Desserts & Diabetes

From Thanksgiving to New Year, we have lots of occasions to celebrate with family, friends and food! For people with diabetes, the endless temptations may mean a lot of worry and guilt about staying healthy. Worry no more! With a little bit of planning, you can still enjoy all that the festive season as to offer.

Here are some strategies to help include desserts in your diabetes meal plan in a way that won’t hamper your efforts to manage your blood glucose levels:

  • Portion “Patrol”. Experts agree that desserts can fit in a diabetes meal plan, but portion size is important. Most desserts contain a large amount of carbohydrate in a very small serving of food. Split a dessert with a friend or family member or select a smaller portion size.
  • Balance it out. Make the focus of your meal nutrient dense foods like vegetables, beans, whole grains, fruit, non-fat dairy, fish and lean meats. Filling your plate with these foods will give your body the nutrients it needs before eating the dessert.
  • Substitute. A good tip is to substitute a small portion of dessert for other carbohydrates in your meals and snacks. For example, skip the dinner roll and have a small piece of pumpkin pie. You can use the Beyond the Basics guide developed by the Canadian Diabetes Association to help you with these substitutions.
  • Tweak those traditional recipes. In order to lower the sugar in desserts, substitute artificial sweeteners for sugar or use less sugar when preparing baked goods, or choose a delicious dessert recipe from kraftcanada.com/diabetes.
  • Select wisely. There are better-for-you options that can be eaten in moderation, such as fruit, high-fibre cookies, sugar-free gelatins or puddings, frozen or dessert-flavoured yogurts, and diabetes-friendly dessert recipes. Watch out for products labeled “sugar-free,” “no sugar added,” or “reduced sugar” – these still may contain carbohydrate!

People with diabetes should limit sugars and sweets, but that does not mean you can never eat dessert. With a little planning dessert can be enjoyed as part of your diabetes meal plan– they are an important part of holiday celebrations! Try to follow the strategies above to help keep your blood glucose levels on track. Over the holidays, don’t get discouraged if you stray from your eating plan and eaten a little more than you planned. Build in some extra physical activity to help burn extra calories. Better yet, suggest a group walk after dinner for some fresh air.

Over the holidays, don’t get discouraged if you stray from your eating plan and eaten a little more than you planned. Build in some extra physical activity to help burn extra calories. Better yet, suggest a group walk after dinner for some fresh air.

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