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Diabetic Dessert for Party

I'm planning a dessert party and recently found out that one of our guests is diabetic. I was planning on having a fresh fruit platter, but what else can I serve that is diabetic friendly? Would a cheese platter work? Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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  1. cheese absolutely would be fine, along with some nuts. if you're so inclined there are plenty of decent recipes for sugar-free cheesecake that taste quite good too.

    1 Reply
    1. Sugar-free cheesecake is great for diabetics. i also make a sugar-free cheesecake mousse that is super easy - you just whip 12 oz of cream cheese until smooth, then add a little artificial sweetener and the flavoring of your choice (I like lime juice, a couple of tablespoons). Whip 8 oz of heavy cream to stiff peaks and fold into cream cheese mixture, taste for sweetness, then spoon into ramekins and refrigerate. This makes four to six generous servings.

      6 Replies
      1. re: biondanonima

        I have used Splenda successfully in a gelatin/whipped cream lemon mousse, and my friend who is, as we say, a very britttle diabetic and extremely conscious of what she eats, scarfed it down and things went well afterwards. I don't have the recipe here, but it's from one of the very early Maida Heatter books, Great Desserts or the second Great Desserts. A long recipe, but she's very easy to cook/bake from because she gives careful details and lots of reassurance.

        And something like pumpkin pie could easily be used with Splenda. Your options are wider than just fruit and nuts. That cheesecake is a good idea. Or you could use a regular recipe and the granulated S'da. NAYYY, I've just learned successfully!

        1. re: biondanonima

          Personally, I can't stand any sugar substitute, it has such an after taste, that stays with me all day. I am 2 and I find I would rather have a small taste of the real thing than a large piece of sugar free . Fruit is okay, strawberries, cantaloupe are good. Believe it or not whipped cream has very little carbs and is away to add flavor. Maybe serve some flavored coffees. Small pieces of dark chocolate is good and lower in carbs.

          1. re: paprkutr

            I was thinking of a coffee bar. I did not know that dark chocolate would be acceptable. I will certainly do that.

            1. re: DaisyM

              Dark chocolate, like 70% and above is fine, and it's not only ok, it's good for you. It's not just for breakfast any more! ;-)

              1. re: mcf

                ♥ that answer mcf!!! I've inched my way up to 90% dark now...only 1 or 2 squares as it's very intense, satiates me nicely. I've discovered a Polish producer "Wawel" that I am lucky to find here at a European grocery store.

                1. re: Val

                  I have, too, but it depends upon the varietal or the brand. I like 85% a lot of the time, 90% not as often. 70% seems way too sweet, and 68% extremely so. I only eat small bits, too. I have a large stash, and it lasts.

        2. I made a sugar free pumpkin roll for my cousin who was diabetic using splenda; I've also made a carrot cake

          1. fresh fruit salad with apples, oranges, pears, grapes, grapefruit, & some mint

            8 Replies
            1. re: escargot3

              Not diabetic friendly, though sounds delicious. Most diabetics tolerate very small pieces of a few fruits, like berries or melon, but oranges, pears, grapes, very few can eat without a bad glucose reading to follow.

              Cheesecake and boule de neige translate very well to low carb, as do mousses, and pudding-y type things. Pumpkin cheesecake works well, too, the pumpkin is pretty low carb as it's high in fiber. Or pumpkin pie.

              1. re: mcf

                I'm sorry to disagree with you on this one. The fruits I listed are just fine for folks with type 2.
                It's all about limited amounts of carbohydrates and sugar.
                And certain fruits are better than others. mango, pineapple, watermelon are best avoided.
                the ones I posted are fine. Even people with Type 2 can and should have some fruit in their diet.

                1. re: escargot3

                  I'm type 2 and for me all the fruits you list are out. In fact, for all intents and purposes, all fruits are out. Best I can do is a half of a very small raw apple. And small amounts of citrus juices used in recipes are ok, but fruit juice to drink is not. So no fruit salad here. Hell, even a raw carrot will shoot my numbers up. Only way I can do fruit is about a quarter cup of raw fruit with a very large amount of protein. Hugely sucks since I make all kinds of jam for my B&B.

                  DaisyM, go with the cheesecake. Orange, or lemon, or lime. Do it on a nut crust.

                  1. re: escargot3

                    My meter, and those of pretty much all the type 2 DMs I know disagree. I suppose it depends on your goals; I keep my bg in the non diabetic range with diet alone, not meds.

                    1. re: mcf

                      all i can say is that my sister is type 2 and these fruits (apple, pear, orange) are part of the proscribed diet.
                      and yes, we know all carbs are sugar.

                      1. re: escargot3

                        Proscribed means forbidden/prohibited.

                      2. re: mcf

                        Right there with you mcf. I can do berries and apples, but the rest of the fruits tend to spike my blood sugar as well.

