Easter can be a difficult time to have diabetes, not least because of the temptation. Easter is a time of family togetherness, new beginnings, spring-cleaning and, you guessed it… lots of chocolate! Chocolate bunnies, eggs, and chicks seem to line every shop window for weeks. If you have diabetes, you might just be cursing Easter. It’s extremely important to remember eating a healthy diet low in sugar and fat as part of a diabetic friendly easter menu can still make this Easter an enjoyable one with your family and friends.
HOW TO HANDLE EASTER
We know that Easter is not exactly the party bunnies delivering chocolate eggs in the house, right? From catholic religious origins celebrating the resurrection of Christ, this date has become a widely commercial holiday. It’s almost impossible not to get involved with the appeals to which we are exposed all the time. Easter Lamb Cake, bunnies, little eggs, lunch. It seems a similar nightmare with the year—end holidays, right?
Today, diabetics lead a normal life by controlling diet, daily habits such as sleep, rest, physical activity, oral antidiabetics, or insulin. Thus, you can also enjoy the good things that are offered at the time of Passover with moderation. For example, swapping things like crisps, biscuits, and chocolate for yogurts, fruits and vegetables can also ensure a diabetic friendly Easter menu.
CHOCOLATE AND BLOOD GLUCOSE
Strictly managing blood glucose levels and then eating lots of chocolate is clearly not a good idea. However, some people with diabetes can tolerate eating small amounts of chocolate without having a determinable influence on their overall blood glucose. The key is small portions, spread throughout the Easter period, and strictly only if advised that this is OK by your primary care doctor.
WHAT TYPE OF CHOCOLATE IS MORE ADVISABLE FOR DIABETICS?
The most advisable chocolates for diabetics are those with a higher concentration of cocoa in their composition. Rich in flavonoids (an antioxidant substance that helps in heart protection) they are darker than the milk chocolate options and have a stronger taste depending on the concentration. Dark chocolate cocoa consequently has a small amount of sugars and fats compared to other chocolates. Other traditional chocolates mostly contain larger amounts of milk, sugar, and other artificial sweeteners that wouldn’t be ideal for diabetics to eat.
EASTER EGGS FOR A DIABETIC FRIENDLY EASTER MENU
Some companies market diabetic Easter eggs, but this diabetic easter dessert isn’t any healthier than normal Easter eggs and could even raise blood sugar levels just as much. Sugar-free or sugarless Easter eggs tend to use sugar alcohols such as maltitol or sorbitol as an alternative to sugar. In theory, this can have less impact on blood glucose levels. However, be aware that sugar alcohols can have a laxative effect if eaten in larger quantities.
CHILDREN WITH DIABETES AT EASTER
Easter can be particularly hard for children with diabetes. Most children enjoy Easter bunnies, Easter eggs, and Easter egg hunts with small treats or even non-chocolate treats. Small plastic Easter eggs filled with other delights could be just the thing to take your child’s mind off Easter. Similarly, Easter baskets could be filled with games, toys, or books rather than just sweet things.
NUTRITIOUS TIPS FOR EASTER
- Plan for social occasions
- Try and find out what options will be available before you head out on a special occasion. By knowing what your options are you can make decisions of what to choose beforehand. This can help stick to a more diabetic friendly Easter dinner.
- Re-gift Easter treats
- If you receive some sweet treats over the break it is a good idea to sort through and just keep the good quality chocolate. If you happen to crave a chocolate hit then having just a few high-quality choices in the fridge might stop you from overindulging.
- Find a friend to stay accountable
- Being able to talk about your situation or health goals with another can often be very helpful. You can gain some support and the act of speaking out loud is another way to reinforce your motivations.
- Buy high-quality chocolate, preferably dark
- Purchasing rich dark chocolate is a way to ensure you are not depriving yourself. It also reduces your chance of overeating in one sitting.
- Practice mindful eating
- For some, it might sound a bit wishy-washy but mindful eating techniques are not only backed by science, they are very practical and can work. There are a lot of strategies to try but a starting point could include ensuring the environment where you eat is distraction-free.
- Always have a shopping list and avoid the temptation aisles
- When we feel rushed and pressured it’s easy to act on impulse. Take a list to the supermarket to help keep you on task.
It’s okay to not be perfect all the time. Easter is a time of the year that can include family get-together’s, meeting up with friends, or just cutting yourself some slack. Eating delicious food is often part of the celebrations, festivities, and downtime. If you do have a day of not eating exactly how you should, don’t beat yourself up or feel guilty.
Diabetes management is important and consistency is the key, but being kind to yourself and allowing yourself a deep breath now and then is a natural and normal part of being human. Happy Easter!