Healthy Eating: Following a Diabetic Diet
Diabetics need to avoid sugar, both by itself and in sugary foods, although some diabetics can take very small amounts.
- Fresh or dried fruit and fruit sugar (fructose) can be useful substitutes for sugar in cooking, but they are still high in calories, so it’s best not to use them in very large quantities.
- Sorbitol (a product made from sugar but more slowly absorbed) can take the place of ordinary sugar in baking. Buy it from a chemist or a health food store.
Special diabetic products
Most chemists and food shops now keep a good range of diabetic products but they can be expensive and are mostly no lower in calories than non-diabetic foods. A better idea may be to look for ordinary low-fat, low-sugar options such as jam without added sugar, diet drinks or tinned fruit in natural juice. Read the labels thoroughly, though-many surprising foods such as tomato sauce and peanut butter may contain sugar.
If you don’t like diet drinks, try fizzy mineral water mixed with unsweetened fruit juice instead.
Diabetics can teach the rest of the family
A diabetic diet is a healthy diet, low in fat and sugar and high in fibre. So if the whole family adopts a diabetic or nearly diabetic eating plan with regular meals everyone will benefit, and there will be no need to cook separately.
It’s hard to be left out when your friends pass round cakes and sweets, so make a special effort to bake sugar-free biscuits and cakes for a diabetic child’s lunchbox, and to pack alternative treats such as nuts or diabetic chocolate now and again.
Explain the child’s condition to teachers and mothers of friends so that they know what is safe to offer when you’re not there.
DO NOT make changes to a diabetic person’s diet without first consul ting their doctor or dietician.