Diabetes and Easter

Easter - a time for chocolate?
Easter - a time for chocolate?

Easter is a time of family togetherness, new beginnings, spring-cleaning and spending time with loved ones.

But Easter can be a difficult time to have diabetes, particularly as a child. Temptation is everywhere, with chocolate bunnies, eggs and chicks seemingly lining every shop window in the weeks prior.

It’s important to still eat healthily during Easter, but that isn’t to say the odd treat is forbidden. Alternatively, make your own low-sugar treats to enjoy through 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.

If you are eating chocolate over Easter, the key is to eat it in small portions and spread it out throughout the Easter period. If you have doubts about controlling your blood glucose you should consult with your healthcare professional.

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. One way of making Easter more fun for your child is an Easter egg hunt, using very small treats or even non-chocolate treats. Small plastic Easter eggs filled with other delights could be just the thing to take the child’s mind off chocolate.

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.

Easter eggs

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. Hollow Easter eggs don’t contain as much chocolate as they seem to – but watch out for extra sweets inside.

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.

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Look for alternatives

Although Easter eggs are very traditional, you can instead look to spoil yourself or someone else, with alternative, more personal gifts.

These could range from flowers, to gifts within a (non-chocolate) egg, to a framed photograph or card with a voucher.

Sugar-free or Easter eggs

Store-bought 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 because they can still have an impact on blood glucose levels.

Planning for Easter

Planning when and how you will indulge gives you something to look forward to, not to mention making you part of the celebration.

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