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People who have diabetes don't need to feel deprived; they too can satisfy their sweet tooth and enjoy occasional desserts or other sweet foods in moderation.
The key is to count the carbohydrates (carbs) in sweet treats as part of the total carbohydrate allowance in your meal plan. The sugar, honey and other natural sweeteners in your favourite treats are carbs that affect your blood glucose the same as carbs in other foods. To make that sweet treat fit, try these tips:
Choose carbs carefully. Before you indulge in dessert, make sure to "spend" most of the carbohydrates in your meal plan on nutritious foods such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and low fat or fat free milk products. Everyone needs these for a healthy diet.
Know your numbers. The Nutrition Facts panel on food labels is a great tool to help you fit foods into your meal plan. Check the serving size and then the calories, carbohydrates and fat per serving. Making your own dessert? Select recipes that list nutrition information.
Make sweets, small treats. Watch portion sizes for sweet foods to make sure you don't get too many calories, carbohydrates, or too much fat. Use the serving size information on the Nutrition Facts Panel as a guide, or try portion controlled packages such as 100 calorie snack packs. When indulging in a favourite special-occasion dessert take a small portion or share it with a friend – then enjoy every bite. Another option is to choose a sweet that's already small such as an unfrosted cupcake or "kiddie-size" ice cream cone.
Use tradeoffs to keep carbs consistent. When you want dessert after dinner or something sweet for a snack, use tradeoffs to keep the total amount of carbohydrates for your meal/snack within the amount budgeted in your meal plan. For example, to include a half a cup of ice cream that contains 15 grams of carbohydrates, you could skip either a potato or slice of bread, each of which also contain 15 grams of carbohydrate.
Try tasty alternatives. Sugar-free or reduced sugar versions of foods such as pudding, cake, cookies, and ice cream make it easier to fit sweets into your meal plan. These treats are usually sweetened with low-calories sweeteners which don't contribute calories or carbohydrates, but might be combined with other ingredients that do. Check the Nutrition Facts Panel to be sure.
Feel Free. You can enjoy "free" foods that contain less than 20 calories per serving such as sugar-free flavoured JELL-O gelatin, diet soft drinks, sugar-free gum and low-calorie sweeteners more often. You also may include up to three servings a day of foods such as low-fat or fat-free whipped topping (2 tablespoons), low-sugar or light jam or jelly (1 – 2 tablespoons), sugar free pancake syrup (1 – 2 tablespoons), or sugar-free hard candy (2 – 3 pieces). But spread them out throughout the day so they don't raise your blood glucose.