Have a Diabetes-Friendly Valentine’s Day!

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Instead of buying a card this Valentine's Day, why not hand-make one?

Valentine’s Day…the “Hallmark holiday” of romantic love. People everywhere use this holiday as a day to express their love to others by sending greeting cards, flowers, valentines, and lots and lots of chocolate. Also, people feel obligated to dine out and feast on gourmet meals with their loved ones.

However, this high-pressure holiday is not about indulging in chocolate or about treating yourself to a 5-star restaurant; it is about spending time with the one you love. So although this holiday can make people with diabetes feel left out or want to dig into too many sweets, just remember to try to spend it by valuing the holiday’s true meaning. There are still many ways for people to celebrate and enjoy Valentine’s Day while keeping their diabetes under control.

Avoid Cliché Gifts

Valentine’s Day is one of the most manufactured holidays of the year. It’s hard not to feel suffocated by all of the stocked shelves with elaborate displays of sappy greeting cards and sugar-coated sweets whenever you step foot into a convenience or grocery store. This year why not skip the conventional box of chocolates or flowers to create a handcrafted, thoughtful gift of your own for your loved one with diabetes?

Your loved one will appreciate you taking the time and effort to make a gift with deeper meaning than just purchasing an average box of chocolates that could throw their blood glucose levels out of control. You will also probably be saving money which is always a plus, especially during the holidays. Here are a few sites to get your creative juices flowing.

However, if people with diabetes are tempted to treat themselves to some sweets this Valentine’s Day there are still ways to splurge smartly. Look for low-carb versions of your favorite treats, which will allow you to savor some sweets with less of an impact on your blood glucose levels.

Many major retail stores have selections of sugar-free candies and chocolates. Try candy bar favorite Russel Stover sugar-free chocolate bars. You may also find good selections of sweets for people with diabetes right alongside the regular sweets in most candy or grocery stores with dessert isles. Or try to buy sugar-free, diabetic candy online.

If you can't help but sample some classic Valentine's Day candies, just make sure you look up the carbs and other nutrition info to fit them into your meal plan.

But whether you choose to have “sugar-free” candies or enjoy the regular versions, it is important to check the label for the carb content and other nutrition information. Remember that no sugar added does not mean that it is carb free.

Getting the facts about these sugary foods will help you figure out how you can work a small portion of it into your meal plan for the day without disrupting your blood glucose levels. Keep in mind that moderation is still very important and that everyone’s blood glucose levels are affected differently. So checking your blood glucose two hours after eating will give you a good idea how your blood glucose reacts to different treats.

Cook Up Some Love

This Valentine’s Day why not skip the reservations and long restaurant lines to make a homemade meal in the comfort of your own home for you and your loved one? If you enjoy cooking, it will be better to splurge on high-quality ingredients to make a delicious meal right at home.

Cooking up a romantic dinner in your own kitchen is more economical and it will allow you to know exactly what is in the dishes so you can better calculate accurate portions with the correct amount of carbs and fats for your meal plan that day. You can check out some of Joslin’s cookbooks, or do some research on the Internet to find dietitian-approved recipes that are healthy, and low in carbohydrates and fat for your meal.

You can also work with your dietitian to create healthy dessert substitutions. Not only will you be saving money, but you will avoid the stress of having to make a reservation weeks in advance. And most importantly, you will be keeping your blood glucose levels in control.

Dining in at home will be much more relaxing and you will prevent the risk of disappoint that some V-day restaurant diners experience. You can choose the lighting, music, menu, and decorations. No need to worry about cheesy or cliché love songs. And above all else, nothing says “I love you” more than taking the time to make a special meal for the person you love.

If you have any questions about your diet, a registered dietitian can be used as a good source of information. Make an appointment with one of Joslin’s certified diabetes educator dietitians by calling (617) 732-2440, or learn more by visiting us online.

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