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Healthy Desserts for People With Type 2 Diabetes

Cooking Healthy Desserts for Type 2 Diabetes

If you love to bake and cook those scrumptious desserts, don't throw away your recipe books just because you have type 2 diabetes. In general, baked goods aren't very healthy, due to the white sugar and sticks of butter used to make them. However, by replacing some of these ingredients with some healthier alternatives, you can still enjoy dessert and keep your blood sugar levels within your target range.
With a little experimentation, you can successfully convert high-fat, high-sugar recipes into your favorite desserts that have fewer calories, carbohydrates, and sodium. Here are a number of tips on how to do that:
  • Sugar suggestions: Sugar is used to provide flavor, increase moisture, and help with browning in baked goods. Although it is okay for a person with type 2 diabetes to have limited amounts of sugar, reducing it helps to lower the carbohydrates per serving. In addition, if the recipe can have more fiber added, the food will have less of an increase in blood sugar levels. Some tips for dealing with sugar in recipes include:
    • Experiment with the added sugar in your baking recipes. Often, you can cut the sugar (white sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup, honey, or molasses) by one-third or one-half for cookies, pie fillings, and certain other recipes. While some recipes won't work if you cut the sugar in half, there are some where you can't tell the difference.
    • Limit sugar to 1 tablespoon for each cup of flour in quick breads and muffins.
    • Flavor baked breads and muffins with cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, or vanilla and almond extracts to help cut down on the sugar content.
    • You can use alternative sweeteners (honey, maple syrup, agave nectar, or artificial sweeteners) instead of sugar. If you want to use an alternative sweetener, you may need to do it after cooking, as some sweeteners (like saccharin) will turn bitter when cooked. Aspartame and some others will lose sweetness when heated. However, Splenda® or Equal Spoonful® can be added before cooking and won't turn bitter or lose their sweetness when cooking.
    • Opt for quick breads rather than high-sugar cakes or cookies. Some examples include low-fat banana, carrot, zucchini, or pumpkin breads. These will also add nutrition and fiber with the fruits and vegetables.
    • Spray the tops of muffins or cookies with cooking spray to help increase browning.
    • Do not change the sugar content in yeast breads, as the amount of sugar listed is required to help the yeast grow.
    • Many fruit desserts won't need much added sugar, as the fruit will help to naturally sweeten the dessert.
  • Find fat substitutes: Fat is used to provide a rich taste, improve texture, add flakiness, and make baked goods tender. By simply using less, you can reduce calories. Some tips for baking with less fat include:
    • Use unsaturated fats, such as vegetable oils, including canola, and olive oils.
    • Reduce saturated fats by using less butter, cream, and whole dairy products, such as milk, yogurt, cheese, and sour cream.
    • Egg yolks contain all the fat and cholesterol in the egg. Substituting two egg whites (or a quarter cup egg substitute) for one whole egg can work for many recipes.
    • Use cooking sprays, rather than oil or butter, to grease your cake pans.
    • Substitute fruit puree for some of the fat -- applesauce or prune purees are a great substitute for many baked recipes.
    • Use 1 cup skim milk for 1 cup whole milk.
    • Use 1 cup evaporated skim milk instead of cream. If your recipe calls for sour cream or double cream, try light crème fraîche.
    • Instead of milk or cream, try using reduced-fat versions or other milks, such as rice milk, nut milk, or soy milk. Also, use low-fat cream cheese, yogurt, or mayonnaise.
    • When using filo pastry, brush with egg white, fruit juice, or low-fat milk rather than oil.
  • Cut back on salt: Salt is used to provide flavor and act as a preservative. It also helps to control the leavening process in yeast bread. Some tips for cutting back on salt include:
    • Reduce the amount of salt by half or omit it entirely.
    • Try low-sodium seasoning blends.
    • Use the salt-free versions of dried seasonings, such as garlic powder rather than garlic salt.
    • Do not eliminate salt from yeast bread and rolls, or the results will suffer.
  • Increase fiber. Fiber helps lower cholesterol, normalize digestion, and reduce blood sugar levels. Eating soluble fiber, such as legumes, barley, oats, and apples, helps remove cholesterol from the digestive tract. In addition, whole grains are a great source of nutrients. Some tips for increasing fiber in your recipes include:
    • Use whole-wheat flour in recipes.
    • Use raisins, chopped apples, and blueberries in cookies, cakes, and breads.
    • Grind up bran cereals in a food processor and substitute for one-quarter of all-purpose flour in recipes.
    • Try substituting half a cup of white flour with soy or wholemeal flour.
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