9 No-Cook Sweet Treats for People With Diabetes

Whip Up a Carb-Controlled Bite Without Turning on the Stove

"I can't eat sweets" is the biggest misconception those newly diagnosed with diabetes have. Many times their loved ones believe the same. The truth is, you can enjoy a sweet treat—and it doesn't have to be a no-sugar added wafer or something the rest of the family won't enjoy.

The key to a diabetes-friendly dessert is the right balance of nutritious ingredients, picks that offer a bit of protein and fiber alongside natural sweetness in order to control blood sugar spikes. The flavor combinations should be indulgent enough to leave you satisfied without the need for super-sized portion sizes. Finally, the recipes should be simple, something you can whip up on the spot when your sweet tooth acts up or make a batch of and keep on-hand for when a craving hits.


How to Make Dark Chocolate Avocado “Pudding”

Almost all of these recipes contain under 15g carbohydrate per serving (tweaks to make appropriate dessert-sized portions are noted). None of them require a stovetop or an oven—at most, only a refrigerator or freezer is needed. Pick your favorites and incorporate them into your next diabetes-friendly meal plan.


Cocoa Almond Butter Fondue

almond butter cocoa dip
Stephanie Lang, MS, RDN, CDN

This dessert offers 137 calories, 4g protein, 5g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 3g total sugar, and 2g added sugar per two tablespoon serving. It's ready in 10 minutes. Get the recipe here.

We're fond of this nutrient-balanced, dairy-free, chocolate almond butter fondue—it's incredibly creamy and offers healthy fats. You can use it as a vehicle for fruit and pretzels or swap it in for Nutella outside of snack time.

Suggested Pairings

Reach for a cup of whole strawberries if you're opting for fruit. Together with two tablespoons of fondue you'll take in about 183 calories, 16g carbohydrate, and an extra 3g of fiber to reach one-fifth of your daily goal.

If you prefer pretzels, stick to about 10. Together with the fondue that'll give you about 183 calories and 15g carbohydrate, but no extra fiber. Nutrition facts may vary across pretzel brands, so analyze the nutrition label to make sure your serving size is only around 10g carbohydrate.


Gluten-Free Cinnamon Lemon Coconut Bliss Balls

gluten free balls
EA Stewart, MBA, RDN

This dessert offers 97 calories, 3g protein, 6g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 3g total sugar, and 3g added sugar per ball. It's ready in 8 minutes. Get the recipe here.

This is a fun finger food for the entire family—especially kids. It's perfectly portioned, just sweet enough, and is seasoned with cinnamon, which may help with blood glucose control.

Is the Maple Syrup OK to Add?

Don't let any of the ingredients make you nervous. The recipe calls for a quarter cup of maple syrup, which may seem like a lot of added sugar. Remember that the amount is for 20 balls! The quarter cup contains about 53g carbohydrate, but when it's divided up and combined with all the other ingredients you're only getting about 6g carbohydrate per ball.

You can whip up a batch of these over the weekend and enjoy up to two balls ready to grab-and-go as a snack after lunch or as dessert after dinner.


Tropical Mango Popsicles

tropical mango popsicles
Kaleigh McMordie, MCN, RDN, LD

This dessert offers 63 calories, 1g protein, 8g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 6g total sugar, and 0g added sugar per popsicle. Popsicles should chill for six hours. Get the recipe here.

There's an entire list of plusses about this recipe: it contains only four whole ingredients, requires only two steps, you can prep once and have enough for a week, there is absolutely no added sugar, the popsicles are cool and refreshing, and you can enjoy up to two if you really want to and still stay near 15g carbohydrate.

The recipe is also versatile. No coconut milk? Use a different kind of milk. No fresh mangos? Opt for frozen ones.


Low Carb Pumpkin Cheesecake Mousse

low-carb pumpkin mousse
Rachael Hartley, RD, LD, CDE

This dessert offers 136 calories, 8g protein, 13g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 8g total sugar, and 5g added sugar per 1/2 cup serving. The mousse is ready within half an hour. Get the recipe here.

Served in perfectly controlled portions, each spoonful of this mousse is decadent, creamy, and an appetizing combo of sweet flavors spiced with nutmeg and cinnamon, which may help with blood glucose control. You can even make it your own by creating a chocolatey version or varying the toppings. Sprinkle on a few walnuts for a bit of plant-based omega-3s, for example, or pepitas for some crunch.

Be sure to stick to the 1/2 cup portion size for a carb and calorie controlled treat. With 8g protein per serving, it'll likely be enough to fill you up.


Chocolate Chia Smoothie

chia chocolate smoothie
Rachael Hartley, RD, LD, CDE

This dessert offers 198 calories, 6g protein, 31g carbohydrate, 9g fiber, 11g total sugar, and 0g added sugar per parfait. It's ready in about 10 minutes. Get the recipe here.

