Are consuming sweets your ‘moot point’?? This is just the article for you to resolve this dilemma.
Diabetes and Sugar are considered eternal enemies of each other, both cannot exist together and if they do, they can just worsen the disease further. It's very human to want to satisfy your sweet buds and at the same time be stress-free that your sugar levels do not plunge causing you to crave for more sugar later in the day.
So, what could be the best solution for satisfying your sugar cravings if you're a diabetic? There are certain mandatory rules while consuming sweet treats that will prevent the sugar surge --
1. Consumed in between main meals
Avoid combining sweet treats with main meals as the sugar release from the main meals will combine with the breakdown sugar from the sweet treat causing a sudden spike in the blood sugar, this excess sugar remains floating in the blood for long hours and eventually gets converted to fat and deposited around our organs. This fat worsens the condition as insulin is unable to enter the fat covered cell which is required for the entry of glucose/sugar into the cell. This resistance prevents the nourishment of body cells over a period of time.
2. Consumed in small quantities
When it comes to diabetes, portion control is a habit we should imbibe. Let’s consider we are served a standard serving size of two gulab jamuns in one serve, which is a common practice. There would be a huge difference if you would consume the entire serving and if you consume half the serving. Consuming the entire serving would cause your blood sugar to spike soon and remain high for a long time, causing your body to be under tremendous stress to absorb this sugar. As a diabetic, your body is producing less insulin or your insulin is inactive and unable to enter the cell. Instead, if the situation was such that you consumed half the serving i.e one small gulab jamun, your blood sugar would rise, but there is a maximum possibility that this sugar would be absorbed as some amount of insulin is still functional in our bodies, thus causing lesser stress to our bodies.
3. Eat slowly and savour the tastes
Eating slowly causes the brain to register the message that you're full as the act of chewing causes the brain to secrete the satiety hormone leptin sooner which prevents overeating. Also chewing causes half the digestion of the food to take place in the mouth enabling the intestine to perform its function of absorbing the food easier. All nutrients are completely digested, the nutrients from the food are thoroughly absorbed and used up.
4. Combining proteins and sugars gives the best results
You can take maximum advantage of consuming sweet dishes by combining them with protein sources such as milk and milk products, dals/pulses, nuts and seeds. The advantages being; firstly, it's been proven time and again that the sugar from the sweet dish combines with the protein from the protein sources causing the slow release of sugar; all the sugar can be slowly utilised by the body at its own pace. Secondly, the release of the satiety hormone leptin is sooner when proteins and sugars are combined together so you would end up eating less of the sweet dish as you're going to feel fuller sooner. Few examples being moong dal sheera, fruit and nut smoothies, curd-based aamras, rasgulla with sugar syrup squeezed, almond dal kheer, chia seed nut pudding are few of the examples.
Now I am going to present you with a few quick and easy to prepare recipes with ingredients that can be a close substitute to sugar and can satisfy your sweet tooth without the negative effects caused by sugar. Here we go--
1. Natural Sugar from Fruits combined with protein-rich curd:
Fruits by nature have their natural sugars that always contain fiber and we know fiber combines with sugar and causes the slow release of sugar in our bodies. Also, fiber acts as a laxative and satiety agent.
Fiber-rich fruits can be used in recipes either in the ground form or grated, mostly incorporated at the end of the recipe that would not subject it to high temperatures.
Fiber-rich fruits can further be combined with the protein called Casein in curd making the fruit sugar even slower in releasing, which would give ample time to the body to absorb the sugar and use it for energy.
Try these interesting fruit cum curd based recipes and enjoy the natural sweetness it can offer.
1. Green Smoothie (1 serving: 250ml):
Spinach leaves: 3-4 No.
Small banana: 1 No./Apple/Guava: ½ No.
Chia seeds: 1 tsp
Low-fat curd/Cow’s milk curd: ½ cup
Almonds: 5 No.
Avocado: ½ No. (optional)/Walnuts: 2 whole
Cinnamon: A pinch
Combine all ingredients together in a grinder and avoid straining. Sipe on the smoothie slowly and relish the flavours.
2. Mango Chia Pudding (1 serving: 1 cup):
Mango: ½ medium
Curd: ½ cup
Chia seeds: 1 tsp
Cinnamon: a pinch
Almonds: A few for garnish
Peel the mango, whisk the curd and grind the mango with the curd in a processor. Mix in the chia seeds. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Top with slivered almonds and serve cold.
