Whether you have diabetes or care about someone who does, Valentine’s Day is a wonderful time to celebrate true love. It doesn’t mean you have to hit the candy isle full of sugary treats to enjoy on this day. Consider these healthy, alluring Valentine diabetes treats instead.
People with diabetes need to be careful about their intake of sugary food and beverages that will make their blood sugar levels spike. Valentine’s Day is a holiday that can be a challenge for people with diabetes and their loved ones. Fortunately, there are many options for healthy diabetes treats other than the usual sugar-laden boxes of candy and pure sugar hearts often associated with Valentine’s Day.
Healthier Home Baked Diabetes Treats
Home-baked goodies can be a great choice when they include the right ingredients. Using white sugar, honey, agave or brown sugar are not recommended since they will make your blood sugars rise rapidly. Use sugar substitutes including Splenda or Stevia instead. There are cookbooks devoted to these sugar substitutes with lots of wonderful and easy baking ideas. Check on line at the Splenda or Stevia homepage for baking recipes. Substitute sugar free apple sauce or mashed bananas to sweeten desserts without sugar. Beyond different types of sugar, refined carbohydrates should be replaced with healthier choices. Avoid white flour which enters the blood stream quickly raising blood sugar levels and contains no fiber or nutrients. Whole-grain options are better. Consider almond flour or whole wheat flour for recipes or at least substitute half the recipe with these flours. Maple syrup and corn syrup are also sugary culprits to keep out of your Valentine Day recipes. Substitute sugar-free flavored syrups for a sweet taste. Use vanilla, coconut or almond extract with a dash of nutmeg or cinnamon for added sweetness.
Store Baskets and Treats
For those who like to send food gifts for Valentine’s Day, consider a basket of fresh fruit. Dried fruit and fruit coated in chocolate should be a small part of the basket with fresh strawberries, grapes and melon surrounding them. Consider a fancy basket filled with fruit and nuts. This Valentine diabetes treat is full of healthy fiber, good fats and protein. Low-sugar and sugar-free chocolates are another mouth-watering option. Pure dark chocolate over 70% cocoa often has low sugar content and can be a heart-healthy choice for people with diabetes in small amounts. Serve it with 4 ounces of dry red wine to create a romantic treat that is guilt-free. Consider sending red or pink roses which are always a hit or a green plant which will last way beyond Valentine’s Day.
Non Food Options
While Valentine’s Day is often associated with decadent foods, there are other fabulous diabetes treats for people with diabetes. Consider a cook book with diabetes-friendly recipes. A designer clothing item or accessory is always fun for someone who is fashion-forward. Jewelry is a special treat on Valentines Day. You can also plan a wonderful vacation to help someone with diabetes reduce stress and have fun. Even a movie and quick bite will be appreciated for this day of celebration. Helping out in the house is a welcome treat anytime.
Remember the true meaning of Valentine’s Day is to spend time with people you care about. Physical activities are good for the heart and everyone has a great time. Consider bowling or going for a swim at a luxurious hotel pool for the day. Spend the afternoon walking or riding your bike around a local park. Put the focus on doing something active rather than sitting around eating sweets. Take an exercise, yoga or Pilate’s class together.
Dinner at Home
Prepare a heart-healthy dinner to celebrate the day. After all, it’s all about hearts on Valentine’s Day and people with diabetes often have cardiovascular concerns. Serve a green leafy salad with calorie free dressing or oil and vinegar to start the meal. Then serve a dinner that includes broiled salmon with heart-healthy omega-3s, steamed green beans with almond slivers and quinoa or brown rice tossed with olive oil, garlic and fresh basil. End dinner with a fancy dessert baked with Splenda. Dip 2 strawberries in dark chocolate melted in the microwave. Have a decaf cappuccino with 2 % milk or fat free creamer.
Valentine Day Parties
If you go to a Valentine party, sugary candies, cookies, and cakes could be part of the celebration. Remember the rule of one taste. You can try a bite of chocolate, a cookie or a bite of cake. This helps to satisfy your cravings without leading to blood sugar surges. Bring a diabetes snack to the gathering to help you resist temptation. Don’t come hungry to the party. Consult with your dietitian or a diabetes nurse educator to discuss ways to enjoy Valentine’s Day treats without making your blood sugar elevate.
Valentine’s Day can be a time of temptation for people with diabetes or a reason to creatively celebrate the people you love. Focus on heart-healthy activities and foods to make the day a success. You’ll have peace of mind about your blood sugar levels and create wonderful memories!