Q. Glen, I am Diabetic! What can I have for a treat?
A. Here are the 10 Best Treats for People with Diabetes
Diabetes is not caused by eating sugar, and if you have diabetes it doesn't mean that you can never eat sugar again. I'm always a bit saddened when I hear a person with diabetes say, "Oh, I can't eat that. I have diabetes," or "I can't eat that, it has sugar."
The American Diabetes Association's recommendation for sugar is short and sweet: People with diabetes can eat sugar as long as it's integrated into a healthy eating program.
Sugar is carbohydrate. And like all carbohydrate, sugar has four calories per gram. Added sugar in packaged foods comes in many different forms: white sugar (sucrose), brown sugar; fructose (fruit sugar), lactose (milk sugar), dextrose, maltose, honey and even fruit-juice concentrate are all used to sweeten foods.
All forms of sugar are metabolized, or broken down, to their most essential component, glucose, and used for energy by the cells. If you eat too much sugar, or any form of carbohydrate for that matter, you'll store the excess calories as fat.
All people with diabetes need to watch their carbohydrate grams, especially when they need to take insulin to manage their blood sugars. People with diabetes can indulge in a sugary treat just like the rest of us -- not every day, but occasionally. Since artificially sweetened treats have fewer grams of carbohydrate, they can be enjoyed more frequently.
Fruit, the ultimate natural sweet treat, should be part of a healthy meal plan. If you have diabetes, review your meal plan with your diabetes educator, physician or registered dietitian and plan for a sweet snack. Combine snacking with good nutrition and exercise and stay healthy.
1. Fruit: One of the best sweet treats invented! Fruit is fine for people with diabetes. In fact, the ADA recommends two to three servings daily, depending upon your calorie needs. Some "superfruit" (extra high in antioxidants and vitamins) include all berries (especially blueberries), cantaloupe, kiwi, mango and citrus. Whole fruit is a fine source of fiber, which is important to decrease risk for stroke and heart disease.
2. Yogurt: Nonfat, sugar-free yogurt makes a tasty snack or dessert. Enjoy it right out of the container for a snack or as a dip with vegetables. For dessert, serve peach-flavored sugar-free yogurt drizzled on grapefruit and orange sections.
3. Frozen Fruit Slush: Try this recipe from the National Cancer Institute's Eat 5 to 9 a Day program. Makes four servings.
Using a blender, process the following:
3 cups frozen fruit (such as frozen strawberries, blueberries, raspberries or melon)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup fat-free milk or nonfat plain yogurt
Sweeten to taste. One packet of sweetener equals about 2 teaspoons of sugar.
4. Sugar-Free Hot Chocolate: Choose calcium-fortified, sugar-free hot chocolate and satisfy your sweet tooth with the added bonus of the bone-strengthening mineral. Read the label: calories range from 25 per serving to 60; some contain zero trans-fat and others contain one to two grams. Some hot-chocolate mixes are sweetened with NutraSweet and others with Splenda. As for carbs, some have three grams or less; others contain more.
5. Angel Food Cake: This fat-free cake is nutritious served topped with a one-half cup of sliced, fresh strawberries and a dollop of sugar-free nondairy topping. A small piece counts as one serving of bread plus a half serving of fruit.6. Jell-O: Prepare sugar-free Jell-O in advance. Store covered in the refrigerator. Eat all you want without worry. Jell-O doesn't have calories or carbohydrates. Mix with fruit cocktail for a special treat. A half cup of fruit cocktail packed in water (not syrup) counts as one serving of fruit.
7. Hard Candies: Sugar-free hard candies are a personal favorite of mine. I often hanker for a sweet after meals, and sugar-free candies (usually sweetened with sorbital) have about 35 to 50 calories per three to four pieces.
8. Ice Cream: Your local grocery store stocks a wide variety of sugar-free, fat-free ice cream, ice milk and frozen yogurt. Read the labels and choose your favorite sugar-free and fat-free version for the fewest number of calories per serving. I usually opt for portion-controlled fudge pops or frozen fruit bars, also available in sugar-free and fat-free versions.
9. Frozen Fresh Fruit: Wrap small, ripe bananas in plastic. Freeze, then peel and eat like a frozen fruit bar (one per serving). Seedless grapes are wonderful frozen treats (12 to 15 grapes count as one serving of fruit).
10. Chocolate: Sometimes you just want a taste of the "real thing." Dark chocolate, with more antioxidants and less saturated fat, is the best. Hershey's, among other manufacturers, offers dark chocolate in both sugar-free and regular varieties with only a 40-calorie difference per serving. Both have the same amount of fat and cholesterol; sugar-free has 170 calories and zero grams of sugar per serving vs. 210 and 20 grams of sugar for the regular. The fine print on the label tells consumers that sugar-free chocolate is not calorie-free, and that the sweetener in sugar-free chocolate, lactitol, can have a laxative effect when eaten in excess
Reference: Susan Burke March MS, RD, LD/N, CDE
Any personal health questions or problems mental or physical or before starting any diet or exercise program. Please consult your physician !
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Yours in good health