3. Banana Millet Pancake (1 serving: 2 medium):
Small banana: 2 No. (ground)
Buttermilk/curd: ½ cup curd/150 ml buttermilk
Powdered Oats: 3 Tbsps
Cinnamon: a pinch
Vanilla essence: A dash
Oil: ½ tsp
Whisk all ingredients together. Pour one ladle on a skillet and flip the other side when cooked and your delicious guilt-free pancakes are ready.
2) Are dried fruits your favourite? Nuts and Dried fruits are best in combination.
We are blessed to be in a land where we have surplus dried fruits and ample varieties like dates, figs, raisins, dried apricots, dried mangoes, dried pineapple, cranberries, blueberries, dried strawberries, dried kiwis, etc.
Though these are considered healthy if consumed in smaller amounts, they still contain concentrated amounts of natural sugars.
But when these small energy packed fruits are combined with nuts and seeds they form a perfect mid-meal and satisfy sugar cravings and can be easily combined in desserts.
What happens in your body when they are combined? The sugar from these dried fruits combines with the protein and essential fats like omega 3 from seeds and nuts and this bond cause the slow release of sugar, thereby allowing the cells to be completely nourished by the food consumed. An added advantage of minor nutrients like Iron, Zinc, Magnesium, Calcium, Phosphorus, Potassium and Chloride is also obtained from this combination. Let's dive directly into interesting recipes which are tasty and nutritious.
1. Dried fruit Nut Bars (2 servings: Makes 4-5 square pieces)
Pitted Dates: 3-4 No.(chopped)
Dried Figs: 3- 4 No. (chopped)
Almonds: 5 No. (roasted and chopped)
Pistachios: 10 No (roasted and ground)
Chia seeds: 2 tsps (roasted)
Coconut oil/Olive oil: 2 tsps
Vanilla essence: a pinch
Combine the dried fig and dates in a food processor
Add in the pistachio powder with vanilla essence and grind further
Take this mixture in a mixing bowl and add the chopped almonds and chia seeds with coconut oil, handmix them
Spread evenly on a plate and shape it like squares
2. Dried fruit almond puran polis (Serving Size 2: Makes 2 medium polis)
Dates: 1/2 cup
Moong dal: 1/4th cup
Almond powder: 2 Tbsps.
Walnut powder: 1Tbsp.
Chia seed powder/Flaxseed powder: 2 tsps
Cardamom: A pinch
Wheat flour:1/4th cup
Quinoa flour: 1/4th cup
Salt: For taste
Haldi: 2 tsps
For Roasting on Pan:
Ghee: 2 tsps
Soak dates in water for 2 hours, followed by grinding them in the food processor until smooth. Place dates in a deep bottom vessel and allow it to cook on a slow flame.
Simultaneously cook moong dal in a pressure cooker and on cooling grind it into a paste in a food processor.
Add this mixture to the dates mixture in the vessel and cook on a slow flame for 10-15 minutes until aroma releases from the batter.
Eventually, add powdered nuts and seeds into the batter and mix until the mixture leaves the sides of the vessel.
Finally, add powdered cardamom, give it a mix and switch off the flame.
Once cool then make two uniform balls out of this mixture.
For the Poli:
Mix all the ingredients with water and make a dough just as we make dough for chapatis. make two uniform balls out of the mixture.
For the final preparation:
Flatten the poli balls, take one ball of the puran, and place it in the center of the flattened poli balls and seal it from all sides to make a round shape.
Flatten the round into a chapati using some wheat flour to prevent sticking
Finally, use a pan to roast the puran poli with ½ tsp ghee.
Tasty and healthy puran poli is ready.
3. Moong dal nut dates halwa (Serves 2)
Moong dal: 2 Tbsps cup
Ghee: 2 tsps
Dates (pitted) : 1/4th cup
Almonds and walnuts powdered:1/4th cup
Cardamom (powdered): a pinch
Nigella seeds/Kalonji: 1 tsp
Raisins (golden): 1 tsp
Take a deep bottomed vessel and roast the moong dal in 1 tsp ghee, until the raw flavour evaporates. Then pressure cook the dal and grind into paste one cooked
Alongside soak the dates for 1 hour in water and grind it into a fine paste. Set aside.
