Every year, Americans celebrate National Dessert Day (October 14) by sampling a full menu of sweets. Do you know which American age group is most likely to pick up their dessert fork or to dip a spoon in some dessert decadence?
Market research company NPD Group has been following the eating habits of Americans for 30 years. The firm discovered that people age 65 or above are the most dessert-wild consumers at the dinner table. But for many of us who are diabetic or need to follow a specialized diet that restricts consumption of sugar-packed foods, satisfying a sweet tooth can be a dilemma.
Don’t get us wrong. We are not giving up desserts. We simply employ four “sugar strategies” when it comes to sweet treats:
- Balance out sweets. Limit the portion size of dessert and cut back on carbs in the meal. Always check with a doctor about the best dietary plan, and save dessert for special occasions instead of consuming them on a regular basis.
- Shop for sugar-free alternatives such as sugar-free cake and instant-pudding mixes with carbs already counted.
- Use sugar-substitute recipes. Cooking and baking resources for those who have diabetes or those following high-protein diets typically list sugar, carbs, fat and calorie amounts. For some homemade-baked goods, sugary ingredients can be replaced with unsweetened applesauce or no-sugar-added fruit juice concentrate. For example, a two-thirds cup of chopped processed dates are a sweet substitute for one cup of regular sugar. Puréed bananas or apricots also eliminate the need for sugar in recipes.
- Throw in some fruit. A parfait of fresh mixed berries with a dollop of low-fat vanilla yogurt can deliciously satisfy a sweet tooth at breakfast, lunch or dinner. Fresh berries also hit the spot as a vitamin-enriched, antioxidant snack.
May you all be free to raise your dessert fork or spoon any day with these sugar-substitute tricks! Please share your diabetes dessert recipes and ideas with us!
A Bite of Dessert History
In ancient civilizations, diners enjoyed an occasional sweet treat of fruit or nuts rolled in honey. Although Southeast Asia first refined sugar cane around 8,000 B.C., it wasn’t until the Middle Ages that sugar was commercially produced. But only the wealthy could partake in sweets made with the tasty granules. The Chinese invented flavored ice, the original formula of our modern-day ice cream. Mexico and Central America are credited with creating chocolate in the form of a spicy cinnamon and cocoa bean drink. Europe, of course, is replete with a flavorful history of éclairs to petite fours. Even though the United States lays claim to “American as apple pie,” the first printed recipe for “tartys in applis,” or apple pie, was published in 1381 in England.
An award-winning journalist who has documented stories in nearly 20 countries, Beth Lueders is an author, writer and speaker who frequently reports on diverse topics, including aging and health issues for both U.S. and international corporations.