                      3. re: escargot3

                        Add me in about your list of acceptable items on a diabetic's fruit tray. Those fruits have so much sugar in them that the diabetic might as well have a small piece of pie or cake.

                        And about the "Even people with Type 2 can and should have some fruit in their diet" assertion. For some people, fruit is just a fructose-delivery system. Juice and whole fruit are not essential for health, no matter how much we might like them.

                  2. desserts can't be "diabetic," but people can have diabetes. Many people with diabetes have no problem eating regular desserts as part of counting carbs and taking appropriate amounts of insulin. others restrict carbs for a variety of reasons. as someone with type 1 diabetes for 25+ years, I hate desserts with artificial sweeteners and "diabetic food" in general. I can eat any type of fruit or dessert, I just may take a smaller portion--or not. if you can ask your guest, do so. if not, a mixture of cheese and fruit sounds like a great ending to any party, no matter who the guests!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: cocktailhour

                      95% of diabetics are type 2 though, so carbohydrate restriction is more of a constant for those hoping to avoid diabetic complications. I dislike artificial sweeteners, too, and I rarely make or eat desserts, and I don't use much artificial sweetener. I use mostly a mix of sugar alcohols with a small amount of liquid sucralose to avoid the icky mouth feel and off taste I get from it. I reversed pre diagnosis kidney and nerve damage this way and control my bg with diet alone and no meds, so such diet modifications are really key for me, like other type 2s..

                    2. One of my closest friends has diabetes and I cook for her rather often.

                      I'm extremely picky about the quality of my cooking and baking, and the successful substitution of ingredients, and I can say that using the tips below have produced
                      desserts that are not only beautiful, but that everyone, including those who do not
                      have diabetes, enjoyed.

                      For desserts, instead of flour, I use ground almond meal (I get it at Trader Joe's).

                      Instead of butter (fat is also an issue for most persons with diabetes), I use the same amount of applesauce.

                      Instead of sugar, use Stevia (much success with the Trader Joe's brand) but you must replace the volume of sugar (actually a liquid volume, because sugar dissolves) with something else. For this, I add an extra egg (1/4 cup) and the rest again is applesauce.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: maria lorraine

                        maria, i have the utmost respect for you, and probably agree with your posts about 99% of the time, but while the almond meal is a great diabetic-friendly flour substitute, all that applesauce can contribute too much sugar for some diabetics.

                        BTW, coconut flour is another great substitute and combines really well with almond meal.

                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                          Depends on the brand, I think. As always, check the label.

                          Remember, the total quantity of applesauce needs to be divided by the number of portions, thereby greatly reducing the quantity each person consumes. Often, it's only two tablespoons. Thanks for the compliment. Have greatly enjoyed your posts as well.

                          1. re: maria lorraine

                            of course portions are important, but even in unsweetened applesauce, 85% of the calories come from sugar. so although i agree that watching the added fats can be important for some diabetics, i don't know that replacing them with applesauce is any better. then again, someone who needs to watch their sugar *and* fat intake shouldn't be eating too many desserts anyway ;)

                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                              The substitutions I've offered work very well for persons with diabetes.
                              Actually the flour is more an issue than the applesauce, since the glycemic load is higher for the quantity of flour than applesauce. Since the flour is completely substituted, the small quantity of applesauce and its glycemic load is not an issue. I've researched the issue rather thoroughly, and once again checked some official resources, and the baking recipes often use unsweetened applesauce. Fructose, as well, causes less of a glycemic load than other sugars. Fat intake is an issue for those persons with diabetes; it prevents insulin from reaching the interior of cells.

                      2. I don't think watermelons are in season, but I've done this for my diabetic friend. Take a seedless watermelon and puree it in the food processor. Add Splenda to taste, a tiny splash of Limoncello, and an egg white. Throw in ice cream maker. Everyone loved this, even the non-diabetic guests. The recipe was given to me by a diabetic.

                        I've also done cannolis using Splenda, pistachios, and orange rind. You can play with the ingredients and use a little chocolate chips.

                        11 Replies
                        1. re: jindomommy

                          For the cheese platter, I'm assuming that a whole wheat bagguette would be the best choice? Perhaps some apple slices? Also, are there any brands of sugar free chocolate that you would suggest?

                          1. re: DaisyM

                            No, any sort of wheat tends to be as bad for a DM as table sugar, honestly, even straight bran.
                            I'd serve cheese cubes or hard cheeses with cheese knives and, if there are soft cheeses, Something like Nut Thins or Wasa or Finn Crisp rye.

                            1. re: mcf

                              I'm really learning a lot and I thank you for telling me.

                              1. re: DaisyM

                                Also, would red wine typically be a good choice? I was planning on having champagne and coffee, but could easily add red wine if that would work. Thanks again for your help.

