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Dad is Diabetic-What Snacks Can He Have?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone, my dad has recently been diagnosed with diabetes, when I visit him I bring cookiies and hard candy (he has a sweet tooth ). Any suggestions of sugar free snacks, cookies, candy, maybe try something new, I could find Snackwells sugar free cookies but only in 2 flavors and the bags of sugar free candy are so small (and expensive). Thanks for your help.
post #2 of 13
Are you looking for stuff you can buy, or do you make the cookies you bring?
post #3 of 13
You know, it's really hard to give suggestions. I'm on a low-carb diet for life, and I'm in the same boat.

If you DO get him the sugar-free things, please be aware that they should be eaten in moderation, otherwise they are very much like a laxative since the carbs used in the process cannot be easily absorbed.

My only other suggestion is to give him one or two pieces of the good stuff and hope it satisfies him.
post #4 of 13
A close friend is a diabetic, and it's not so much about sugar as it is about carbs. When his wife serves snacks, she avoids sugary things, and moderates carb based things (chips, crackers, etc). I've seen her serve things like olives, fruit, veggies, cheeses, etc. She pushes proteins and veggies at meals. Regardless of the type of snack, you dad needs to count everything he eats and adjust his insulin accordingly.

Get away from junk food and start thinking of healthy alternatives.
post #5 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by emrldsky View Post
You know, it's really hard to give suggestions. I'm on a low-carb diet for life, and I'm in the same boat.

If you DO get him the sugar-free things, please be aware that they should be eaten in moderation, otherwise they are very much like a laxative since the carbs used in the process cannot be easily absorbed.

My only other suggestion is to give him one or two pieces of the good stuff and hope it satisfies him.

Also, many artificail sweeteners contain a stool-softener. I am diabetic, and rely heavily on these. When I first started eating Equal, for example, it kicked in, but, after about 1 month, I had no problem with the stool-softener part. However, Acsfulamane-K (sp.?), commonly used in store-baked baked goods, always has a laxative effect on me. (It is usually in those "no sugar added" baked goods.)

Things to watch out for:

1. "No sugar added" does not mean it is sugar-free; just has not had sugar added to the recipe (though many foods contain their own natural sugar, such as fruit). They usually have sugar substitutes added. Also, diabetics need to watch their fat intake, and many of these baked goods make up in added fat in what they give up in added sugar. The same with the candy bars, etc. Always read the nutrition labels. He may be better off, for example, with eating a smaller portion of a "real" candy bar, as opposed to the dietic ones.

2. Eat mostly fat-free, low-fat, low-sugar snacks, such as rice cakes. Quaker makes decent chocolate crunch/chip ones, which have little sugar (they may be fat-free; can't remember--mine are in my desk at work now, and I'm on vacation!). They are good for a quick choccy fix. I also snakc on those string cheese mozzarella sticks. Eat raw veggies as snacks, but also make sure they are counted in his exchange plan accordingly, as with anything he eats and drinks, even snacks.

3. I control my blood sugar by eating small meals on time, and never skipping them, even the 3 snacks a day part. I always keep something for snacks, at work and in my car and purse, as I have trouble with low blood-sugar episodes, too. Watch your portions; be aware that a portion size is usually for non-diabetics, esp. in restaurants. Ask for a doggie bag. (I do this a LOT, as I eat out just about once a day. I can get 3 meals out of a big plate of pasta, for example.)

4. Watch those starches, too! Potatoes, peas, corn, etc, may be considered veggies, but they are starchy ones; the same for fruit, such as bananas. Count them as such in his diet plan.

5. Does he have a dietician yet? Everyone is different; what make make my blood-sugar rise rapidly may not make someone else's do so. Does he test his blood-sugar a few times a day? He may need to experiment to see what his trigger foods are, too.

6. A diagnosis of diabetes can be very scary, but trust me, with proper control of your diet, exercise, losing weight, and eating a varied, healthy low-fat, low-sugar diet, you can triumph over diabetes. You can't as of yet cure it, but you can control it, and be very healthy. However, you must be strict with yourself--you have the power to make the best of diabetes, or the worst of it--it's up to us. I have seen so many diabetics make excuses for not eating properly, or for gaining weight, then complain about being sick, or having high sugars. No excuses! Sure, you can have a "real" treat once in awhile, but not every day. You can be your best friend or your worst enemy with this disease. It's our choice. I take it very seriously, and have for 11 years now.

