Being diagnosed with diabetes is often associated with a severely restricted diet. Pasta, bread and desserts are considered forbidden as long-term exposure to high blood sugar levels can lead to damage to kidneys, eyes, nerves and cardiovascular system in diabetics.
However, there is space in a diabetic’s diet for an occasional piece of candy. Picking the right sweet is key to including it as a special treat or rare snack. Snacking on candy that includes fruit or nuts can actually help keep blood sugar levels from dropping too low between meals.
Fruit is a good source of fiber that helps slow the absorption of glucose, which helps control blood sugar spikes, and eating nuts every day has been found to help control Type 2 diabetes.
While you can buy sugar-free and special diabetic candy in stores, making your own candy at home gives you the control of the ingredients that go into the final product. Homemade candy is can be tailored to address any allergies you or your family might have. You can reduce the amount of sugar or use a sugar substitute in the candy, increasing its diabetes-friendliness.
Satisfy your sweet tooth with these easy recipes to get you started on making candy at home.
Diabetic Peanut Butter Candy
- 2 tbsp. peanut butter (or other nut butter of preference)
- 2 tbsp. milk (or milk substitute)
- 2 tbsp. raisins (or other dried fruit like cranberries, blueberries, chopped up apricots)
- 1 medium graham cracker, broken into small pieces
- ½ tsp. liquid artificial sweetener of choice
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- Blend nut butter with one tablespoon of milk until smooth.
- Mix raisins and graham cracker crumbs into the creamed nut butter, then add the other tablespoon of milk and vanilla.
- Slowly add in sweetener—taste as you add, as you may not need as much as listed.
- Roll the mixture into balls and set on a cookie sheet or other flat surface to chill in the refrigerator.
Chocolate Bark With Dried Cherries and Orange Peel
- ¾ cup dried cherries (or substitute with dried fruit of choice, chopped if larger pieces)
- 1 tsp. fresh orange zest
- 24 ounces bitter or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped, divided into 18 ounce and 6 ounce portions
- ¾ cup of nuts of choice, chopped (optional)
- Line a flat pan or baking sheet with foil.
- Divide the dried fruit (and nuts, if you are using them) into two equal portions; stir orange zest into one half.
- Melt the 18 ounce portion of chocolate in a microwave on low, stirring every 30 seconds to ensure that it melts evenly. Once chocolate is fully melted, stir in the other 6 ounces of chocolate, slowly, until all chocolate is melted and smooth.
- Add the fruit (and nut) mixture that has the orange zest to the chocolate and stir.
- Quickly scrape the chocolate mixture onto the foil lined baking sheet, spreading it to an even thickness across the pan (ideally about ¼ of an inch).
- Sprinkle the other half of the fruit (and nut) mixture over the top of the chocolate, and gently pat it down into the chocolate. Refrigerate until it sets (about 20 minutes).
- Turn the pan over onto a large cutting board and peel off the pan and foil, and then either use a sharp knife to cut the hardened chocolate into pieces, or break off hunks with your hands.
- Keep uneaten portions in the refrigerator.
Sugar-free Gummy Candy
- 1 6 oz. package sugar-free flavored gelatin, any flavor
- ½ cup cold water
- 2-3 packages unflavored gelatin (depending on how firm you want the final result)
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 2 – 3 candy molds
- Mix plain gelatin, flavored gelatin and cold water in a saucepan.
- Cook mixture over a medium flame and stir until all gelatin is dissolved, then remove from heat.
- Spray the candy molds with nonstick cooking spray and pour the mixture into the molds.
- Allow the liquid to cool before moving the molds to the freezer.
- Remove after 10 to 12 minutes, or when solid.
- Carefully remove from the molds. Extras can be stored at room temperature.
While having too much candy too often can drastically affect your blood sugar levels and exacerbate your diabetes, the occasional treat keeps you from feeling deprived. You can eat some of your favorite candy bars, but for a safer, healthier treat, make your own diabetic-friendly treats at home.
Guest Author: Marcela De Vivo is a freelance writer in California who specializes in health, marketing and tech. She enjoys making homemade diabetic-friendly candy and uses a unique candy display when giving these treats as gifts to her friends and family.