9 Tips for Fitting in Sweets With Diabetes

How You Can Enjoy a Treat

Marko Milanovic/Stocksy United

Got a hankering for something sweet? When you have type 2 diabetes, you probably should abstain, but sometimes the craving is strong or you feel left at social gatherings. Our bodies may be wired for craving carbohydrates, simply because they are the body's main source of fuel, but when you have diabetes all carbohydrates count and can affect blood sugar. Therefore, we have to learn how to handle that in a smart way. Sweets don't have to be banned, but there are ways to satisfy your craving while maintaining blood sugar control. Try the following:

1) Be Prepared

If you use exchange lists or count carbohydrates, try to fit the treat into your meal plan. Do a little planning and counting. Swap a high-carbohydrate food item or two from a meal for a sweet treat, or make sure you are within limits of your carbohydrate count goals per meal if you are counting carbohydrates.

Download a carbohydrate counting app or carry around a book that lists nutrition information. Take advantage of free smartphone apps that provide nutrition data and even let you log what you eat on the run. It is amazing how comprehensive, easy to use, and fast these databases have become.They can help you to make great choices. Another option is to memorize counts of your favorite treats. 

2) Make Sure You're Not Tired

Sometimes we mistake fatigue with hunger. If it's nighttime and you've just finished dinner, odds are you are not hungry. It is more likely that you are tired. Avoiding late night eating can not only help with blood sugar control, it can help you to lose weight.

3) Make Sure You're Not Hungry

Eating balanced meals can help to prevent carbohydrate cravings. If possible, aim to eat on a schedule and avoid meal skipping. Start your day with breakfast and include complex, high fiber carbohydrates in your meal plan. These types of foods, such as whole grains, beans, and sweet potato can help you to feel full and satisfied. 

4) Make Sure You Don't Have Low Blood Sugar 

Skipping or delaying a meal and taking medications without food can result in low blood sugar. If you find yourself in this situation, you'll want to test your blood sugar.

If your level is less than 70mg/dL, treat it with 15g of fast acting carbohydrate, such as 4oz of juice, 5 hard candies, 4 glucose tablets. Re-check your blood sugar in 15 minutes. If it has not risen to your goal, you should ingest another 15g of fast acting carbohydrate. You may need to follow-up with a snack or meal that contains carbohydrate and protein, so that your blood sugar doesn't drop again.

When your blood sugar is low you may feel fatigued or hungry. Low blood sugars can be dangerous if they are not treated correctly. If they drop frequently, you should discuss this with your doctor. You may need an adjustment in medication.

5) Portion control

If you are craving candy, take advantage of the fun and mini sizes. It's best to avoid pure sugar candies, such as jellies (which can spike blood sugar quickly) and choose something that contains nuts or dark chocolate instead. Don’t forget to fit them into your meal plan and pay attention to the carbohydrates you are taking in. They may be small, but more than one or two can still derail your diabetes management.

6) Enjoy It

Relish a bite or two of a dessert from the plate of a willing friend. Sharing a treat makes it special and helps you to portion control. And this way, you won't feet tempted to eat the whole thing or throw away leftovers. 

7) Sugar-Free Doesn't Mean Carbohydrate-Free

You can try sugar-free candy and treats, but remember these come with considerable pros and cons. Check the label and make sure you read the carbohydrate content. Sugar-free candies still contain carbohydrates. 

8) Pick a Healthy Treat

Try something slightly sweet and good for you. Sweet treats can include fruit or, if you want to try something less sweet, you may want to try chewing on tamarind and mesquite pods, both have been found to be beneficial for people with diabetes.

9) Be Mindful

Take a moment to enjoy eating the food you are craving. Place your treat on a plate or in a bowl and sit down to eat it. Try to avoid snacking from the bag while watching television or cruising the web. It might help make the couple bites you take more satisfying and prevent you from overeating. 

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