When it comes to healthy holiday dessert recipes, sweet treats for diabetics must be balanced in terms of blood sugar control. Baking for diabetics means keeping an eye on sugars while still creating appetizing and amazing diabetic holiday treats.
Read on for some of the best sugar-free Christmas desserts!
How To Make & Select Healthy Treats With Diabetes
Simple holiday hacks can help diabetics navigate eating holiday sweets. The listed ingredients and tips are great for keeping blood sugar fluctuations low and the Christmas spirit high!
Nuts and Nut Butter
A small handful of nuts or a tablespoon or two of nut butter can make a big difference. Studies have shown that even just a handful (about 1/4 cup) of nuts each day may reduce the risk of heart disease.
Heart-healthy nuts and nut butters are a great addition to desserts like brownies, cookies, or protein bites. (See below for delicious ideas!)
In comparison to milk chocolate, dark chocolate has a higher percentage of cocoa. Cocoa beans have antioxidants and minerals that can increase the nutritional value of dark chocolate-containing desserts.
Diabetic-friendly dark chocolates generally have at least 70% cocoa or above. This means while it may taste more bitter, it helps keep carbohydrate counts down.
Fruits like blueberries are low on the glycemic index and high in nutritional value. Ripe bananas can add fiber, potassium, and other nutrients along with natural sugars.
Spices like cinnamon and nutmeg can make something taste sweeter without adding sugar. They are great for sprinkling on top of dishes like parfaits to make them taste a bit sweeter.
Insulin resistance can be affected not only by sugars but also by sugar alcohols. "Sugar-free", "reduced-fat", and "reduced-calorie" may be masking other carbohydrate-heavy ingredients that can adversely alter blood sugar levels. Be wary of sugar alcohols and use cautiously.
6 Low-Sugar Treats For Diabetics
There are many great holiday treats for diabetics, but here are three seasonal favorites. The following recipes bring holiday flair without being too high in sugar.
1. Low-Sugar Pumpkin Spice Latte
Whipped cream and toppings piled stories high can lead to too much sugar for diabetic diners. Keep the holiday spirit alive by ordering diabetic-friendly drink orders. Seek out low- or no-sugar options when possible, and be sure to look at the label to check for sneaky, hidden ingredients.
Likewise, make a low-sugar pumpkin spice latte at home, all filled with seasonal deliciousness! It can be prepared with only one teaspoon of desired sweetener, dairy-free, and in a quick 5 minutes.
Carb content: 13 grams per 1 latte (versus the 52 grams of carb in a grande-sized Starbucks' Pumpkin Spice Latte!)
2. Perfectly Spiced Pumpkin Pie
It is not just another pumpkin recipe... Pumpkin pie is the quintessential holiday dessert, and no Thanksgiving or holiday event is complete without it!
Vegan pumpkin pie can be made without any added sugar at all, as there is just 1/4 cup of maple syrup for the whole pie. Plus, almond flour adds protein that can help to balance blood sugar and keep one feeling full.
Carb content: 16 grams per 1 slice
3. Fudgy Chocolate Avocado Brownies
Get a brownie full of "healthy" fats and balanced carbohydrates with avocado brownies. While they are flourless, the entire batch contains 1 cup coconut sugar. Be sure to divide these into balanced portions to keep them diabetes-friendly.
Luckily, coconut sugar is lower on the glycemic index than refined sugar. This makes it a marginally better option for people with diabetes. The protein in the eggs and almond flour, plus the "healthy" fats in the avocado, help make this dessert filling and diabetes-friendly.
Carb content: 10 grams per 1 brownie
4. Chocolatey Peanut Butter Truffles
Truffles without the guilt and all the flavor? This is one treat you do not want to miss this holiday season. What's more, this truffle recipe is simple to prepare and makes 8 truffles to share!
• 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
• 1 tablespoon all-natural peanut or almond butter
• 1/4 cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt
• 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the chocolate chips in 15 to 20-second increments, stirring in between.
2. Stir in nut butter while still warm.
3. Gently fold in Greek yogurt then refrigerate for approximately 15 minutes, or until it starts to harden.
4. Scoop and form about 1 tablespoon of the chocolate into balls then roll into cocoa powder. You can also roll into other favorite toppings, including chopped peanuts, shredded coconut, and sprinkles.
Carb content: 11 grams per 1 truffle (makes about 8 truffles)
5. Chocolate Nut Clusters
Crunch on easy-to-make, homemade nut clusters this holiday season! Preparing these diabetic dessert snacks at home grants tighter ingredient control and modified portion sizes. There is also an endless ability to get creative with flavors.
The portioned clusters can help satisfy that sweet tooth without great worry of fluctuating blood sugar levels. They also contain healthy fat and protein most desserts lack!
• 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
• 1/2 cup of unsalted mixed nuts, including almonds, pecans, and peanuts
• 1/4 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened
• Optional: coarse sea salt to garnish
1. Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave in 15 to 20-second intervals, stirring in between.
2. Stir in nuts and coconut together.
3. Spoon about one tablespoon of mixture onto nonstick parchment paper and sprinkle with sea salt as desired.
4. Freeze until hardened and enjoy!
Carb content: 5 grams per 1 cluster (makes about 15 clusters)
6. Decadent Avocado Ice Cream
Cold ice cream might not be an immediate thought on a chilly night but. Avocado ice cream is naturally sweetened and even without any artificial sweeteners!
Make festive with a chocolate mint combo. Or, add other favorite mix-ins and toppings like chopped nuts, peanut butter, and fresh fruit.
Carb content: 15 grams per 1/2 cup serving (without mix-ins and toppings)
The Bottom Line On The Best Desserts For Diabetics
Many great low-sugar options are out there, but it is still important to look at the label to check ingredients. For those with diabetes, knowing how to navigate holiday sweets can make the season more enjoyable.
Whip up these diabetic-friendly desserts for a friend, family member, or loved one today!