As you know, diabetics need to take special care in keeping their blood sugar levels within a normal range, and for this reason, dessert-type offerings high in simple sugars are among the most common foods that diabetics should not consume.
This is no fun if you have a sweet tooth, but don’t fret! You’ll be happy to learn that you need not keep sweet treats out of your diet entirely if you have diabetes. Follow these six basic guidelines for preparing or buying diabetic-friendly sweets and you can stay healthy without feeling excluded on occasions where others indulge in delicious after-dinner fare.
1. Eliminate A Carbohydrate From An Earlier Meal
Because carbohydrates greatly affect your blood sugar levels, you never want to add a sugar-rich dessert to your daily meal plan without adjusting other foods that you consume. If you wish to make room for a special treat, plan accordingly by substituting the dessert for a serving of bread, cereal, potatoes, rice or another carbohydrate-rich food.
Track your blood sugar and carbohydrate consumption regularly so that you will know when and how to integrate a dessert into your diet.
2. Make Desserts With Artificial Sweeteners
As a person with diabetes, you also have the option of eating desserts made with artificial sweeteners or sugar substitutes that do not affect your blood sugar levels. Calorie- and carbohydrate-free, these sweeteners are ideal for giving recipes a sugary taste and moderate amounts go a long way in flavoring desserts.
Try an artificial sweetener recommended by your doctor or dietician for a healthier way to enhance bowls of fruit, baked goods, homemade ice cream, and other treats.
3. Consider Natural Sweeteners Without Sugar
Artificial sweeteners are not the only sugar alternative you can use as a diabetic who does not want to experience a spike in blood sugar levels. If you prefer natural sweeteners for your desserts, then try the plant-based Stevia, which is a great deal sweeter than sugar and very low in calories.
Experiment with sugar alcohols, as well. These have a healthier carbohydrate profile than regular sugar. Xylitol, erythritol, glycerol and sorbitol are examples of sugar alcohols.
4. Opt For Fruit-based Desserts
Use fruit as the basis for your desserts when you want something sweet that fits in perfectly with a diabetes-friendly diet plan. Raw, unprocessed fruit is a great choice because it is naturally lower in fat and carbohydrates while still offering the sugary taste to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Prepare flavorful treats such as baked pears, broiled grapefruit, fruit salad with cut-up pieces of melon and pineapple, warm applesauce and homemade berry-based smoothies, sherbet and frozen yogurt.
5. Keep Servings Small
When you are craving a sugar-based dessert, you may initially be tempted to serve yourself a sizable portion, but you can best manage your diabetes by sticking to recommended serving sizes.
Read recipes and food labels carefully when making or buying desserts, because your blood sugar is much more likely to stay balanced if you eat one measured serving rather than two or three. Try not to “eyeball” portions of sugary treats unless you are familiar with the exact size of an individual serving.
6. Remember To Practice Moderation
Even people who are not diabetic should take care to enjoy desserts that are high in fat, sugar or calories on a moderate basis to prevent health complications from weight gain and poor nutrition.
If you are dealing with diabetes as an added issue, then moderation is even more important to consider when choosing desserts to eat.
Refrain from consuming multiple sugary desserts each day, opt for treats that offer the best nutritional value possible, reserve highly decadent concoctions for very special occasions only, and as always, talk to your doctor about the best sweet treats to enjoy with your condition.