Many people think that dessert is “off the table” if you have diabetes, but that is not necessarily true. Here’s some information about how and when to enjoy dessert and still keep your blood sugar in range.
#1 Plan for it. If having dessert is important to you, you’ll need to do a little planning. Recent studies have shown that the total carbohydrate count of a meal affects blood sugar more than the type of carbohydrate eaten.* So if you’re keeping the total carbohydrate count for a given meal (including the carbs in your dessert) within your carbohydrate budget, you’re doing what you need to do to keep your blood sugar in range. For more information about about counting carbs and using a carb budget, watch this video.
#2 Make it an occasional treat. It is important to recognize, though, that desserts don’t offer the same nutritional value as many complex carbohydrates (like whole grains or certain vegetables) even if the carbohydrate count is the same. That’s why it’s better to make dessert an occasional treat rather than a daily one.
#3 Deprivation doesn’t work. The healthiest dessert for anyone to enjoy is fresh fruit, but there are times when you just want to indulge and have a piece of cake, pie or a cookie. Most diabetes educators agree that depriving yourself is not realistic, so it’s good to have a plan for incorporating treats into your diet every so often. To do so, you just need to plan ahead– watch the portion size of your dessert and carefully count all of the carbohydrates for that meal to make sure that it stays within your carb budget.
#4 Check the food label. Check the food label or nutrition information for your dessert choice and remember that it’s the total amount of carbohydrates that counts, not just the amount of sugar. Sweets generally have a large amount of carbohydrates per serving and high calories too, so you need to eat smaller portions. If you’re dining out, try splitting a dessert with a friend.
#5 Indulge healthfully. A great way to enjoy dessert after a meal is to have something that includes protein and fiber. A bowl of berries topped with a little yogurt and a crunchy topping (like chopped pecans or walnuts) is a simple and delicious way to satisfy your sweet tooth and get some great nutrients and vitamins too! You can also buy or make desserts that are sugar-free, but be careful because they don’t necessarily have fewer calories and may have more carbohydrates than you realize. Be sure to read the label and look at the portion size.
#6 Do some research. There are many cookbooks that offer ideas for desserts that anyone with Type 2 Diabetes can make and enjoy. Here are a few websites with some great suggestions– Cooking Light, WebMd, Healthline.
Now we want to hear from you… how do you manage your food plan to include an occasional dessert? Please share some of your favorite dessert ideas and recipes!