Valentine's Day is known for sweet, sugary treats but many of those treats can spell disaster for those trying to manage blood glucose levels. But just because you have diabetes doesn't mean you can’t enjoy sweet treats this holiday. There are actually quite a few healthy Valentine’s treats you and your loved ones can enjoy.
What’s more romantic than a box full of chocolate covered strawberries? Although milk chocolate and white chocolate are rich in added sugars and unhealthy fats, dark chocolate that is at least 70% cacao or above is packed full of health benefits. Dark chocolate is rich in catechins and has been shown to help lower blood pressure and fight against the hardening of arteries. Pairing this with a fruit rich in antioxidants, like strawberries or apples, can be a great way to treat your taste buds while protecting your heart. To prevent consuming an excessive amount of calories, simply drizzle melted dark chocolate over your favorite fruit instead of dipping it. This will provide you with all the great taste, but less overall calories and fat.
Frozen desserts are delicious, but many can be rich in added sugars. To satisfy a craving for a chilled treat, try making peanut butter banana popsicles. Simply slice a banana in half and insert a popsicle stick into the end. Next, roll the banana in peanut butter. After the banana has been adequately covered, roll it in either chopped walnuts or crushed whole grain cereal. Place the banana on wax paper and freeze for about two hours or until it has hardened. This delicious dessert provides a good source of blood pressure lowering potassium along with heart disease fighting monounsaturated fat.
Who doesn’t love a sweet and salty treat? Instead of reaching for a candy bar, make your own sweet and salty snack with this simple trail mix recipe. The whole grains from the popcorn not only provide a good source of fiber, but research has found popcorn may be as high in antioxidants as some fruits!
6 cups air popped popcorn
¼ cup sliced almonds
¼ cup raisins
¼ cup dark chocolate chip
Toss all ingredients together in a bowl until evenly mixed. Serve immediately or place in individual bags for a healthy, sweet snack on-the-go. Makes 4 servings.
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
Calories 157, Carbohydrates: 24gm Fiber: 3gm Protein: 4 gm Fat: 7gm
This dip is so easy to make and it can be eaten as a snack or even enjoyed as a meal. It makes the perfect pairing for fresh fruit as well. The cocoa powder provides a good source of antioxidants while the dairy may help to promote a healthy body weight .
1 Cup plain low fat or nonfat Greek yogurt
1 Tbs 100% cocoa powder
(optional: sweetener of your choice)
Mix together cocoa and Greek yogurt to form a mousse. Serve chilled alongside your favorite fresh fruit.
Nutrition Facts (per 1 cup)
Calories 150, Carbohydrates: 12gm Protein: 21gm Fat: 2gm
As you can see, with a few adjustments and a little creativity, you can enjoy sweet treats without sabotaging your health or blood glucose levels.