Many people look forward to Valentine’s Day for weeks, but when you have diabetes it’s common to have reservations about a holiday that’s so focused on sweets. Chocolates, candies, and rich desserts and dishes are commonly eaten on Valentine’s Day, which can often leave those with diabetes feeling like they can’t partake in the festivities. Fortunately, there are some great ways that you can still have fun on this romantic day even if you do suffer from this particular health condition. Just use the following tips and tricks, and you should be able to have a wonderful Valentine’s Day celebration with that special someone.
Why You Need To Be Careful
Valentine’s Day is often associated with decadence when it comes to food. One of the biggest risks for diabetics is that they can be tempted to give in to the desire to celebrate by eating. Because chocolates and other sweets are often given as gifts during this holiday, the temptation can be even greater and more dangerous for those with blood sugar sensitivities.
Overindulging for most people can mean a sugar crash or, at worst, indigestion. However, the side effects of overeating for diabetics can be much more severe, which is why it’s important to have a game plan in place before Valentine’s Day come around. You know you’ll need to be careful about what you eat. Set boundaries according to your own limitations, and make sure you check blood sugar levels if you do have some sweets.
(Check out more health tips by reading 10 Sweet Tips For A Healthy Valentine’s Day.)
Choosing A Healthy Meal
Often, a romantic dinner is just as important as any of the sweets you’ll give or receive on Valentine’s Day. One way to make sure that your glucose levels stay in check is to make a romantic meal right at home. That way, you have more control over how the meal is prepared, including the seasoning of the dish. Utilize spices and herbs more than salt or sugar to avoid any problems related to your health condition.
If you do want to go out to eat, try to do a little research and find a restaurant which offers relatively healthy meals. You might even be able to find one with sugar-free desserts on the menu. The key is to communicate with your server if you have any questions – let them know if you need a meal prepared differently or if you want something left off of your plate. Call ahead if you have any concerns about the meal. That way you can relax and just enjoy your romantic dinner when the big day arrives.
(Find more useful dining tips from 10 Heart-Healthy Valentines Dinner Date Ideas.)
Alternative Sweet Treats
The good news is that just because you’re diabetic does not mean you can’t have any sweets on this holiday. Here are some alternatives for satisfying your sweet tooth on Valentine’s Day if you have diabetes:
- Dark chocolate: Not all chocolates are bad for you. In fact, dark chocolate is full of antioxidants that offer lots of health benefits. If you do want to indulge with some chocolate, look for products that have a high cocoa content along with low amounts of sugar and fat. It may take some time to compare products in the store, but the results will be much better for you.
- Sugar-free candies: A little candy shouldn’t be a problem either as long as you look for sugar-free varieties. There are lots of great sugar-free candies out there today, including everything from chocolates to hard candies to jellybeans. Always check packaging carefully and don’t binge on these treats just because they are free of sugar.
- Sugar-free ice cream: Many top ice cream brands offer sugar-free varieties that are great for diabetics. You can add flavor by topping your ice cream with nuts or fruits instead of chocolate, sprinkles or other sugary snacks. In addition, you can find many sugar-free or low-fat frozen yogurts which are often even better for you than ice cream but taste just as delicious.
How To Have Fun Safely
The following are a few additional tips for making your Valentine’s Day celebration romantic, fun and safe:
- Communicate with your partner about what you can and can’t do. Ask for flowers instead of sweets, or request an at-home meal rather than a decadent dinner. Making your partner aware of your needs and concerns beforehand will help avoid any mishaps or arguments on what is supposed to be a romantic holiday.
- Diabetes can potentially affect sexual intimacy, but there are steps you can take to help avoid this. Have juice or a snack on hand to give you a boost if you feel fatigued. Follow your routine with medications and injections closely to avoid problems. Eat healthy and exercise regularly to avoid sexual performance problems. According to Diabetes.co.uk, 33-percent of men with diabetes suffer from erectile dysfunction, so it may be helpful to see a doctor about this problem beforehand.
- Use moderation. This is possibly the most important thing you can do to ensure that you are able to have fun and celebrate safely on Valentine’s Day. Don’t overdo it with any meals, desserts or sweets. Instead, focus on the romance aspect of this holiday by giving non-food gifts, celebrating with a fun activity or simply spending a quiet evening at home
(If you're looking for healthy activities, read 10 Valentine's Day Activities That Will Burn Calories.)
You can still celebrate a fun and decadent Valentine’s Day without having to go overboard on unhealthy foods for diabetics. Remember, the occasion is more about celebrating with loved ones than gorging on chocolates.