With the holiday season right around the corner, alluring treats are lurking around every corner. In the face of such temptation, it can be hard to stick to your diabetes self-management program. A few simple baking tips make it easier to enjoy the holiday season without going overboard.
- Bake your own treats to bring to the office or holiday parties. Having healthier alternatives makes it simple to avoid sugary treats and fatty offerings. Take control of your eating habits to avoid fluctuating blood sugar levels, fatigue and weight gain during the holiday season.
- Steer clear of recipes using icing or frosting. Serve the cake or cookies plain or with a dusting of cinnamon or nutmeg instead. You can also top off sweet treats with a brown sugar substitute. Reduce the sugar in the recipe by one quarter to cut carbohydrates and lower your sugar intake. These recipes are also excellent to bring to holiday parties because they have universal appeal.
- Using oil, including heart-healthy canola oil, increases the calorie and fat count. Instead of using oil, use an equivalent amount of unsweetened applesauce in baking recipes. Include healthier fats in baked goods such as wheat germ and walnuts.
- Replace white flour with healthier alternatives such as oats and whole wheat flour. Often half the recommended amount of white flour can be replaced with whole wheat flour or oats for a delightfully nutty flavor.
- Agave nectar is a popular sugar substitute because it is lower on the glycemic index than traditional sugar. Because it is so sweet, you use less agave nectar than sugar. Reduce your baking temperature by 25 degrees to avoid burnt baked goods.
- Cut out some of the fat by using unsweetened soymilk rather than regular milk in baking recipes. This also gives the recipe an additional boost of protein. Another way to reduce fat is using an egg substitute rather than eggs.
- Store baked goods properly when made with sugar substitutes, as they tend to grow stale more quickly. Sugar retains moisture and acts as a preservative in baked goods. Refrigerate or freeze baked goods that will not be consumed within 24 hours. Also, baked goods made with sugar substitutes do not rise as high and tend to have a pale color. They will not look or taste exactly like cookies or cakes made with sugar.
- Not all sugar substitutes can be used for baking. It is wise to read the label to ensure they are suitable to use in baked goods. Many of them tend to be sweeter and a lesser amount should be added to your baking recipes.
- Using a sugar substitute does not give you a license to eat more. It is still important to count carbohydrates and exercise in moderation to avoid weight gain. Baked goods with sugar substitutes are meant to aid in blood glucose control but the calories can still add up quickly.
A few basic baking tips can help you survive the holiday season. Read the labels of sugar substitutes carefully to ensure they are suitable for baking and how much to add to your recipe. Having these tasty treats on hand can help you avoid fluctuating blood sugar levels without losing out on holiday noshing.