Go-To Diabetes-Friendly Desserts

Woman having an healthy delicious breakfast at home with yogurt, cereals and fresh fruit, she is picking a blueberry

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Having diabetes doesn't mean you don't get to eat dessert. If you enjoy a sweet every now and again, you can learn how to work dessert into your diabetes meal plan. The guidelines and ideas below will help you find a delicious after-dinner treat that fits your diet and tastes.

How to Create a Diabetes-Friendly Dessert

It's not actually that difficult to create a dessert that meets nutritional guidelines—yet still tastes amazing.

The broadest guidelines for diabetes-friendly desserts: stick to low-carb and little to no added sugar. Then include whole grains, fruit such as berries or peaches, and even chocolate to up the healthy nutrient factor and extend digestion time, which will help keep blood sugar low. Low-fat dairy is also an excellent ingredient to include.

Avoid Temptation With These Tips

In addition to being relatively low-calorie and low-carb, the best diabetes-friendly desserts are also:

  • Quick and easy to prepare, which will keep you from reaching for an even quicker less-healthy option
  • Made in small batches, which will keep the leftovers small to avoid the temptation to overindulge
  • Varied, which will help to keep you from getting bored with your meal plan

Delicious Dessert Ideas

Need some ideas to get you started? Try dates stuffed with goat cheese and honey, honey ginger poached pears, or a cup of frozen Greek yogurt topped with mocha-dusted almonds. Also, try thinking outside the box to get stellar nutrition while satisfying a sweet tooth: baked coconut rice with pineapple can be a delicious dessert-like treat, as can strawberry sweet potato toasts.

Here are 10 more suggestions—all under 20 carbs—for diabetes-friendly desserts that fit the bill.

Sugar-Free Hot Chocolate

Dutch Hot Chocolate in a tea cup
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Especially when it's cold outside, a nice cup of hot chocolate can keep you warm as well as satisfy your sweet tooth. When pre-packaged, this low-sugar combo generally clocks in at about 100 calories and 17 grams of carbohydrate. Make it with fewer carbs yourself at home by combining powdered baking cocoa, ground cinnamon, and a teaspoon or two of sugar-free vanilla syrup, such as Torani.

Sugar-Free Gelatin Topped With Sugar-Free Whipped Cream

Red Jell-O gelatin topped with whipped cream
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Sugar-free gelatin topped with 2 tablespoons light or sugar-free whipped topping can be considered a "free dessert." It's especially fun to make a few different flavors of gelatin, cube them, and make colorful parfaits out of your gelatin and whipped topping.

Sugar-Free Pudding Topped With Sugar-Free Whipped Cream

Chocolate Pudding
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For only about 80 calories and 15 grams of carbohydrate, you can enjoy a dessert that's more decadent than gelatin. Sugar-free pudding comes in a variety of rich flavors such as dark chocolate and pistachio. Topped with sugar-free whipped topping it's a satisfying dessert option!

Fresh, Seasonal Fruit Dipped in Yogurt

Greek Yogurt and Fruit
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Thin yogurt slightly with 1 to 2 teaspoons of milk for a quick dip. You can skewer fruit for a fancy presentation, or serve fruit in a bowl with toothpicks for dipping. About 3/4 cup of fruit dipped in 2 ounces of fat-free yogurt will only be about 90 calories and 19 grams of carbohydrate.

Faux Ice Cream Sandwich

Strawberry Frozen Yogurt Bites with Graham Cracker Crust
 

Use two graham cracker squares as the "bread," and fill with 1/4 cup of light or sugar-free whipped topping. Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze. This "ice cream sandwich" will cost you around 80 calories and 10 carbs. 

Low-Carb Coconut Macaroons

Coconut macaroon
Claire Cohen

This easy recipe can be put together with only a few ingredients and is very quick to prepare. One cookie will provide 29 calories and only 3 grams of carbohydrates.

Angel Food Cake Topped With Sugar-Free Whipped Cream

Strawberry Shortcake
Leah Maroney

Try cutting angel food cake into bite-size pieces that you can pick up by hand and dip into the whipped topping. It makes this dessert more snack-like. One-twelfth of an angel food cake plus 2 tablespoons light or sugar-free whipped topping give about 90 calories and 30 grams of carbohydrate. 

Frozen Grapes and Frozen Banana Slices

Frozen grapes
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Sometimes the simplest ideas are the most delicious. Frozen grapes end up having a very slushy texture. You can freeze them in an air-tight container or sandwich bag. Bananas should be sliced and laid out flat on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper, then transferred to an airtight container once they're frozen. One small banana or 17 grapes will give you 60 calories and 15 grams of carbs.

Frozen Dessert-Flavored Yogurt

Frozen yogurt with berries
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Hack those dessert-flavored, sugar-free yogurts (such as cheesecake and key lime pie) by popping them in the freezer. You can find these yogurts for less than 100 calories and about 12 grams of carbs.

Grilled Fruit Topped with Sugar-Free Whipped Topping

Grilled Fresh Peaches
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Grilling intensifies the flavor of fruit. Try pears, peaches, or nectarine halves. You can grill them on an outdoor grill or inside on an electric grill or grill pan. Make sure to grease the grill first with non-stick cooking spray to avoid sticking. Top the hot fruit with 2 tablespoons light or sugar-free whipped topping. Two small grilled halves or one large half and whipped topping will be about 15 grams of carbs and 60 calories. 

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