Diabetics Can Manage Holiday Sweets Without Derailing Diet

Posted: December 12, 2013

The holidays can derail a person’s healthful eating habits, and if they are a diabetic, it can be even more challenging. Being a diabetic does not mean having to eliminate all holiday sweets from your diet.

Nicole McGeehan, Penn State Extension community health educator, offers the following tips and modifications to use with your favorite holiday dessert recipes.

  • Replace half the sugar in a recipe with a sugar substitute. Usually Splenda works best in baking.
  • Try cutting down the sugar and increasing the use of spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla.
  • Replace half of the fat in your recipe with applesauce or baby-food prunes when making chocolate brownies, cakes, or cookies.
  • Eat fruit as dessert. They add a sweet taste without adding many calories, and they also are a source of vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber.
  • Split a dessert with someone.
  • Remove high-fat whipped topping and frosting.
  • Substitute small portions of your favorite sweets for other carbohydrate already in your meal plan. For example, skip the dinner roll for a small serving of pumpkin pie.

Diabetic-friendly raspberry-filled cookie


  • 1/3 cup Splenda Granular
  • 1/3 cup tub margarine softened (not light)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbs. cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 cup reduced-sugar raspberry preserves (or any other flavor you like)
  • Nonstick spray

Ingredients For the glaze:

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 - 3 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp. almond extract (optional)


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray. Beat Splenda and margarine with an electric mixer until well blended. Add vanilla extract and egg white. Beat well. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt. Add dry mixture to wet mixture, stirring well until blended. (Dough will be stiff.) Divide dough into two equal portions. Place one piece of dough on prepared baking sheet. Shape into a log, approximately 12 inches in length. Using index finger or end of a wooden spoon, form a 1/2-inch deep indentation down the length of the log. Repeat with remaining piece of dough. Fill indentations with preserves and bake for 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cool. In a small bowl, combine powdered sugar, lemon juice, and almond extract (optional) for glaze. Stir until smooth. Remove cooled logs to a cutting board. Drizzle with glaze. Using a serrated knife, cut each log diagonally into 12 pieces. One cookie has 60 calories, 2.5 g of fat, and 9 g of total carbohydrate.
If you are interested in learning more about type II diabetes, consider attending Penn State Extension’s Dining with Diabetes Program. Classes will provide nutrition education, daily meal plans, interactive cooking demonstrations, food sampling and an opportunity to connect with others who are living with type II diabetes. Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries receive free registration and scholarships are available. For questions or to register, please call Penn State Extension in Lackawanna County at 570-963-6842 or email

Contact Information

Karen Thomas
  • Extension Educator, Food, Families & Health
Phone: 570-963-6842