Valentine’s Day can be a time of temptation for people with diabetes. Sweet treats seem to be everywhere and overindulgence can lead to blood sugar fluctuations. Consider a few healthy tips and recipes to make this Valentine’s Day the sweetest one ever.
- From convenience marts to department stores, there are a variety of colorful Valentine’s Day goodies to avoid. Talk to your loved ones and let them know they should not buy candy or other sugary foods as gifts for you. Explain your need to minimize your intake of such items to avoid blood sugar fluctuations. Let them know there are fantastic sugar-free options such as sugar-free candy and sugar-free cookies. Suggest other gift ideas that do not involve food such as flowers, jewelry and gift certificates.
- If you have kids with diabetes, help give out diabetes-friendly Valentines with small toys or pencils rather than candy. Talk to your child’s teacher about having candy in the classroom. Discuss what to do about candy with your child who has diabetes type 1. Give your child sugar-free candies or healthy snacks such as trail mix to eat while the other kids are having regular candy.
- Keep in mind the real reason for celebrating Valentine’s Day. Focus on sharing time and love with the people you care about rather than food. Plan a day that does not include food such as ice skating or going to a movie. Consider the rule of one. If there is a platter of candy and cookies have just one to satisfy your cravings. Make sure to test your blood sugar throughout the day.
- Plan a meal for the people you love that is home cooked. This gives you greater control over the level of sugar and carbohydrates in the food you serve. Read nutritional labels carefully. Show everyone how healthy food can be tasty. Serve steamed vegetables, lean meat or fish and whole grains such as whole wheat pasta or multi-grain bread. Add low-fat cheese for a dash of flavor. Consider a simple and flavorful meal such as broiled chicken topped with onions and a dash of red paprika served with whole grain rice. Fresh fruit is always a perfect dessert. Try baked apples with a dash of cinnamon for a taste sensation.
- Use moderation when drinking alcohol since it is empty calories. Women with diabetes can have no more than 1 drink per day and men may have up to 2 drinks. One drink refers to 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1 ½ ounces of distilled spirits such as gin or vodka. Drink alcohol with the meal. Consider beverages such as a white wine spritzer or light beer to reduce calories. Mix distilled spirits with water, seltzer or diet soda rather than sweet mixers and sodas.
Instead of unwinding with a sweet after dinner drink make a delicious cup of black chai tea to top off a relaxing Valentine’s Day evening. Flavor it with a dash of ginger, cardamom and vanilla. If you want a low-calorie, decadent dessert without all the guilt, try this delicious vanilla custard:
Valentine Vanilla Custard
- 1 quart 1% or 2% milk
- 6 eggs
- 3 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 cup of Equal Spoonful or 25 packets of Equal
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Sliced strawberries
Boil the milk in a saucepan and let it cool for 5 minutes. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs, salt, vanilla and Equal then beat into the hot milk. Pour into a 1 ½ quart glass casserole dish and place on a roasting pan with an inch of hot water. Bake in a 325 degree oven for an hour. Cool on a wire rack and refrigerate for a few hours. Top with sliced strawberries for a festive Valentine’s Day treat.
Instead of making food the focus on Valentine’s Day, celebrate the love and good times you have with people. Try sugar-free snacks and make your own tasty food rather than facing temptation. Establish healthy Valentine’s Day traditions such as spending time outdoors or cuddling by a cozy fire.
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