocoa powder. Peanut butter is an excellent choice because natural peanut butters have a low glycemic index and can promote feelings of fullness.
Fresh fruit. Fruit is the perfect option for satisfying a sweet tooth. Oranges, apples, pears, and grapefruit can all offer a seasonal flavor during this time of year. You can also use fresh or frozen fruit (look for the ones packed without syrup or sugar) as a sugar alternative in many recipes.
Lower-sugar versions of favorites. Many recipes can be just as good with less sugar than recommended. Experiment with reducing the amount of sugar in a recipe by reducing the amount you use, replacing it with fruit or a sugar substitute, or simply leaving it out altogether.
Beyond these ideas for desserts, you might find a new family favorite tucked away on the Carson Tahoe Health blog!
Navigating the Holiday Season While Managing Diabetes
You’ve prepared a diabetes-friendly dessert. What else should you do to plan for the holiday party?
Strategizing in advance is smart. You can use the guidance and tips you’ve learned from your healthcare team and the Carson Tahoe Health diabetes program to guarantee a fun and healthy night.
Start by eating a meal before you head out for the evening. While you’re still at home, eat a small meal containing lean protein (such as turkey, chicken, or eggs), whole grains, and a small amount of healthy fat. This pre-party meal can help keep your blood sugar level throughout the night.
This strategy might be the opposite of what you’d been thinking of doing. Many people prepare for a big holiday gathering by not eating at all. That’s not a good tactic in general, but it’s an especially bad idea for people with diabetes. Fasting can throw your blood sugar off track, making you feel sick.
When planning for a holiday party, even one during the day, eat normal meals and snacks throughout the day. Doing so will help you avoid blood sugar spikes and fluctuations.
Once you get to the party, look at what’s available. Then fill your plate with healthy, satisfying choices, such as raw vegetables or cocktail shrimp. Indulge slowly so you can easily notice when you start to feel full. Sip on water or another calorie-free beverage.
When you feel almost full, head for the desserts. Grab your diabetes-friendly treat, along with a small portion of a traditional favorite. In most cases, all you’ll need is a small serving to enjoy all the flavor you’re craving.
Your sweet tooth doesn’t have to be neglected, even when you have diabetes! There are options for everyone.
Having diabetes doesn’t mean food has to be bland or boring. Carson Tahoe Health’s registered dietitian nutritionists are here to offer nutrition tips and guidance.