Turkey tends to take center stage during the holidays, but let’s face it—this time of year is all about the sweets. From pumpkin pie and gingerbread to candy canes and eggnog, every celebration is packed with an endless spread of carb-loaded deliciousness.
If you have diabetes, it can be hard to watch other party goers enjoy their fill of Christmas cookies while you much away on crudité. However, in recognition of both National Diabetes Month in the U.S. and Diabetes Awareness Month in Canada this November, we’ve lined up five can’t-resist dessert recipes that will tantalize your sweet tooth without sending your blood sugar sky-high:
French macaroons with their airy, yet perfectly chewy, meringue cookies and decadent filling are the perfect way to end a heavy meal on a lighter note. This diabetes-friendly version lowers the carb content but ups the excitement with a festive spin on your favorite sandwich flavors.
When you’re searching for that perfect dessert to bring for Thanksgiving dinner, why not choose one that combines three holiday staples—pumpkin pie, pecan pie and cheesecake—into one mouthwatering showstopper? Both creamy and crunchy, this layered dish fills all your seasonal cravings with each delicious bite.
Instead of being lost in a heavy crust high in carbohydrates, the gooey fruit and honey filling of Diabetes Canada’s apple tart is surrounded by light, flaky phyllo dough. Brush on a little apricot jam after baking and toss on some slivered almonds for an elegant dessert that looks—and tastes—like it came from a gourmet baker.
It’s not truly Christmas in the Midwest until the peanut butter buckeyes show up. If sugar is off limits, reach for their more sophisticated candy cousin instead this holiday. While the nutty center and dark chocolate coating combo is perfect on its own, you can add a powerful protein punch by topping your truffles with chopped almonds or pistachios.
The sweet aroma and spicy crunch of gingerbread cookies are what Christmas memories are made of. Unfortunately, diabetes has left those memories in the past—until now. By adding an unexpected dash of cocoa powder to the traditional molasses-and-cinnamon gingerbread recipe and lowering the sugar content, you can create a cookie that will become a new holiday tradition in your house!
Keeping your blood sugar in check during the holidays
In order to enjoy these sweet treats, it’s important to pay attention to what you pile on your plate during dinner. Overindulging in high-carbohydrate foods, like stuffing and fried appetizers, and sugary drinks means you should avoid dessert in order to maintain your blood sugar. Other ways to stay healthy during the holidays include:
- Choose protein over carbs – Holiday appetizers and snacks, like roasted nuts, veggies and hummus, and shrimp, are much better options at cocktail parties than stuffed pastries and fried cheese.
- Go for a walk – After a heavy meal, take a few minutes to get outside and enjoy the winter air. The Cleveland Clinic recommends you should dedicate 10-15 minutes at least three times a day to exercise.
- Watch your alcohol – Women with diabetes should have no more than one drink a day, and men no more than two. Choose red wine or a light beer over sugary Sangria, eggnog or cocktails.
- Stay on schedule – If you can, try to eat on your regular schedule—overeating at lunch may cause you to skip your evening meal. Be sure to check your blood sugar frequently throughout the day as well.
Just because you have to watch your sugar doesn’t mean you need to miss out on the best things about holiday dinner. By making smarter choices and monitoring your glucose levels, you can stay healthy and happy all season long!