Easter Sunday is traditionally accompanied by a big, delicious honeyed ham dinner and a basket full of tasty treats. But when your child has diabetes it can be particularly difficult deciding what’s best for you and your family to eat.
Even though ham is considered the classic Easter dish, why not try something new this year? You could cook up a unique turkey or beef tenderloin dish. Turkey is a great addition to people with diabetes’ diet. White turkey meat (without skin) is low in fat and high in protein. It is a good source of iron, zinc, phosphorus, potassium, and B vitamins. If you’d rather try a beef tenderloin dish choose lean cuts! Grilling, broiling, stir-frying, roasting, and braising are all good methods of preparing lean cuts of beef.
Accompany whichever dish you choose with non-starchy vegetables and whole grains for a well-balanced meal. Check out some of Joslin’s cookbooks, or do some research on the Internet to find recipes that are healthy, and low in carbohydrates and fat. But if you want to stick with the traditional ham meal, switch up your usual dish and experiment with some of these diabetes-friendly ham recipes.
Encourage children to focus on the Easter egg hunt rather than all the sweets. Candy isn’t what makes an Easter egg hunt fun—it’s the thrill of searching for the hidden gifts in the morning! Instead of putting Easter candy in the eggs, focus on other small gifts instead. For younger children you can include Easter stickers or dress-up jewelry. For older children you can include money, gift cards, or makeup.
And your child can still indulge in some sweets this Easter if you help them splurge smartly. It’s a special occasion after all. Look for low carb versions of their favorite treats so they can savor some sweets with less of an impact on their glucose levels. Also look for sugar-free versions of some popular Easter candy for a diabetes-friendly Easter basket.
Sugar-free versions of some of the more popular Easter treats, such as Peeps, are now offered to suit the needs of people with diabetes. Godiva and Dove also both offer sugar-free varieties of candy. You can find good selections of sweets for people with diabetes right alongside the regular sweets in most candy or grocery stores with dessert isles. Whether you choose sugar-free candies or the regular versions, check the label for the carb content and other nutrition information. Remember no sugar added does not mean that it is carb free.
One of the most tempting treats on Easter is chocolate Easter bunnies. Look for chocolate with higher amounts of cocoa because the sugar and fat content is often lower. For high cocoa solids content, dark chocolate is usually a good pick.
Also consider baking some treats to put into your child’s Easter basket—this will allow you to control the amount sugar that goes into your child’s basket.
If your child has siblings, be sure to tone down the candy content in their Easter baskets as well to avoid making anyone feel left out.
Keep in my mind that moderation is key. Get the facts about these sugary foods to help you figure out how your child can work a small portion of it into their meal plan for the day without disrupting their blood glucose levels.
Have a happy, healthy Easter!