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2davidc8's avatar

What are some goodies that are appropriate to give to a diabetic?

Asked by 2davidc8 (4171 points ) December 13th, 2012

This is my second Christmas in this neighborhood. Last year, I found out that it is customary to exchange plates or small packages of edibles at Christmas in this neighborhood. Nothing fancy or expensive, just some good stuff to eat that one has discovered during the past year. As I recall, most things were in the category of sweets or desserts.

However, I also found out that one of my neighbors is a diabetic. What can I give him?

I’m not up for baking anything with artificial sweeteners because I’ve never done this, and I won’t have the time to experiment. Also, I don’t want to be stuck with leftover sweetener that I won’t have any use for.

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32 Answers

filmfann's avatar

You can buy sugar free candies at most stores

Bellatrix's avatar

What about nuts?

cookieman's avatar

Nuts are good.
Pecan-loving diabetic in the house

josie's avatar

First of all, it’s the thought that matters most.
Second, they probably already know how to manage the occasional goodie anyway. Just keep the portions small. Make little cookies.
If you don’t want to have left over sweetener, pick up a few extra packets of it next time you go someplace where people buy coffee. I’ve done that at Starbucks. I tip the server to offset my thievery.
http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/what-can-i-eat/sweeteners-and-desserts.html

bookish1's avatar

Is he type 1 or type 2? Type 1s often have more flexibility in what they can eat and tend to have more self control by default because they’ll die much more quickly if they don’t.

Nuts is a very good idea. Pecans, walnuts, cashews…. If you want to be fancy, you could buy some raw nuts like almonds or hazelnuts and toast them yourself, spray on a bit of cooking oil, and salt and season them!
Sugar free candy is tricky. It’s a widespread marketing gimmick in America right now, and not all sugar free candy is made equal. I advise against it.
How about some banana bread or something relatively low carb like that?
Biscotti are generally pretty low sugar for ‘sweets’.

It would be very nice, if you end up following a recipe, if you are able to provide the nutrition facts, especially total grams of carbohydrate (which are often provided for online recipes.)

JLeslie's avatar

I would say a basket with fruits, cheeses, sausage. This time of year is great for beautiful apples or grapefruits. I know fruit has sugar as well, but I would assume diabetics can manage that easily. Winter fruits tend to have a long life when kept in the right temperature, so they don’t have to eat it right away. I am not diabetic and would rather get “food” than sweets. Nuts are another great idea, which were mentioned above. They have nut gifts that have two or three types in a tin. You could get one sweet and one salty or spicy in a package.

janbb's avatar

I would go with fruit too. Diabetics have to watch their fruit but in my understanding fruit is good when they are low.

marinelife's avatar

Nuts, cheeses, meats.

The Cheesecake Factory sells either whole or by the slice a sugar-free, low-carb cheesecake that is delicious.

bookish1's avatar

Another idea I just thought of, it you are a cooking type, is to make some pasta sauce or something similar.

wildpotato's avatar

How about a popcorn mix? I know most of the commercially available ones have a caramel corn wedge in the circle, but you could definitely make the mix at home instead and evade the caramel. That way you can make it air-popped, which is much more healthy anyway. You could do cinnamon powder with a tiny bit of sugar in one wedge, kettle corn topping in another (kettle corn topping can supposedly be made sugar free), light olive oil with salt-free spices or herbs in a third, and a section of plain.

There are some recipes here. I was hoping to find one that incorporates a light cheese powder, but I’m having a tough time finding any on Google, so maybe cheese popcorn is a no.

gailcalled's avatar

Does it have to be food?

My favorite small gift is one (or two) new, pretty dishtowels and/or potholders

And I would avoid commercial sausages because of the 1) meat, 2) sodium nitrate, 3) sodium nitrate and 4) sodium. Processed cheese is also very salty.

Jeruba's avatar

I’d go ahead and give the cookies if something else means singling him out. He might like to have something that he can offer to guests himself, and he probably won’t like everybody trying to manage him.

If he’s watching his diet carefully, he will probably also be avoiding yummy things loaded with fat, such as nuts and cheese and sausages. Fruit is a good alternative, though.

JLeslie's avatar

I love getting things like new dishtowels.

If you go nonfood you can fill up a bag or basket with all sorts of stuff. Gel eyemask, hand lotion, magazines (if you know their interests) brainteaser type books, etc. In fact, if you are not a foody yourself, you can give everyone a similar type basket that is not food. You can easily put together a gift just in the supermarket. That can be your gift to the neighbors, whichever theme you choose, I don’t see why it has to be food? Although, I do understand food can be helpful during this busy time of year, and it is neat to discover new products that friends have found to be very yummy.

When I worked in retail at Christmas time all the vendors would bring in cookies and chocolates and we all began to complain about eating crap food all the time. We would have loved a deli or veggi platter once in a while. Christmas is already full of bad for you food.

2davidc8's avatar

Thank you all for your great suggestions! I knew I could count on my fellow jellies! I neglected to mention that my diabetic neighbor is male and is 80 years old.

creative1's avatar

How about I nice cheese log or assorted cheese and meat basket

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2davidc8's avatar

@creative1 Yes! Didn’t think of a cheese log. So many great suggestions to choose from here. Thank you all.

@bookish1 Not sure what type he is, but I’ll try to stay away from giving him sweets in any case.

