A Diabetic Friendly Cookbook: You Can Have Your Cake and Eat It Too!

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All this adds up to an environment where people with diabetes "can have their cake and eat it, too," Smithson says, but balance, in the way of moderation, is the key. Whether through miniature pumpkin pies or smart recipe substitutions, dietitians can share these tips and strategies so clients can enjoy a holiday season with just the right amount of sweetness. Smart Planning, Simple Swaps Another way people with diabetes can enjoy some holiday treats without negative consequences is to plan ahead and eat less carb-heavy foods when they know they're going to have a sweet snack later in the day.

Cassandra Verdi, MPH, RD, associate director of nutrition and medical affairs for the American Diabetes Association says, "It's important to swap in sweets for other carbohydrate foods rather than just adding them to your meal plan in order to keep the amount of carbohydrate about the same at that meal or snack," she says. Or if a client desires some Christmas cookies, they should give up a carbohydrate elsewhere in the meal, Weisenberger says.

Carbohydrate overload

By having clients measure their blood glucose just before and about two hours after eating, they can learn how food, combinations of food, and quantities of food affect their individual blood glucose levels, Weisenberger says. One tip that Weisenberger says has helped her clients is to use their calendar to give them a visual marker of the sweets that will come across their path.

What should I eat?

Circle them on a calendar to see just how many opportunities are coming up, then decide in advance which of those events is really worth the indulgence. Practicing Mindfulness Making mindful decisions to avoid overindulging, according to Colberg, is a great strategy for diabetes clients. Another way clients can practice mindfulness is to focus on enjoying their favorite foods instead of sampling every cake, cookie, and pie offered, Massey says.

Or suggest clients not leave goodies sitting out or where they spend most of their time at home, Colberg adds. Workable Office Strategies To best navigate the office environment with its unexpected goodies, Colberg suggests clients avoid trouble areas whenever possible.

Weisenberger agrees. Challenge your colleagues to [have] a healthful work environment. And for those times they're in a pinch, encourage clients to keep healthful snacks at their desk, Verdi says. Exercise Combats Excess Calories According to Kimberlain, regular exercise also can help combat excess carb intake.

Maintaining a regular exercise program is important, and clients will feel better when they fit it in, she says. Kimberlain tells clients to make sure they get in a good workout on the day of a holiday party or event, even if it's just or minute brisk walks at intervals throughout the day. Start With Fruit Kimberlain also recommends clients choose fruit first when looking for a comforting holiday dessert. Not only is fruit lower in sugar, she says eating it for dessert can help clients reach the recommended two to four servings per day.

Weisenberger also recommends fruit-based desserts to diabetes clients and enjoys them herself. Clients can make another diabetes-friendly fruit dessert at home with the Yonanas machine, a small kitchen appliance that turns frozen fruits, and even veggies, into a dessert that tastes just like soft-serve ice cream no carbohydrate-rich milk, sugar, or cream necessary. What's Colberg's favorite fruit dessert? It's simple yet satisfying: "Fresh strawberries, blueberries, and other berries in a bowl with a dollop of whipped cream or Cool Whip on top," she says.

Reviewing Portion Sizes When it comes to portion sizes, Massey says smaller portions of anything—whether it's brownies, tarts, or cheesecake—can help diabetes patients balance carbohydrate intake. But because individually portioned desserts aren't always available, Smithson says it can be especially helpful for RDs to review common dessert carb counts with clients before the holiday rush begins. She offers the following examples of g carbohydrate dessert staples:.

For slightly higher-carb desserts, she offers clients the following list:. Verdi says clients can find a summary of serving sizes and carbohydrate gram estimations from Choose Your Foods — Food Lists for Diabetes , a publication by the American Diabetes Association and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Overall, any dessert that clients take only one bite or two of is more diabetes friendly, says Colberg, who tells patients to savor one to two bites slowly to experience the taste of any dessert, then skip the rest.

For more diabetes-friendly desserts and other dish ideas, Verdi recommends the American Diabetes Association's Recipes for Healthy Living website www. Choose Wisely, Then Savor Because there's no holiday vacation from diabetes itself, Smithson says the best strategy for clients to enjoy some of the season's sugar without negatively affecting their A1c is to stay focused on their meal plan and mindfully incorporate desserts.

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Clark says clinical experience and scientific research have highlighted the flaws in the one-diet-fits-all approach to controlling diabetes.

An individualized approach to eating is important, he adds, because different diabetics have different needs. Research conducted for the past 15 years has shown that there is no significant difference in blood sugar response to foods high in sugar or starch, as long as the total amount of carbohydrates is similar. The guidelines note that many things, including how a food is processed and whether it is cooked, can influence a food's effect on blood sugar.

The ADA once recommended a low-fat diet for diabetics , but that is no longer the case.

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While saturated fats , such as butter or other animal fats, should still be limited, studies have shown that diabetics can thrive on diets rich in monounsaturated fats. In the mid s, Abhimanyu Garg, MD, and colleagues from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas found that such a diet improved diabetes control, reduced cholesterol levels , and lowered triglycerides.

So we can now offer people a choice of either a high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet or one that is high in monounsatuated fats. Foods high in monounsaturated fats include most nuts, avocados, and olive, canola, and peanut oils.