Diabetics, Have your cake and eat it too!

People with diabetes do not have to give up sweets, desserts and tasty foods around the holidays, or any time for that matter.  Instead, all they need to do is eat smaller portions, and/or make wise substitutions when baking or cooking around the holidays, as well as all year long.  The chart below shows just how easy and tasty simple modifications of favorite recipes can be, with calorie savings that will take anyone into the New Year  and beyond without weight gain.

Lighten Up Your Favorite Foods: 

INSTEAD OF REPLACE OR REDUCE (with equivalent amounts, unless specified) CALORIE SAVINGS FAT (g) SAVINGS

Butter or shortening    (1 cup)

 (in pie crusts and cookies)

Reduce to ½ + add ½ cup unsweetened applesauce*

800 90

Oil (1 cup)

 (in cakes & muffins)

Replace with unsweetened applesauce* or reduce amount of oil by half

1845973 220110

Butter/Margarine/Oil  (2 Tbsp)

(for sautéing)

Replace with broth or non-stick cooking spray

54 472

Cream of Mushroom Soup (1 cup)

Replace with 98% fat-free Cream of Mushroom Soup

113 10

Heavy cream (1 cup)

Replace with 1 cup evaporated skim milk

600 96

Sour cream (2 Tbsp)

Replace with fat-free sour cream

32 5

Cream cheese (8 oz)

Replace with fat-free cream cheese

960 112

Egg (1)

Replace with 2 egg whites

36 5

Mayonnaise (1 Tbsp)

Replace with fat-free mayonnaise

190 11

Whole milk (1 cup)

Replace with skim milk

65 8

Whipped cream (2 Tbsp)

Replace with fat-free whipped cream

10 1.5

Cheddar cheese (1 oz)

Replace with low-fat cheddar cheese

56 7

Mixed nuts for snacking (4 oz)

Replace with ½ cup raw vegetables & 4 T low-fat dip

620 50

Unsweetened chocolate (1 oz)

Replace with 3 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

80 14

Nuts for baking (1 cup)

Reduce to ½ cup

400 40

Sugar (1 cup)

Replace with Splenda®  (save 192 g carbohydrate)

or Reduce by half (save 96 g carbohydrate)

768384 00

Chocolate Chips (1 cup)

Reduce to ½ cup (save 72 g carbohydrate)

560 32 

Additional Baking Tips:

  • When substituting ingredients in certain recipes, consider the role of the ingredient and what the food is.  In cookie recipes, fat provides structure therefore it may be more difficult to modify cookie recipes than cake recipes, where fat provides only moisture.
  • Sugar in baked goods provide texture and volume.  For optimum results, only substitute half the amount of sugar with Splenda®  (not all sugar substitutes can stand heat).
  • Where sugar provides only sweetening (e.g. a pie), all of the sugar can be replaced with Splenda®.
  • Because low-fat ingredients, like reduced-fat margarines and egg substitutes contain more water than full-fat versions, it may be necessary to add a few extra tablespoons of flour or cornstarch to keep the product from being too moist.
  • To avoid rubbery or less tender baked goods, avoid over-mixing and/or substitute with cake flour
  • To increase fiber content, consider substituting up to half the flour with whole wheat flour.
  • To improve quality of the modified baked goods, lower the baking temperature and increase the baking time.
  • To remove excess liquid in applesauce or fruit purees, use a cheesecloth or coffee filter to drain the excess liquid.

By Cheryl Winter, MS RD, MS APRN, CDE, BC-ADM, FNP-BC


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