When you have diabetes, special events like Valentine’s Day can leave you feeling a bit like an outsider. It just seems like everywhere you go people are exchanging chocolate and candy gifts. And if you take an outing to the store, you’re confronted by…you guessed it, more candy and chocolate treats!
As a diabetic you likely know that sugar and carbs are the thing that influences your blood sugar levels the most. If you’re motivated to keep your blood sugar levels under control, you’ll also know that eating too much sugar is not going to end well for you overall.
So what are you to do? Are you destined to feel like an outsider on occasions such as these? Or, are there ways you can still eat candy, sweets and treats guilt free?
Well, I’ve got some good news for you. You can still enjoy special events and keep your health on track too. Here are a few tips to help you do that.
1. Always Read the Labels
The surest way to avoid eating too much sugar is to make sure you read food labels.
Check the ingredients and try choosing items with the healthiest ingredients possible. Also, check the carbohydrate amount and calculate this into your daily or per meal intake to ensure you maintain good control.
2. Use Portion Control
Though sugar and carbs do influence blood sugar levels the most, this doesn’t mean you have to avoid sugar all the time.
You’re not suddenly going to keel over and die if you eat sugar in small portions. Eating one of your all time favorite candies, or indulging in a few mouthfuls of cake or dessert can sometimes help you enjoy social events without feeling like an outsider. Just don’t overdo it!
Make it small portions and savor every delicious mouthful.
3. Be Aware of the Many Types of Sugar
Many diabetics (and loved ones) think it’s just white sugar that causes an issue with blood sugar, but this isn’t the case.
Be aware that there are many different names for sugar. And natural sugars like honey, maple syrup, and molasses are all still forms of sugar, too.
4. Choose Dark Chocolate
When it comes to chocolate, dark chocolate is the best choice. The higher the cocoa content generally means the less the sugar content will be. Compared to milk chocolate, dark chocolate also contains antioxidants that have known health benefits.
Try investing in a small amount of expensive dark chocolate – focusing on quality, rather than quantity.
5. Select Sugar Free Candy and Treats
There are lots of different sugar free options available – chocolates, hard candies, jelly beans, jello, ice-cream, frozen yogurt – and for special occasions, these are a great choice.
They aren’t necessarily something you want to include all the time because artificial sweeteners have also been linked to increased weight gain and insulin resistance. But, in moderation they make special occasions like Valentine’s Day more enjoyable.
Studies show that stevia, Splenda, erythritol, or xylitol are safer options than other types of artificial sweeteners such as aspartame and saccharin.
6. Make Your Own Sweet Treats
Instead of buying candy, make your own at home so you know exactly what ingredients are going into your treats.
Try melting some good quality dark chocolate and coating some fresh strawberries and blueberries. And if you search online you can find ample inspiration for low carb sugar free diabetic friendly treats.
Special events like Valentine’s Day don’t mean missing out, they just mean making adjustments that suit you and your health needs.