Diabetes and Easter
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 and have done for weeks. If you have diabetes, you might just be cursing Easter.
But although it’s extremely important to eat a healthy diet low in sugar and fat, with a little extra attention it’s easy enough to enjoy the Easter period.
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 detrimental influence on overall blood glucose.
The key is small portions, spread out throughout the Easter period, and strictly only if advised that this is OK by your healthcare professional.
It’s worth remembering that hollow Easter eggs don’t contain as much chocolate as they seem to – but watch out for extra sweets inside.
Look for alternatives
Although Easter Eggs are very traditional, if you are looking for an alternative, either to spoil yourself or someone else, plenty of much more personal and significant gifts exist.
These could range from flowers, to gifts within a (non-chocolate) egg, to a framed photograph or card with a voucher.
Diabetes charity Diabetes UK recommends eating Hot Cross Buns or a small piece of Simnel cake as an alternative treat, although some people with diabetes may consider these too high-carb/calories even for a treat.
Small amounts of chocolate can be eaten as part of a healthy diet without detrimental effect on overall blood glucose control.
So, an ordinary Easter egg might be suitable for an adult who has well-controlled diabetes and knows the influence of chocolate on blood sugar levels, but experts would advise spreading it over the whole Easter holiday rather than eating it all on Easter Sunday.
Easter eggs, being hollow, do weigh less than you might expect compared to an ordinary bar of chocolate.
Children with diabetes at Easter
Easter can be particularly hard for children with diabetes.
Most children really enjoy Easter eggs, Easter bunnies and Easter egg hunts... none of which are particularly healthy. Some diabetes experts suggest an Easter egg hunt with very 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. Easter parties require some planning and liaison between parents.
Sugar-free Easter Eggs
Sugar-free or sugarless Easter eggs tend to use sugar alcohols, such as maltitol or sorbitol, instead of sugar which can have less impact on blood glucose levels. However, be aware that sugar alcohols can have a laxative effect if eaten in larger quantities.
Diabetic Easter Eggs
Some companies market diabetic Easter eggs, but the general feeling from the community is to avoid this kind of ‘diabetic-friendly’ food as it isn’t any healthier than normal Easter eggs and could even raise blood sugar levels just as much.
Planning for Easter
Easter eggs should have nutritional breakdowns, so if you need to keep a tab on your carbohydrates and calories you can check Easter egg packaging.
lanning when and how you will indulge gives you something to look forward to, not to mention making you part of the celebration. However,
Healthy Easter eggs
Healthy Easter eggs sounds like a contradiction in terms. However, some companies do sell dark chocolate Easter eggs which may be more suitable for people with diabetes and raise blood glucose levels less.
What community members are saying about getting through Easter
- Noblehead: Moser Roth 85% dark chocolate from Aldi stores is delicious and excellent value. There are 5 individual bars per pack, and each bar contains 4g of carbs. Its the best dark chocolate I have come across, well worth a try!
- Debloubed: I use a high cocoa content dark choc for my Champagne truffles but it needs to be able to withstand lots of heat!!
- Phoenix: Don't deny yourself completely. I have few problems with Easter because as a child I had hepatitis over Easter and couldn't eat any chocolate. Good quality dark chocolate has far fewer carbohydrates than milk. My special treat this year: to be eaten over several weeks, is the 'The Serious Dark Fix™ Extra Thick Easter Egg' from Hotel chocolat.
- Lovinglife: [I] made a cake with ground almonds for Easter Sunday trifle a couple days ago so that it would dry out a bit - can't find it now? Wonder where it went?