|Valentine’s Day can be challenging for the 25.8 million American adults with diabetes. Chocolate gifts and rich desserts seem to rule the day. All this decadence can make you feel excluded or tempt you to binge on sweets. Overindulgence can lead to indigestion in most people. But for diabetics, overeating can cause dangerous blood sugar spikes. If you can’t resist sugar-laden treats, you may suffer severe health consequences. Joslin Diabetes Center and other experts offer suggestions so diabetics can enjoy Valentine’s Day celebrations in healthy ways.
1. Recognize Symptom Extremes
Signs that your blood sugar is too high include increased thirst and urination, hunger, fruity breath, dry mouth, blurry vision, weight loss, dry skin, and drowsiness. If you blood glucose dips too low, you may experience headaches, sweating, confusion, dizziness, irritability, hunger, or shakiness. Prandin (Repaglinide) is a Type 2 diabetes medication that increases pancreatic insulin production to regulate blood sugar levels.
2. Select Edible Gifts Carefully
Extensive research indicates that dark chocolate’s flavonoids and antioxidants provide multiple health-enhancing advantages. This treat reduces blood pressure and helps to fend off heart disease. Chocolate metabolizes more slowly than other sweet flavors, so it won’t elevate blood glucose as quickly as other candies. Choose quality over quantity by selecting a couple of dark chocolates with high cocoa content plus low sugar and fat amounts.
Nuts make great gifts. They don’t contain sugar and starch, are full of fiber, and satisfy the urge to enjoy a crunchy snack that’s healthy. Because nuts can be pricey, they’re decadent treats. Consider savory gift baskets with fruits, cheeses, summer sausage, ham without sugar glaze, and beef jerky.
3. Check Nutrition Labels
Whenever you have a craving for a sweet treat, check its nutritional information per serving first. Reviewing the facts might help you substitute a small portion for a meal item or snack without disturbing your blood sugar. Or the content details may encourage you to skip the extravagance instead of adjusting your routine. Ingredients like white flour, high fructose corn syrup, maple syrup, agave nectar, honey, preserves, jams, and dried fruit are problematic for diabetics.
You may think that sugar-free and low-carb candies are good solutions. But the calories in sugar-free treats with sugar substitutes can raise your blood sugar. Weighing the advantages and potential detriments can help you make smart food decisions to control your blood glucose levels.
4. Discover Appropriate Substitutions
Low-carb candies can be good choices if you limit portion sizes. Sugar-free frozen yogurts and ice creams are delicious diabetic replacements. Sprinkle plain flavors with nuts to avoid sugary toppings. Research can help you find many healthy treat options with limited fats and carbohydrates. Search for dietitian-approved online recipes that seem more indulgent than they are.
5. Enjoy Healthy Meals
Share a healthy breakfast. It is every day’s most important meal, and breakfast is especially vital for diabetics. Whole-grain oatmeal and bran cereals or non-fat plain yogurt smoothies with fresh or frozen fruit are quick and healthy possibilities. Cook a healthy meal for your loved ones that meets their dietary restrictions. Season foods with spices and herbs instead of salt and sugar. Romance your partner with a homemade candlelit dinner and mood music, and you’ll both forget the absence of sweet temptations.
If you prefer to dine out, search for a restaurant that offers healthy meal options, substitutions, or cooked-to-order dishes. Be cautious with all food choices, and set boundaries to match personal limitations. Call ahead to make special arrangements, or explain your party’s unique needs to your server. Sharing a single entrée can be an amorous way to enjoy a lighter meal. Check your blood sugar if you eat more than usual or try any sweets.