                                1. re: DaisyM

                                  Yes, if it's dry, it's an excellent choice. Having it with a meal actually helps to control blood glucose post meal. You're a very thoughtful hostess, btw.

                                  1. re: mcf

                                    Thank you. I was really hesitant about going forward with a dessert party, but now I feel like there will be enough choices for my neighbor.

                              2. re: mcf

                                I agree with the Wasa crackers. When eaten (sparingly) with cheese they have very little effect on my numbers. On the other hand, anything soft bread-like, no matter how whole or multi-grain, wreaks havoc. Of those choices I do best on a dark, heavy pumpernickel made with an absolute minimum of sweetener to feed the yeast.

                                1. re: morwen

                                  I have to go very spare on Wasa, too. The whole kernel rye is ng for me, unfortunately; it's amazing, toasted with brie.

                              3. re: DaisyM

                                SF chocolate is gross, and not really lower in carbs than good dark chocolate 70% or above with a little sugar, which is surprisingly low carb and even has fiber in it.

                                1. re: mcf

                                  Can you eat quinoa pasta, mcf? Just wondering since you indicate that wheat crackers are not good for diabetics. Thanks!

                                  1. re: Val

                                    No, it's too carby and honestly, I don't miss pasta, bread, potatoes, etc. I have Carba Nada noodles in the house for very occasional use, but that's really rare. I put things over a bed of sauteed spinach or spaghetti squash, or eat Thai curry from a soup bowl, no rice. I just had leftover pot roast from last night over kabocha squash puree; usually it's rutabaga instead. Grains are not really suitable for diabetics, except maybe a tablespoon at a time. Compared to healthy carbs from veggies, grains are much higher in calories and comparatively nutrient impoverished, not a good bargain at all, nutritionally or metabolically.

                                    If I'm going to splurge on carbs, they're going to be in a truly worthy dessert. ;-)

                            2. I think this thread shows that there isn't a one size fits all diet for all diabetics. It might be best to check first with the guest. My father also avoids a lot of saturated fats so a cheese plate wouldn't get ideal for him. I've made pavlova and panna cotta for him, with Splenda. He'll have a small piece of splenda custard pie w/out the crust or with a nut crust. His new special treat is See's sugar free peanut brittle. He swears it's just like the real thing and he'd been missing it for 20 years.

                              12 Replies
                              1. re: chowser

                                "I think this thread shows that there isn't a one size fits all diet for all diabetics. It might be best to check first with the guest."
                                dingdingding! we have a winner :)

                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                  While it's true that each diabetic must use his/her meter to test which foods cause post meal spikes and those foods can be very different from person to person, certain things are true of all diabetics.

                                  It's a disease of failed carbohydrate metabolism, with the degree of disease varying from person to person and between types of diabetes.

                                  Carbohydrates are what raise blood glucose in type 2, fat and protein do not.

                                  1. re: mcf

                                    The reason why I think the disease varies so much (i.e., I agree with chowser) and why I suggested asking the guest is possible, is that different people do have different experiences with different foods. My bg does go up with fat and protein, in certain amounts. in fact, protein eventually convert to glucose during digestion. so, I have to take extra insulin to cover fats/protein. this is all directed through my doc, but it is absolutely not the right choice for everyone, bc not everyone needs insulin to cover protein/fat.

                                    DaisyM, I usually eat cheese without bread or crackers, by preference. Dark chocolate is a great choice, I think. you will have a great party!

                                    1. re: mcf

                                      As a Type 1, I know that protein and fat do raise bg's, albeit not until several hours later. There are many type 1 diabetics who do extended boluses for fat & protein. I am a member of Tudiabetes.org and there is a group called TAGers United (Total Available Glucose). This group discusses fine-tuning extended boluses to account for fat & protein conversion to glucose. Here is a link, if you're interested:


                                      Personally, I don't because that's just taking it a step farther than I care to, but many do. This was something I learned only recently.

                                      1. re: lynnlato

                                        That's why I specified type 2s. I know that up to 58% of protein is converted to glucose and type 1 has to cover that with insulin.

                                        1. re: mcf

                                          So, you're suggesting that fats & proteins don't affect bg for type 2's? If so, that's incorrect. Type 2's may not observe the affects because maybe they don't test as often, but the affects are the same nonetheless.

                                          1. re: lynnlato

                                            I'm not suggesting it, I'm referencing peer reviewed studies that demonstrated it conclusively. If a type 2 is very progressed to insulin dependence even with carb restriction, then that sub group might see a rise. I've been diabetic for at least two decades, controlled with no meds, diet alone and a protein and fat meal doesn't budge my meter at all, ever. Proactive type 2s test 8 times per day until discovering where their peak is and which foods elicit spikes and need to be avoided. That's how I came to reverse all my severe neuropathy and decade at least of kidney damage and lower A1c to 5.2% over a decade ago. I'd been undiagnosed for at least a decade or more before I did post meal testing with a meter I bought.

