25 January 2012

Birthday Party With Diabetes - How to Keep Their Day Special


Just because you are a diabetic does not mean you can't, or won't, get your feelings hurt because you believe you must miss the festivities at your birthday party.

In our society, birthdays are synonymous with birthday cake. So with careful planning and a few inventive substitutions, it will still be possible to have a day full of fun and enjoyment for the birthday boy or girl.

A Special Day's Menu

Of course, hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza and ice cream are the standard favorites to accompany that birthday cake. So instead of ignoring them all at the party, just reduce the serving size to one per person and make a few minor adjustments to reduce the carbohydrates, fats and calories per person.

# Hamburgers: use extra lean ground beef (90 to 95% lean) with low fat cheese slices. Or better yet, skip the cheese and use some dry onion soup mix for flavor.

# Hot Dogs: lose the bun here and serve them in a homemade sugarfree spaghetti sauce with chunks of sweet peppers and onions. Cut your dogs (turkey dogs is best) into 1" pieces, warm in a saucepan with the vegetables and keep warm in a crock pot. Serve with toothpicks.

# Pizza: here is two inventive ways to make a re-do on pizza to make it more diabetic friendly. The first is to make a vegetarian pizza. Therefore skip the sausage, beef, pepperoni and ham and change this up to mushrooms, sweet peppers, onions, tomato slices, zucchini chunks or any of your other favorite assortments of vegetables. The second popular pizza makeover version is turn it into a dessert. The crust can be vanilla wafers or graham crackers, your choice, crushed or whole. If you prefer the crushed, mix with a small amount of applesauce as a binder to hold your crumbs together. Skip the tomato sauce and use thawed non-dairy whipped topping. The toppings then can be (well-drained, water packed) fruits from a can or fresh fruits, nuts, seeds, peanuts, dried fruits (use sparingly- the drying process concentrates the carbs so the levels are higher) shredded coconut, mini chocolate chips or any combination of your choice.

# Ice Cream: most ice creams are very high in sugars and fat calories. Double check the nutrition label but usually changing over to lowfat frozen yogurt gives you much better options. Do not assume sugarfree ice cream is a good choice. Check the labels. Often these are no better than the regular versions. As an alternative though, often fudge bars, sugarfree popsicles and 100% fresh fruit bars are so low in sugar and carbs, often these do qualify as free foods. Look for varieties labeled under 5mg per serving.

# Side dishes and snack foods: are often one of the major downfalls of many a party. Hold the potato salad, macaroni salad, baked beans brimming with brown sugar and molasses or cole slaw swimming in a mayonnaise-based dressing. Or the quickie potato chips or potato sticks, snacking pretzel mixes, or any of the other popular junk food junkie classic mixes. So at this year's party your side dishes can be a shish-ka-bob spread. Use both a vegetable spread and a fruit spread. The vegetables can include mushrooms, sweet peppers, cherry tomato, cucumber chunks, radish florets, snow pea pods, celery with peanut butter or any other vegetable selections of your choice. The fruit bar can be done the same with small dishes of watermelon, cantaloupe, apple, kiwi, oranges and on and on. Pick all your favorites or limit it to maybe only berries or only melons etc.. Add a side of low-fat salad dressings for the vegetable spread and a side of homemade whipped topping for the fruits. Serve some wooden skewers along with the two sections and allow your guests to assemble their own favorites.

# Birthday Cake:Now to the birthday cake itself. There has to be a cake or it's just not a birthday party. So instead of the standard boxed mix change over to an angel food cake and get a whole lot more selective with the icing. To keep the party appeal, thawed non-dairy whipped topping with some bright colorful toppings are always a hit. Open a box of sugarfree gelatin and sprinkle on the top, chop up a small sugarfree candy bar, sprinkle on some shaved 70% cacao chocolate or use a combination of chopped nuts fruits etc.. Add anything to the top of your whipped topping just to make it look festive.

# Then to round off your party is the drinks. Skip the soda pop and surprise everyone with a fruit smoothie. Did you ever think you could actually have a milk shake, which is better for you, than just that simple soda. Make your smoothies with a combination of fresh fruits, small ice cubes, low fat or non-fat milk and a touch of vanilla or almond extract. If you would prefer you can even change over the milk to non-fat yogurt instead. Blend everything in a blender and serve while still cold.

So with a little extra planning this year, you can actually throw the party of the season which everyone will be glad they attended. All of your guests will never even figure out they were eating "party food for a restricted diet."
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