Got a hankering for something sweet? When you have type 2 diabetes, your best bet is to abstain, but sometimes the craving is strong or you feel left out of festivities and celebrations. Our bodies may be wired for craving carbohydrates, and we have to learn how to handle that in a smart way. Sweets for diabetics don't have to be banned. Here are some ideas to help you satisfy that craving while maintaining control.
Your number one weapon is a plan with effective strategies so you don't find yourself giving into temptations while your brain is preoccupied with getting a sweet fix.
If you use exchange lists or count carbs, 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 carb count goals per meal or day if you are counting carbs.
Enjoy the treat and make it special. Relish it. Visualize eating it even before you do. It is far better to enjoy mindfully than to throw caution to the wind, eat without thought and pay for it later.
Carry around a book that lists nutrition information. I keep one at home, in my car, and in my purse. These help you to make great choices. Memorize counts of your favorite treats. The past couple years I have taken 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.
We are all different, make sure to ask your doctor about sweet treats and for guidance and advice.
My Favorite Strategies for Handling Sweets with Diabetes
- Make sure you are not thirsty. Sometimes we mistake thirst for hunger or cravings so stay well hydrated. Drink some water.
- Make sure you are not hungry. Regularly eat foods that make you feel satisfied and are full of good nutrition. Start your day with these foods if possible. Examples include beans, mushrooms, and oatmeal. They help promote the feeling of fullness and satiety throughout the day.
- Make sure you are not deficient in something. That orange popsicle might be particularly attractive if you are needing vitamin C and your body is associating it with fresh oranges. Give a thought to what it is you are craving. Make sure your diet is well rounded.
- If you really have to have candy, take advantage of the fun and mini sizes. 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.
- Relish a bite or two of a dessert from the plate of a willing friend or friends. I have purposely treated friends to something I'm craving with the condition they let me have a bite and slap my hand if I don't stop. I hate to throw away food, especially good food, so this helps me not worry about that.
- You can try sugarless candy and treats, but remember these come with considerable pros and cons.
- Try something slightly sweet and good for you. I personally don't like very sweet things, but I do get a craving once in a while for a sweet treat. I love chewing on tamarind and mesquite pods, and both have been found to be beneficial for people with diabetes.
- Give imaginary eating a try. Take a moment to vividly imagine and enjoy eating the food you are craving. It might help make the couple bites you take more satisfying.