Diabetes Self-Management Articles

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Lightening Up Your Holiday Favorites

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Sugar and fat are what make many holiday treats taste so good. They’re also what can lead to high blood glucose and weight gain. But there are ways to get a great taste while replacing or reducing sugar, fat, or both.


Sugar is important in baked foods for browning, volume, tenderness, and moistness. Replace only part of the sugar with low-calorie sweeteners in baked foods like cakes, cookies, muffins, and quick breads.

Replace all of the sugar with low-calorie sweeteners when sugar is primarily used for the sweet taste. The following foods can usually be sweetened with only low-calorie sweeteners:

  • Fruit fillings for pies and cobblers
  • Custards
  • Puddings
  • Beverages
  • Frozen desserts
  • Sauces and marinades


Fat is important in baked goods for flavor, moisture, tenderness, and structure. Use low-fat yogurt or sour cream in place of regular sour cream in cookies and muffins. Replace half of the margarine, oil, or shortening in baked foods with fruit puree or applesauce in the following proportions:

  • ½ cup fruit puree (such as prune) to replace 1 cup fat
  • ½ cup applesauce to replace ½ cup fat

Replace 1 egg with 2 egg whites or ¼ cup egg substitute in baked or nonbaked foods.

Substitute low-fat or nonfat ingredients in nonbaked foods like banana cream pie, chocolate pudding, and chicken salad.

Reduce the amount of nuts by half in any type of recipe.



Return to Maintaining Your Health During the Holidays

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Statements and opinions expressed on this Web site are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the publishers or advertisers. The information provided on this Web site should not be construed as medical instruction. Consult appropriate health-care professionals before taking action based on this information.



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