Sugar rush is upon us! Sprinkles abound on thick coats of frosting; chocolate is melted for dipping, and crunchy cookies stack on handsomely decorated tables. Holiday season is usually marked by a decadent display of desserts, and while most opt to treat themselves and make up for the indulgence after the new year, some of us need to be a little more sugar-conscious on a daily. It’s Diabetes Awareness Month after all, and the Farm Star Living team wants to help you reduce your sugar intake this holiday season with a few simple tips.

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

Ease-up on Sugary Drinks

The American Diabetes Association recommends that people avoid drinking sugar-sweetened beverages. Not only do they raise blood sugar, they also contain several hundred calories in just one serving. Start making it a habit of tentatively reading food labels to check for amount of sugar per serving.


  • Soda
  • Fruit drinks
  • Fruit punch
  • Energy drinks
  • Sports drinks
  • Sweet tea
  • Water
  • Sparkling water
  • Infused water
  • Herbal or fruit teas
  • Unsweetened tea or coffee

Change Your Sweet Tooth

Satisfying your sweet tooth doesn’t have to mean consuming processed sugar. Shift your definition of sweet by giving a few of these natural snacks a chance:

  • Fresh fruit: Stick to low sugar fruits, like berries
  • Greek yogurt with spices or fruit: Full of calcium, protein, and vitamin B12
  • Baked fruit with spices or cream: We love pears, apples, or plums
  • Dark chocolate: Generally, the higher the cocoa content, the lower the sugar
  • Dates: Naturally sweet and incredibly delicious

Alternative Sweeteners

The substitute debate is one riddled with skepticism and at times naysaying. But the following listed non-nutritive sweeteners have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and are generally considered safe for diabetics:

  • Saccharin
  • Aspartame
  • Acesulfame potassium
  • Sucralose
  • Neotame
  • Advantame
The following nutritive sweeteners, called sugar alcohols, are found in many sugar-free gums and candies. While they can raise blood sugar, the levels are usually not considered harmful:
  • Isomalt
  • Maltitol
  • Mannitol
  • Sorbitol
  • Xylitol
Stevia is another great alternative for diabetics. Extracted from the leaves of the Stevia rebaudiana, this candy leaf has been shown to help reduce blood pressure and blood sugar in people with diabetes.

Skip the Sauce

Condiments like ketchup and barbecue sauce are childhood favorites, but often are shockingly full of sugar. Checking labels before consumption will help you choose the sauce with the lowest-sugar content.

Try flavoring your food with the following:

  • Herbs and spices
  • Fresh chili
  • Yellow mustard
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Pesto

Canned Care

We all do it! Venture into the canned food aisle out of convenience. But canned foods can contain a lot of added sugars. Keep an eye out for canned fruit packed in syrup or added sugar. Look for labels marked with “in own juice” or “no added sugar.” Already have canned fruit in your pantry? No worries! You can always rinse them with water to eliminate the added sugar.

Take care to explore what is the best for your diet amid the season of food, family, and fun!

For more information on food by benefits, check out our AZ Food Guide.


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