Easter and diabetes sound like they clash but the reality is there are some really very healthy options that can help any diabetic celebrate in style.
Ever since our grandson was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes we are constantly reinventing family celebrations.
We have found some really fun ideas that have become a fun part of Easter celebrations for us.
I know Easter is all about the egg hunt and the chocolate bunnies but really there really are some fun ways to enjoy Easter without overindulging and driving those blood sugars through the roof.
So how do we celebrate Easter?
We start with a healthy breakfast
We like to get together with the grandkids on the Saturday before Easter Sunday. When we get together I will hard boil a dozen eggs.
When the grandkids come over we like to decorate the hard-boiled eggs.
We use food colouring and small craft paintbrushes. Sometimes we use markers and draw silly faces on the eggs.
It is such a fun way to have fun with the grandkids and the eggs will be a part of our Easter morning breakfast.
We also make homemade Hot Cross Buns to have with our coloured hard-boiled eggs in the morning. A little indulgence is ok as long as we are sure to count the carbs for Alex and dose his insulin accordingly.
Ensuring we all have a healthy breakfast helps us to not indulge in too much chocolate or other sweets.
Hot Cross Buns
1 cup raisins 1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 eggs, large 3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp baking soda 5 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 tsp cinnamon 2 oz cream cheese
4 1/4 cups flour 1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp Instant yeast
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 3/4 cup water
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Place your measured milk into a pot on the stove.
- Turn the heat on medium-low.
- Stir frequently until you start to see steam coming off the milk and little bubbles forming around the sides of the milk along the pan.
- Remove the pan from the heat.
- Let the milk cool to about 105°F (41°C). I like to stick it in the fridge for a few minutes to get the cooling started, but don’t forget about it! We don’t want cold milk!
- Meanwhile, boil the raisins with a little baking soda to plump them up. Then, lightly rinse the raisins.
- Combine the warm milk, sugar, and yeast. Let the mixture rest on your counter until it looks foamy.
- Once the yeast mixture is foamy, make the dough. (You can knead it by hand or use the dough hook on a mixer).
- Place the dough into an oiled bowl and set it aside to rise for roughly 2 hours.
- Once the dough has risen, gently punch it down and shape it into 12 balls.
- Place the dough balls into a greased 9×13-inch pan and set aside to rise once more.
- Bake the hot cross buns until golden, then brush with sugar syrup and pipe crosses on top once cooled.
NOTE: I have included the nutrition information for diabetics to easily count their carbs. This is a regular recipe and not low carb. Alex typically eats 1/2 a bun with a hard-boiled egg, now that he is a little older he may eat a whole one.
1 bun – 324 calories, total fat 8.4 g, sodium 181 mg, total carbohydrate 55 g, dietary fibre 2 g, sugar 16.1 g, Protein 7.9 g
I usually make a traditional Newfoundland Jiggs dinner for Easter. You can check out how to make this feast in one of my previous articles.
While we do have turkey, dressing and potatoes, there are also a LOT of vegetables.
For Easter dinner, I do make a different dessert than I did at Thanksgiving and I will share that recipe with you today.
Lemon Pudding Cake
3 eggs, separated 1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp grated lemon peel 1/3 cup flour
1/2 cup milk 1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup lemon juice
- Heat oven to 325 F, grease (not oil)8 x 8 baking dish.
- In a small bowl, beat egg yolks (reserve whites in a small bowl).
- Blend in lemon peel, milk and lemon juice. Add sugar, flour and salt; beat until smooth.
- Beat egg whites until stiff.
- Fold in yolk mixture gently but thoroughly.
- Pour into a prepared baking pan. Set in another pan with 1/2 inch hot water.
- Bake at 325 F for 30 – 35 minutes or until golden brown.
- Serve warm or cool. I like to top ours with a spoonful of cool whip.
Note: I have included the nutritional information for the original recipe. I usually make this recipe as is.
88 calories, 1.8 g fat, 59 mg sodium, total carbohydrates 15.6 g, dietary fibre 0.2 g, sugars 12 g, Protein 2.8 g
Managing diabetes is a priority.
Naturally, we weigh and measure Alex’s carbs so we can adequately dose his insulin.
Typically we calculate what we serve him then wait to see how much he actually ate before giving the injection. If he doesn’t eat all his carbs we have to weigh his leftovers to determine how much he actually ate before giving that injection we may need to reduce the dose if he only ate half his carbs for instance.
In the beginning, mealtimes were rather tricky but now everyone is quite comfortable with it. Even Alex’s 16 and 13-year-old sisters are comfortable doing his finger pokes, carb counts and injections.
A light supper is usually a little later than we usually have supper because we are usually not that hungry.
We usually just grab a turkey sandwich or a plate of leftovers heated up.
Everyone just fends for themselves with the exception of Alex who needs a grownup to count his carbs and deliver his insulin.
While he has given himself his injection at times he does not calculate the dose or dial the dose on the pen needle, that is always done by a caregiver.
By ensuring we have healthy meals we know Alex is not overloading on high carbs and sugar, but of course we do allow him treats. After he is a kid and it is fine to indulge in some sugary treats. The trick is to not over-indulge and that is our main goal.
We have developed our own take on the traditional Easter egg hunt.
I buy little plastic-coloured eggs at the local dollar store and fill each egg with a little surprise. Alex loves these because he gets to keep the toys a lot longer than a piece of chocolate would last.
I can usually find small little toys at the dollar store and put them in the eggs. I may put grapes in some or mini BabyBel cheeses that he eats occasionally.
Since Alex is in grade one and has learned to read I also print little jokes and riddles on paper and put those in some of the eggs. Alex really enjoys reading those jokes and riddles to the family.
I hide all the little plastic eggs Saturday evening after the kids have gone home. Then when they come over in the morning they have their egg hunt. The girls are older and typically help Alex find eggs rather than hunting themselves now.
Dealing with the chocolate.
Diabetes Canada recommends choosing dark chocolate rather than milk chocolate whenever possible. There’s less sugar and a stronger chocolate flavour which will satisfy that chocolate craving with a much smaller piece.
It may be difficult to find an Easter bunny made with dark chocolate. I get him a small bunny and do a healthier egg hunt.
Alex still gets a bit of chocolate from the Easter bunny. He understands why he can’t just eat any amount of chocolate and he doesn’t really like it much. His parents decide when and how much chocolate he can have.
In fact, even his sisters don’t go nuts over the chocolate, they would both rather have an Itunes card or makeup.
When he is here I put out a veggie tray with hummus or sour cream and he loves that.
One of my blogging friends makes a veggie tray with the veggies arranged in a bunny shape that I may try this year to make it a little more fun.
There are always creative ways to celebrate holidays like everyone else and with a few tweaks, you can make it relatively lower in sugar without feeling deprived.
This article has explained how diabetes and Easter don’t have to clash.
With a little imagination, you can have a fun and safe Easter.
You can still have an egg hunt and even a few treats.
Be selective about the treats you have and be sure to test your blood sugars frequently.
Be sure to treat any highs or lows before they get serious.
What family traditions do you have for celebrating Easter?
How you manage all the sugar that is so typically a big part of this holiday?
What tips have you discovered that help you manage your blood sugars?
Share your answers in the comment section below and have a happy and safe Easter.