Now, take a non-stick vessel and place the pureed dates into the vessel and allow it to cook on a slow flame for a few minutes, until it releases aroma. Later add the dhal paste along with the nut powder and mix well. Let it cook on a slow flame for 10-15 minutes. Lastly, add in the cardamom and give it a mix. Remove from flame and garnish with raisins and seeds. Serve hot.
(Note: Use superior grade dried fruits to achieve the best results in taste and nutrition. Dried fruit which has a white coating must be washed thoroughly before use to remove the toxins/mold growth present on the surface).
3) Are you on a zero carb diet and still craving for sweets.. this is your best bet “Erythritol +Stevia and Erythritol”
When it comes to non-nutritive sweeteners you have many available in the market and the majority of them are chemical sweeteners which are not recommended in the long run as they leave you craving for more carbohydrates hours after consuming the sweetener.
The best non-nutritive sweeteners available in the market that are obtained from natural sources are Erythritol and Stevia. Erythritol is a sugar alcohol obtained from the fermentation of fruits and Stevia is a compound obtained from the leaves of the stevia plant.
Erythritol is 60-70% as sweet as sugar and leaves no aftertaste, but has to be used in larger quantities in recipes to attain higher degrees of sweetness. Stevia can be used in lesser quantities as it is 200 times sweeter than sugar but the only flipside being its bitter after taste which is not considered desirable by many when added to recipes. Hence a combination of both can also be looked upon as a good alternative and is commonly available commercial preparation. Both Stevia and Erythritol provide our bodies with zero calories. Adding these sweeteners can truly make your dessert ‘guilt-free’.
1. Guilt Free Gooey Chocolate Brownie (Serves 4):
Almond Flour: ¼ th cup
Erythritol: ½ th cup
Unsweetened chocolate : ¼ th cup (melted)
Baking powder: ½ tsp
Coconut milk: 1 cup
Walnut: ½ cup (chopped)
Vanilla Essence: ½ tsp
Salt: a pinch
Egg white: 2 No. (optional)
Warm water: 1/4th cup (depending on consistency)
Mix wet ingredients like coconut oil and vanilla essence together.
Next, add in the dry ingredients like almond flour and baking powder through the seiver followed by Erythritol and salt. Mix slowly into the batter.
Note: If using egg whites, beat it separately and fold into the flour after adding the dry ingredients.
Finally, fold in the melted unsweetened chocolate.
Now, in case the mixture is very thick then start adding small amounts of water slowly and gradually until the batter is creamy and smooth.
Line a 6-inch baking dish with butter and dust with chocolate powder, pour batter into the baking dish, and bake at 180 degrees celsius for 20-30 minutes. Check doneness with a toothpick, which should come out clean from the center.
Serve warm or cold with few berries or sliced papayas.
2. Apple/Pear Curd Coconut Chia seed pudding (Serves 2):
Curd: 1/4th cup
Coconut milk: ½ cup
Chia seed: 2 tsps
Stevia: 1 tsp
Pureed Apple/Pear with skin: 1 medium (optional)
Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate for 2 hours and consume this creamy mixture cold or at room temperature.
3. Guilt Free Kaju Katli (Serves 4):
Almond Flour: 1 cup
Almond milk: ¼ th cup
Erythritol: ½ cup (powdered)
Saffron: a pinch
Almonds: few (chopped)
Sieve and roast the almond flour in a pan until the flour emits fragrance. Take 1 Tbsp of almond milk in a cup, warm it and add saffron to it and stir.
Now, to the almond flour add the powdered sweetener and the saffron milk along with the rest of the almond milk and cardamom, and make it into a smooth dough.
Place the dough ball on parchment paper and roll it flat using a rolling pin. Keep the thickness equal and even throughout. By using a big kitchen knife, cut the dough into diamond-shaped katlis. Garnish with chopped nuts or saffron strands. Allow the katlis to air dry for a while.
Try these recipes and leave your comments, we are waiting to hear back from you.
Always remember portion control is key to savoring any sweet dish guilt-free. Relish the sweetness with the essence of Nutrition….
Vaishali is one of the top dieticians in India with over 10 years of experience. She holds a Master’s degree specialising in Foods and Nutrition from SNDT Women’s University, Mumbai. She holds various certifications as a sports nutritionist, diabetes educator & certified counsellor.
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