Smart and Creative Desserts for Diabetics
If you love to reward yourself at the end of the meal with something sweet, you don't have to deny yourself the pleasure. By carefully calculating your carbohydrate intake, you can eat dessert, says Adee Rasabi, registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator at New York-Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical Center.
"A sweet treat can be worked into your meal plan on a special occasion," she says. "The key is the total amount of carbohydrates that you are eating. You should stick with 45 to 60 grams of carbohydrate for a meal and 15 to 30 grams for a snack." In other words, if you're planning on spending 15 carb grams on a dessert, cut out an equal number of carbs from the main meal. Say you are having a sandwich. Switch out the sandwich bread for a low-carb bread, Rasabi advises, so you won't be overdoing it with carbohydrates. Or split a dessert with a friend so you won't consume too much. Always read the nutrition facts label on a packaged dessert, noting the total grams of carbohydrates per serving.
Tune into what you really crave, suggests Zippora Karz, diabetes educator and motivational speaker. "Fruit is really sweet and can be turned into wonderful desserts," she says. "Some people like the emotional satisfaction of crunching on something. Others like cold and sweet. Figure out your need, and find the healthiest alternative to it."
Here, some ideas for creative desserts guaranteed to satisfy even the most wicked sweet tooth.
● Freeze a banana until semi firm, then put it in a blender with a little almond milk until it is soft and creamy, suggest Zippora Karz. It'll taste a lot like ice cream.
● Try a baked apple, using a medium baked apple. Hollow out the core and fill the opening with a few chopped pecans and raisins. Sprinkle with cinnamon and then bake until soft, says Rasabi.
● Make a fruit pizza, says Rasabi. Spread a graham cracker with a layer of non-fat plain yogurt and top with ½ cup sliced seasonal fresh fruit.
● For a fruit parfait, says Rasabi, layer ½ cup nonfat yogurt, ¼ cup fresh fruit, ¼ cup unsweetened high fiber cereal of your choice (like bran flakes), and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of nuts.
● Freeze a cup of grapes or mango chunks. They are refreshing to eat on a hot summer day, and they take longer to eat than when they are unfrozen, so you can stretch out your dessert.
● For chocolate lovers, prepared a warming hot chocolate with 1 cup sugar-free hot chocolate made from a mix, ¼ cup lowfat milk, and 2 tablespoons of nonfat whipped cream. Sprinkle with cinnamon.
● Another chocolate lover's favorite: 1 cup lowfat chocolate milk paired with 5 small vanilla wafers.
● Rasabi's patients love her "dirt pie." Here's how to make it: Spoon an individual container of prepared sugar-free chocolate pudding into a serving bowl and top it with 1 tablespoon of sugar-free whipped topping. Crumble a reduced-fat chocolate sandwich cookie on top.
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