People with diabetes need to maintain healthy blood glucose levels to avoid further complications. It can be a challenge to reduce your sugar intake especially when you have cravings. You can use any flavored extract to replace a bit of sweetness in all your favorite recipes. Fortunately, there are plenty of tasty sweet fix without added sugar.
Natural Flavorings in Moderation
Unsweetened foods often taste bland especially for people who were recently diagnosed with diabetes and are trying to modify their diets. Small amounts of natural flavorings can add taste to unsweetened foods. Try a dash of vanilla extract in your morning coffee with a splash of low-fat milk. Another option is a few drops of almond extract in a cup of hot tea with skim milk.
Coconut as a Sweet Fix and a Source of Fiber
Coconut flour can be added to meals to boost the fiber content and studies have shown it may help promote healthy blood glucose levels. The right types of dietary fiber can slow the absorption of sugars and carbohydrates from foods. A small serving of unsweetened coconut flakes or shredded fresh coconut goes a long way as a garnish. It can be used to sweeten up foods naturally including topping off fresh fruit salad or meats such as baked or grilled chicken. Coconut can be high in fat so use it in moderation.
Caramelized Garlic and Onions
Aromatic garlic and onions have been revered around the world for tasty and healthy cooking. Since ancient times, people have used them to create culinary delights with plenty of flavor. They are both powerful antioxidants that can reduce inflammation and stimulate the immune system. Studies have shown regular consumption of garlic can help reduce the risk of heart disease and cholesterol levels. Bring out the natural sweetness of an onion by caramelizing it with garlic. Simply slice up an onion and a clove of garlic and simmer them in a pan with a half a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil for a sweet fix and savory treat. Sauté until they turn a deep caramel color.
Delightful Dried Fruit
Dried fruit is concentrated and higher in sugar than fresh fruit which makes it taste sweeter. People with diabetes can eat dried fruits in small portions and count them as a carbohydrate. Try adding a handful of raisins and dried cranberries to your cereal. Eat 2 dried prunes to add fiber to your morning meal. Add a few dried apricots to your breakfast oatmeal with a handful of slivered almonds for a filling and healthy meal. Dried fruit is portable and shelf stable so it can be kept on hand for an extended period unlike fresh fruit. Make your own trail mix with dried pineapple, unsweetened coconut flakes, dried peaches and add pecans, walnuts and pistachios for a healthy treat which will supply you with energy.
Fabulous Fresh Berries
Fresh fruits are a wonderful way to add sweetness without guilt to your daily diet. They have vitamins, minerals and fiber plus they are low on the glycemic index. They are portable so they make great snacks. Fruit is a perfect dessert after a filling meal. Fresh berries contain antioxidants to reduce inflammation and boost your immune system. Try raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, and strawberries. One serving of fresh berries is about 3/4 to 1 cup. Top them off with a teaspoon of homemade whipped cream made with sugar substitute and vanilla extract.
Mouthwatering Baked Apples with Diet Soda
Baked apples made with diet soda are a delightful dessert to help you combat your cravings for something sweet. Core four medium apples and put them in a sprayed casserole dish. Top them off with a 12-ounce can of diet black cherry or black raspberry soda, a dash of cinnamon, vanilla extract and a packet of sugar substitute. Bake them in the oven at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes or until the apples are tender.
Sensational Cinnamon and Nutmeg
Beyond their pleasing scent, cinnamon and nutmeg add a sweet fix and spicy flavor to a variety of dishes. A recent study states “eating a half teaspoon of cinnamon daily can help lower blood sugar and reduce cholesterol levels”. Nutmeg can help minimize insomnia, reduce anxiety, and aid in digestion. Both are ideal in beverages, cereals and sprinkled on fruit. Toast a piece of whole grain bread, add Smart Balance and sprinkle it with cinnamon for a sweet fix treat.
Grilled Pineapple Slices
Fresh pineapple is a better choice for people with diabetes than canned pineapple which is typically packed in sugary juices. Try a sweet fix snack such as grilled pineapple slices. Peel and core a pineapple then cut it into slices. Melt 2 tablespoons of buttery spread in a small saucepan with a packet of sugar substitute. Coat the grill with cooking spray and set it to medium heat. Put the pineapple slices on the grill and baste with the sweetened melted butter until they are golden brown and ready to serve.
Low Carbohydrate Sauces and Dressings
Serve salads and fruits with low carbohydrate sauces and dressings from Walden Farms. These dressings and sauces contain low or no carbohydrates and are sugar-free with low or no calories. They add tons of flavor to salads, fruit cups and meats without making your blood glucose rise.
Sugar-Free Chocolate Pudding and Jell-O
Sugar-free chocolate pudding has a luxurious texture and flavor to help curb your cravings for a sweet snack. Always check the label to determine how many carbohydrates are in the pudding. Look for low-fat or nonfat puddings. Soy or rice based puddings are good for people who are lactose intolerant. Keep a pudding handy to help you stay away from sugar-laden desserts. Sugar free Jell-O is counted as a free food and comes in flavors such as cherry, strawberry or raspberry for a sweet fix, guilt free treat.
With all these options, it is easy for people with diabetes to stay away from sugary, fattening foods. Keep these flavorful fixes on-hand to curb cravings and satisfy your sweet tooth. Who knew going sugar-free could be so sweet?!
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