Diabetes-Friendly Thanksgiving Desserts for Seniors

November 4, 2016

According to the American Diabetes Association, as many as 25.9 percent of U.S. residents over age 65 have diabetes. That’s around 11.8 million seniors with diagnosed or undiagnosed diabetes. If your senior loved one has this disease, you may be wondering how they can enjoy Thanksgiving dessert. There are plenty of healthy options to consider – here are a few:

Sweet Potato Pie

At many American Thanksgiving tables, sweet potatoes play a significant role. These delicious orange root vegetables are sugary, so topping them off with brown sugar, butter, and marshmallows can cause a severe glucose spike. For people with diabetes, this sudden increase in sugar can lead to high blood sugar. A reading over 180 milligrams per deciliter within two hours of eating a meal is considered too high and is called hyperglycemia. Your senior loved one may need to use the restroom or be thirsty repeatedly. Avoid these unpleasant symptoms by reducing the amount of sugar in your sweet potato pie. Try this recipe from Diabetic Gourmet that still features those tasty sweet potatoes with cinnamon but lessens the sweetness in many other dish varieties.


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Lemon Cream Cheese Bars

Cheesecake and lemon bars are another holiday favorite for many seniors (and young people!) Unfortunately, sugar is a massive part of both of these desserts. Try lemon cream cheese bars from Taste of Home for a more diabetic-friendly variety. This recipe was handed down several generations in author Patti Lavell’s family before she altered it to serve better people who must carefully monitor their glucose and insulin levels. You can use a packaged lemon cake mix to reduce the ingredients and opt for fat-free cream cheese for an even healthier alternative. Everyone at your Thanksgiving gathering will enjoy these bars – they won’t even know they have reduced sugar!

Fruit Salad

The ADA wrote that fruits are an excellent way for people with diabetes to indulge in a sweet tooth while gaining some nutritional value. To make a senior-friendly fruit salad, look for fresh, frozen, or canned varieties without added sugar. People with diabetes must consider fruits as a carbohydrate when planning their meals and daily insulin. Tell your loved ones about the fruit salad beforehand so they can take medications accordingly. Fruit salads are a perfect dessert because anyone can eat them, whether vegan, vegetarian, or gluten-free! They also make the ideal dish for an assisted living holiday gathering.

fruit salad, diabetes, seniorsFruit salad is an excellent alternative for diabetic desserts.


Sugar Substitutes

Since glucose is a significant issue for diabetics, you can alter just about any recipe to reduce the sugar levels and make it diabetes-friendly. Diabetic Living noted that sugar substitutes, whether artificial or natural, are a way to reduce calorie and carbohydrate intake- two actions that are necessary when controlling insulin and glucose levels. Ask your senior loved one what sugar substitutes they prefer. This way, you can flavor your recipes, and everyone can enjoy your hard work.

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