Easter Sunday is right around the corner, which may mean wondering what to eat when you have diabetes. If the traditional meal includes a glazed ham and a basket full of chocolates, consider preparing the meal yourself. Everyone is sure to enjoy the tasty Easter dinner you make and it won’t cause your blood sugar to spike.

Tasty Easter Dinner Lean Meats and Ham

While ham is often on the Easter menu, it doesn’t have to be. Try a new dish, such as a turkey breast seasoned with rosemary and sage or lean beef tenderloin with freshly sliced mushrooms and onions. If you make turkey, remove the skin and season it with fresh rosemary and sage before you bake it. Beef should have all the fat trimmed away before you grill, broil, braise or roast it. Always look for grass fed beef when possible. Simmer the onions and mushrooms in olive oil with a dash of powdered garlic then top off the tenderloin with this savory mix. Though a glazed ham is a poor choice, you can prepare a fresh ham as a tasty Easter dinner instead. A fresh ham made with garlic, lemon and pepper instead of a sweet sauce or glaze has no carbohydrates. Top a plain ham with thinly sliced, fresh pineapple rings or canned peaches in no syrup for flavor before you bake it. Nobody will even know these are diabetes-friendly dishes!

Appealing Appetizers and Fresh Vegetables

Celebrate spring by serving plenty of fresh vegetables. Put out a veggie tray before dinner with carrot and celery sticks, cherry tomatoes, broccoli, and cauliflower. Serve them with fat-free, sugar-free dressings for dipping. Make hummus spread from garbanzo beans and olive oil. Another great appetizer with plenty of protein is hard-boiled eggs. Put out decorated hard-boiled eggs and a couple of egg slicers for everyone to make their own. Add a small bowl of fat-free mayonnaise for dipping. Roast root vegetables such as carrots and parsnips in the oven for a rich flavor. Try a mix of French cut green beans with slivered almonds and pearl onions with a dash of olive oil. Cook asparagus or watercress in a steamer to serve as an additional carbohydrate-free side dish. A small serving of purple or red baby potatoes will round out this delicious meal.

Whole Grains are Rock Stars

Add whole grains to the Easter dinner menu to make the meal complete. Put out whole grain crackers including Wasa crackers with the hard-boiled eggs or hummus for everyone to make mini-sandwiches as appetizers. Make a side dish that is sure to spice up the meal. Try brown rice with finely chopped red peppers for a dash of color and flavor. A bowl of quinoa with olive oil, garlic and basil is sure to win over the crowd. Serve whole wheat angel hair pasta tossed with olive oil and sun-dried tomatoes.

Where are the Easter Cocktails?

People with diabetes can have alcohol in moderation on holidays. This means one drink for women and two for men. Red wine spritzers made with diet lemon-lime soda are a good choice. Some studies have shown red wine in moderation can be good for the heart. Mix one shot of vodka with diet tonic and a fresh slice of lemon or lime for a fresh taste. Include plenty of non-alcoholic beverages for variety such as diet soda, sparkling calorie free flavored water and non-sweetened ice tea.

Don’t Forget Dessert

There are guilt-free desserts you can serve after preparing a tasty Easter dinner with diabetes. Get a bunny mold to make sugar-free Jell-O in your favorite flavor. Top it off with a small dollop of homemade whipped cream made with Stevia or Splenda. Serve sugar-free chocolate or vanilla pudding in fancy cups topped off with fresh raspberries. Put out a tray of assorted sugar-free cookies. Make coffee and tea and serve with sugar-free sweeteners on the side and low-fat milk. A fresh fruit salad is always satisfying after a holiday dinner. Add almond slivers and walnuts to help blunt the blood sugar response to fruit.

What about Kids with Diabetes on Easter?

The person at the table with diabetes on Easter may be a child. There are still ways to celebrate Easter without blood sugar spikes. Focus on an active Easter egg hunt to get the kids moving rather than snacking. Fill the plastic eggs with money, sugar-free candy, gift cards and small gifts rather than chocolates. Even sugar-free candies may contain a high level of carbohydrates and calories so watch portion size. Add a special dark chocolate bunny with a cocoa count of 70% or higher as another treat. Keep the candy amount the same in all the Easter baskets so nobody feels left out. The kids are sure to enjoy receiving toys and holiday-inspired items too!

Preparing a tasty Easter dinner with diabetes can be easier than you think. Choose healthy, festive options everyone will love. The meal will be perfect and no one there will realize everything was diabetes-friendly!