7. JoAnn Lund writes excellent cookbooks featuring low-fat, sugar-free/low-sugar recipes; my fave is Cooking healthy with a man in mind; you get HUGE portions! This is a great all-around cookbok; she also lists the exchanges for each recipe. I highly recommend this book! I use it a lot; even when I had no man to cook for!

If you need any other advice, please feel free to pm me!
post #6 of 13
Three things that I find extremely helpful:

1. Apples. If you leave the peel on (washing them really well, of course), they have so much fiber that the sugars are largely countered. And if you can get Honeycrisp apples (they're in season right now!)... why, there's just no better apple on the planet!

2. Smucker's Natural Peanut Butter. It's unsweetened, and it's not hydrogenated like the peanut butters of our youth (hydrogenation is very bad for your heart, and it may be carcinogenic, too). The first time you taste it, it may seem strange that it isn't sweet, but your taste very quickly adjusts.

3. Apples AND Smucker's Natural Peanut Butter TOGETHER! Just dip chunks of apple into the peanut butter... it's delicious and healthy, full of fiber and protein to counter the carbs... a great snack, and I love it for breakfast, too.
post #7 of 13
Type 2 I'm assuming?

My mom is type 2 - so long as he can maintain self control & only eat one, he can have "the real stuff". Be cautious with "sugar free" - it messes with the digestive tract - meaning the runs & gas.
post #8 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by CarolPetunia View Post
Three things that I find extremely helpful:

1. Apples. If you leave the peel on (washing them really well, of course), they have so much fiber that the sugars are largely countered. And if you can get Honeycrisp apples (they're in season right now!)... why, there's just no better apple on the planet!

2. Smucker's Natural Peanut Butter. It's unsweetened, and it's not hydrogenated like the peanut butters of our youth (hydrogenation is very bad for your heart, and it may be carcinogenic, too). The first time you taste it, it may seem strange that it isn't sweet, but your taste very quickly adjusts.

3. Apples AND Smucker's Natural Peanut Butter TOGETHER! Just dip chunks of apple into the peanut butter... it's delicious and healthy, full of fiber and protein to counter the carbs... a great snack, and I love it for breakfast, too.
Also, the fiber and pectin in apples had been proven to help lower blood sugar, as well as the spices ginger and cinnamon in baked goods.
post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the help everyone. Dad is in a nursing home and I would always bring cookies, now I'm not sure what to bring. I will read labels as suggested.
post #10 of 13
I'm type 2, and honestly, I'd stay away from the sugar-free stuff - it's total carbs more than sugars that count. You've gotten many good insights above. If he's got a dietician or diabetes educator assigned already, I'd try to contact her to get ideas of what might work in your dad's particular case.

You might try the American Diabetes Association web site for some background and nutritional hints, or, I bet your local hospital has a diabetes education unit which may be able to help you. Most diabetes units are thrilled to talk with the families, to help support the person with diabetes.
post #11 of 13
What darlili says is right on target -- and it's relatively new thinking, so please be sure any books you buy on the subject are copyrighted within the past couple of years.
post #12 of 13
Well it may be difficult to suggest brands as you are in a different country. But pretty much anywhere that sells health food like the supermarket, pharmacy etc, will have certain foods with labels on them such as 'sugar free' 'diabetic friendly' etc. My father was diagnosed with it about 5 years ago from unhealthy living. A big no no is overloading on juice and fruit. Whilst they are healthy, they are packed full of natural sugars. Also while yoghurts say 'low fat' that doesn't mean they're low sugar, read your labels carefully. The given is chocolate and other sweets. Though there are ones that are replaced with artificial sweetener or absolutely sugar free, try some carob which is natural. If your father likes sugar in his coffee/tea, get him to buy sweetener tablets. They're not expensive, and a tiny tablet has the same sweetness as 1 or 2 teaspoons of sugar. Watch out for cereal labels as well. If he likes fizzy drinks, get him to have the sugar free ones, or the natural mineral water types, there are alot of low joule avaliable. Or he can make his own with a little fruit juice mixed with soda water. Find any books you can on the subject too.

I hope this helps.
post #13 of 13
I strongly second the suggestion of a diabetes educator and/or a nutritionist. The local hospital should have one. The nursing home may be able to help with that, too, as his diet would likely have to be adjusted.

Anything with 'sugar alcohols' in them can cause digestive distress and/or diarrhea... I found out the hard way.

If he can't restrain himself, cookies are NOT a good idea. A diabetes educ or the American Diabetes Assoc may help you with recipes that are higher-in-fiber "sweet treats" that may not spike his sugar ...

He needs to limit total carbs and can do that with an appropriate eating plan again worked out by an expert.
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