Chia seeds are often the stars of diabetes-friendly desserts, since they offer a nice amount of fiber to help balance out blood sugar spikes. The cinnamon may also help control blood glucose levels.

Transform this breakfast recipe into dessert by halving the portion size. You'll get slightly under 100 calories, about 3g protein, 16g carbohydrate, 5g fiber, and 6g total sugar—and it'll still be plenty filling after dinner and feel like a rich, refreshing, and decadent sweet treat.


Tropical Papaya Yogurt Walnut Boats

Filled Papaya Boat Snack
Stephanie Lang, MS, RDN, CDN

This dessert offers 184 calories, 9g protein, 21g carbohydrate, 4g fiber, 15g total sugar, and 0g added sugar per 1/2 papaya. The mousse is ready within five minutes. Get the recipe here.

Transform a tropical snack recipe into dessert—just halve the portion size and get creative with the toppings. We recommend a dusting of cinnamon, which may help with blood glucose control, and plant-based omega-3s like walnuts and chia seeds, which offer a nice crunch.

The papaya adds natural sweetness that's nicely balanced with creamy, protein-rich yogurt and textured walnuts. If you have half of the half, you'll take in slightly under 100 calories, about 5g protein, 11g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, and 8g total sugar. The best part is that you only need five minutes to make it.


Stuffed Dates 2 Ways: A Sweet and Savory Snack

Stuffed Dates 2 Ways
Stephanie Lang, MS, RDN, CDN

This dessert offers 73 calories, 2g protein, 7g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 5g total sugar, and 0g added sugar for each sunflower butter and seed stuffed date. The goat cheese and honey stuffed date offers about 10 calories less and 3g of added sugar. Both are ready in less than 5 minutes. Get the recipes here.

This is another easy-to-make finger food for when a sweet craving hits. There are two versions here—the sunflower butter stuffed date contains no added sugar, the goat cheese and honey one has about 3g added sugar per date. The other nutrition stats are similar.

Recommended Variations

If you're making the sunflower butter and seeds version, go for whichever nut or seed butter you prefer. They all provide a satisfying creaminess and similar nutrition benefits.

If you're making the goat cheese and honey stuffed version, you can omit the honey if you prefer. The date itself offers just enough sweetness.

Enjoy two of the same kind or one of each for just around 15g carbohydrate.


Peanut Butter Banana Yogurt Parfait

Peanut butter banana parfait
Kaleigh McMordie, MCN, RDN, LD

This dessert offers 250 calories, 15g protein, 31g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 22g total sugar, and 9g added sugar per parfait. It's ready in about 5 minutes. Get the recipe here.

This is a mostly assembly dessert, requiring under 20 seconds in the microwave (optional). Its actually a breakfast recipe but makes for a delicious dessert when halved. Split it in two for 125 calories, about 8g protein, 16g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 11g total sugar, and 5g added sugar.

Recommended Variations

Follow the ingredient variations and substitutions outlined in the recipe—use nonfat plain Greek yogurt or light vanilla yogurt.

The cacao nibs are quite satisfying, but if you prefer you can swap them out for a lower-carb topping, like shredded unsweetened coconut or chopped nuts (any kind will do).


Peanut Butter Cup Chia Pudding

peanut butter chia pudding
Kaleigh McMordie, MCN, RDN, LD

This dessert recipe offers 415 calories, 20g protein, 40g carbohydrate, 17g fiber, 20g total sugar, and 6g added sugar for the entire pudding. Prep is under 5 minutes, with chilling recommended overnight. Get the recipe here.

This is another breakfast recipe that can double as dessert when split in half, giving you about 208 calories, 10g protein, 20g carbohydrate, 9g fiber, 10g total sugar, and 3g added sugar. These nutrition stats are still a bit high for a dessert, so try to enjoy this one after a lighter meal. You're getting plenty of fiber and protein, so you'll still be quite full, even if your dinner isn't as filling on its own.

You can enjoy this warm or cold, depending on your mood and the temperature outside. Make it your own by using your favorite nut butter and milk.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a person with diabetes eat sweets? 

Yes, but like everyone else, sweets should be kept to a minimum. It is a myth that people with diabetes should never eat sugar. The trick is to balance sugar with protein, fat, and fiber to slow the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream, and to track your overall carbohydrate intake so you stick within your recommended diet plan. 

Should people with diabetes opt for sugar-free versions of candy? 

Candy labeled as sugar-free typically contains sugar alcohols that do not raise blood sugar, but can cause uncomfortable gastrointestinal symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating, gas, and diarrhea. So it's best to enjoy them in moderation, and avoid them completely if you can't tolerate them.

What candy has the least impact on blood sugar? 

Candy that has a higher fat or protein content generally has less impact on blood sugar. Chocolate with nuts will raise blood sugar slower than candy without fat or protein, such as Skittles or Sweet Tarts. Dark chocolate has an even lower impact on blood sugar than milk chocolate.

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