With the Holidays right around the corner, this is the perfect time to focus on food and beverage choices especially if you struggle with diabetes or prediabetes. November is Diabetes Month and according to the American Diabetes Association, there are nearly 30 million children and adults in the United States that have diabetes. In addition to that, there are another 86 million living with prediabetes who are at risk for developing for type 2 diabetes.
Of course, the Holidays are known for fabulous food like mashed potatoes, stuffing, and delicious desserts like pecan pie. If you struggle with diabetes, the Holidays can be a real challenge when it comes to managing carbohydrate intake. The good news is that there are many ways to enjoy sweets while keeping your blood sugar in check.
One way that people with diabetes or folks who are at risk for developing diabetes can enjoy treats during the Holidays is to use artificial sweeteners instead of sugar. Artificial sweeteners not only provide that sweet taste, but they can also help satisfy those sweet cravings especially during the Holidays. From baked goods to beverages, you can substitute artificial sweeteners in many of your favorite Holiday recipes.
One of my favorite beverages to enjoy during the Holidays is Hot Chocolate. Simply heat 1 cup of low-fat milk in the microwave for 90 seconds and then add 1 tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder and 1 package of aspartame or artificial sweetener of your choice. It still contains a small amount of carbohydrate found naturally in milk, but there is no added sugar and it’s a great beverage option for both children and adults! You can also use certain artificial sweeteners in baked goods by substituting half of the sugar in the recipe for artificial sweetener or replace regular soda with diet soda when you’re craving a sweet beverage.
As a Registered Dietitian, my goal is to make sure consumers know they have options and there are many types of artificial sweeteners to select from. I believe that artificial sweeteners are not only safe, but can also help satisfy Holiday cravings.
Amber Pankonin MS, RD, CSP, LMNT is a registered dietitian and licensed medical nutrition therapist based in Lincoln, NE. She works as a nutrition communications consultant, freelance writer, food photographer, and adjunct professor at the University of Nebraska- Lincoln. Amber shares her love for food and nutrition at Stirlist.com, an award winning website, focusing on healthy, easy recipes for the busy cook. Amber serves on several boards including the Nebraska Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the Nutrition Entrepreneurs Dietetic Practice Group, and also cofounded a group to motivate female entrepreneurs in her town. You can follow her on Twitter @RDamber, Instagram, Pinterest, or connect with her on Facebook.