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bookish1's avatar

@2davidc8 : He’s likely a type 2. There’s a good many no-sugar ideas on this thread :)

sinscriven's avatar

Splenda works measure for measure like sugar, and is commonly used in baking. So substitutions can be minor. There’s also a ton of diabetic friendly recipes if you do some googling.

Be careful with sugarfree candies. What they lack in sugar they make up for in fat and can be even more unhealthy than just having small portions of the regular thing, plus sorbitol when eaten in enough amounts causes the runs.

Fruits, sausage, and cheeses are safe bets as has been mentioned above.

For T2s it’s more about portion control than ‘zomg carbs’ if they’re being managed properly.

2davidc8's avatar

@bookish1 Pasta sauce is a great idea, and I also like the popcorn, nuts, and fruit ideas.
Crackers and cheese are also definite possibilities.

Jeruba's avatar

Again, cheese is loaded with fat…nuts too. Bad if you are watching your caloric intake. Sugar is not the only problem! Cheese, nuts, and sausages are all apt to be off the diet.

I know diabetics who haven’t had a problem cutting sugar but find that giving up or cutting back on cheese is difficult or impossible. A big old hunk of cheese would be a terrible temptation.

He’s 80? Give him four pretty holiday cookies on a fancy paper plate, wrapped in red cellophane that’s gathered and tied on top in a big bow with a sprig of pine or fir in it. The wrappings are half the present, entertaining in their own right.

Wait, make it five—one on top in the middle. They won’t kill him.

gailcalled's avatar

^^^Don’t forget the high sodium content in those gift package cheese logs or sausages or processed meats, also.

bookish1's avatar

Wow, guess I’m lucky to be a type 1 since my doctor has never told me to cut out cheese and nuts O_O

Bellatrix's avatar

Actually nuts can be beneficial to people with diabetes (1 or 2 I would say). For instance, this research found nuts such as “raw almonds, pistachios, walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, peanuts, cashews, and macadamias” can help people to control their blood glucose levels. This research suggests peanuts are okay but they are actually legumes and I would suggest not buying them.

I do agree they can be high in fat, so the key (as with anything) is moderation. However, a small portion of nuts can be useful in helping some people manage their blood sugar levels.

Totally agree on not giving cheese and sausage though @Jeruba. Apart from the fat, you also don’t know what else is in sausages. Commercially made sausages can contain corn syrup and sugar.

Really, if he has reached his 80s, I am sure he knows how to manage his diabetes and diet. I agree with @Jeruba – buy him a small quantity of high quality biscuits or even some good quality dark chocolate. He undoubtedly knows how to manage his own health and diet.

I wouldn’t recommend a lot of the ‘sugar-free’ options. They often taste horrible and can give some people diarrhea (I can never spell that word!).

Jeruba's avatar

Thanks for the clarification, @Bellatrix. And yes, if you were this man’s dietitian, you might recommend that he have one or two nuts as part of a meal.

But I doubt that anyone wants the neighbors to play at being dietary managers. It’s not much of a holiday treat to ring a man’s doorbell and offer him two almonds or a pair of cashews. This is about a neighborly gift exchange, and in my opinion it’s the gesture that counts as much as anything, and not the reminder that he has medical concerns (and that everyone in the neighborhood is discussing his eating habits).

Bellatrix's avatar

I couldn’t agree more @Jeruba. I think your biscuit idea is perfectly appropriate.

See my earlier post.

Really, if he has reached his 80s, I am sure he knows how to manage his diabetes and diet. I agree with @Jeruba – buy him a small quantity of high quality biscuits or even some good quality dark chocolate. He undoubtedly knows how to manage his own health and diet.

bookish1's avatar

@Jeruba: ”One or two nuts as part of a meal” ?
Maybe it’s because my blood sugar’s low right now, but you’ve lost me there.
Diabetes is a problem of not being able to process sugar. Diabetics are not put on some special no-fat diet. I have seen numerous diabetes nutritionists and have never been advised to cut out nuts and cheese entirely or to limit my consumption to one or two nuts… O_o

Jeruba's avatar

@bookish1, I was responding to @Bellatrix‘s comment: “Actually nuts can be beneficial to people with diabetes (1 or 2 I would say).” Maybe she meant type 1 or 2, but it sounded like a reference to quantity.

Weight in general is a concern with many diabetics, and losing or controlling weight is a big part of managing it. It’s not just the immediate processing of sugar but of keeping weight within healthy limits. If your doctor says “Lose 50 pounds and you can probably get off the meds,” that’s going to take more than just watching out for sugar. You can’t eat all the cheese and nuts you want and think you’re on a diet just because you choose sugar-free candy.

Bellatrix's avatar

I did mean Type 1 or 2 @Jeruba. Sorry, I just assumed (and I should know better to assume) that you would make the connection to Type 1 or 2 Diabetes.

bookish1's avatar

@Jeruba: Thank you for explaining. I certainly understand the effects of weight on diabetes. I’ve been able to cut my daily dose of long term insulin in half thanks to losing 20 pounds. However, I still agree with @Bellatrix‘s comment that diabetics should be trusted to know how to do their own portion control and follow a nutrition plan.

Jeruba's avatar

@bookish1, I agree—which is why I’ve been saying just give him the cookies and let him manage his own diet. I would hate it if my neighbors appointed themselves to protect me from dietary indiscretions.

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