                                    2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                      Amen, chowser and GHG! I assume the diabetic guest is an adult and therefore can make food choices that best serve him or her. There is a lot of misinformation in this thread, although well-intentioned.

                                      I do want to say that whole grains and fruit are good for everybody - diabetic or not. Thank you and good day. :-)

                                    3. re: chowser

                                      How did you make the pavlova merengue without sugar? I used to buy the sugar free merengue shells at Trader Joes but they stopped carrying it and I'm bummed!

                                      1. re: trvlcrzy

                                        It's been a long time since I no longer live near my father but I used a recipe similar to this:


                                        1. re: trvlcrzy

                                          You can buy splenda that designed to be a 1 to 1 substitute for sugar. You can just use that in a pavlova or meringue.

                                      2. Lots of sugar free ice creams now available. I like the taste of Dryer's butter pecan.

                                        5 Replies
                                        1. re: trvlcrzy

                                          Since it is a dessert buffet I'm going to include a cheese platter, fruit platter, dark chocolate squares, red wine, roasted nuts, and coffee and whipped cream. Hopefully at least one of those will work for my guest. If I see his wife alone I will ask her if there is anything else that I can get him. Now I have to figure out the desserts!

                                          1. re: trvlcrzy

                                            They're not sugar free, they're no sugar added. Lactose is a high glycemic sugar that's present in the dairy, and has to be counted as sugar grams. Some regular sugar ice creams are as low in carbs as the ones with sugar alcohols.

                                            1. re: mcf

                                              Yes! If you look at the carbs, many regular ice creams mainly ones plain are actually lower in carbs than the no sugar added.

                                              1. re: paprkutr

                                                Edy's (regional for Dreyer's I think) has mint chip and coffee ice creams that are the same number of carb grams as no sugar added ice cream. And if you're not getting flatulence or the trots from sugar alcohols, that's a sign that your body metabolizes them, and they should be tested one and two hours after eating to see if there's a rise in blood glucose from them. They're carbs, too, just not always digested, or digested slower and late enough not to show up with the rest of the meal in some, but not all diabetics.

                                                1. re: paprkutr

                                                  Breyers Coffee ice cream has fewer carbs per serving than a lot of no-sugar added too.

                                            2. Did you already have the party? If not, my father loves those "naturally fake" sugars like malitol and xylitol. He eats the sugar free chocolates that just about any chocolate shop carries.

                                              If you have trouble baking without sugar, most big supermarkets carry sugar-free pies.

                                              I, personally, think it would be entirely fine to ask the diabetic guest what is in and what is out. Since there are so many different levels of diet control regarding fruits, juices, flours, salt and fat, it might be good to ask.

                                              My father is supposed to avoid sugars, fats and salts but has more leniency for salt and some for fat than he does for sugar. So, a sugar free dessert that has all the fat in it of a regular dessert is still game if he doesn't over do it.

                                              If you had a nut tray, maybe you could get the unsalted ones. If you have fruits, don't use fruits as a sweetener in baked goods, so as not to over do it.

                                              Personally, since I bake for him when I visit, I prefer baking with splenda over any of the others. I usually cut the flours in half with whole wheat flour and then cut the white part in half again with almond meal. So, two cups white flour would become one cup whole wheat, half cup white, half cup almond.

                                              Sounds like you are a good friend!

                                              1. after all the back and forth i agree with chowser to ask the guest what foods they prefer and tailor the menu around that. i had gestational diabetes (insulin dependent) and the oddest food would keep my blood sugar low. the only fruit i did well on were apples and strawberries and little banana here and there. i had a pregnant mom friend who also had gestational diabetes and she was fine with most fruit. my blood sugar was nice on hummus and eating one kind of pizza from CPK. so weird, i know. kelp noodles are nice as well. i made a kelp noodle salad with vinegar and shoyu with bits of cilantro and peanuts. i sort of missed the sugar but you get over it.

                                                the important thing to keep in mind that this is just one meal. one spike in bs isn't going to land your guest in the hospital. it's all about how you do overall and i'm sure your guest is well aware of that and has developed tactics in situations like this. just like vegans, diabetics learn to survive at dinner parties where all the food being served may not suit their dietary needs. you're very sweet daisyM as most people don't care. i wish you were having me over for a party ;)

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: trolley

                                                  hey, just saw the original post was from mid oct so i'm assuming the party was already held and all went well!

                                                2. Baked apples sprinkled with cinnamon perhaps? My understanding since my mother was diagnosed with Type 2 has been that apples are a good choice out of all the fruits...