The holidays are such a joyous time and food plays a prominent role in those celebrations. But if you are a person with diabetes, sometimes you might wonder if there is anything to celebrate about. It can be difficult to watch other people savor the goodies and holidays are no time to feel left out.
The main key to successfully managing diabetes is to keep the body’s blood sugar under control. Carbohydrates have the most impact on your blood sugar levels. One of the simplest ways to control blood sugar is to limit refined sugar from the diet. But who doesn’t love the taste of sweet? Deprivation of any foods completely from a diet is not a great strategy for health or success. And at the holiday time, deprivation can really put a damper on party time.
Fortunately with a few tweaks of your beloved holiday foods, a person with diabetes can have their cake and eat it too! With these two sweet treats featuring pumpkin, Pumpkin Pecan Muffins and Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust, indulgence is just a bite away.
Pumpkin is an excellent choice for people with diabetes:
- The high fiber content helps to regulate insulin levels more efficiently.
- Its very high beta carotene content, the highest among winter squashes, protects against macular degeneration (macular degeneration is a high risk factor for people with diabetes).
- Per ½ cup pumpkin only weighs in at a light 42 calories with practically no fat, no sodium and no cholesterol.
In each of the recipes I’ve lowered the fat content by using low fat buttermilk, reduced fat sour cream, plain non-fat yogurt. The carbohydrates are kept under control as well. For the Pumpkin Pecan Muffins, Splenda baking blend is used instead of all sugar. For the Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust, a combination of a small amount of sugar and the natural sweetener stevia is used. Even with these tweaks, the taste difference in not noticeable from their full fat, full sugar counterparts. Now that’s something to celebrate.
Pumpkin Pecan Muffins (shown above)
makes 12 muffins/ serving size: 1 muffin
- 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
- ½ cup Splenda baking blend
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon table salt
- ½ cup chopped pecans
- 1 ½ cups canned solid packed pumpkin puree
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons low fat buttermilk
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons reduced fat sour cream
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 12 cup muffin pan with cooking spray, set aside.
In a large bowl, stir together the flour, Splenda baking blend, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt, shown above. Stir in the pecans.
In a separate bowl, combine the pumpkin, eggs, buttermilk, sour cream and oil. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the pumpkin mixture, shown above. Stir until just combined.
Spoon into the prepared muffin cups and bake for about 30-35 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Let the muffins cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Turn out the muffins onto a cooling rack and cool completely.
Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust (shown above)
makes 12 servings
For the crust:
- 14 gingersnap cookies, processed to form crumbs ( about 3/4 cup)
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- ½ tablespoon stevia ( such as Stevia in the Raw)
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
For the filling:
- 1 ½ cups ( 1%) cottage cheese, stained and pressed ( see note)
- 1 pound reduced fat cream cheese ( 2, 8 ounce packages)
- 1 cup ( 8 ounces) Greek plain non fat yogurt
- 1 can ( 15 ounces) plus ½ cup solid packed pumpkin puree
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons stevia
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 large eggs
- 12 pecan halves
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Position an oven rack to the middle of the oven.
For the crust, combine the cookie crumbs, oil, stevia, sugar and cinnamon. Press the crumb mixture into the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan, shown above. Bake the crust for 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and set on a rack to cool.
For the filling, increase the oven temperature to 500 degrees. Add the cottage cheese to a food processor and process until very smooth. Add the yogurt and cream cheese and process for another 1-2 minutes until smooth. Add in the pumpkin, stevia, brown sugar, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice and salt and process until smooth. With the processor running, add the eggs, one at a time, and process until incorporated.
Add the batter to a the prepared crust. Bake the cheesecake for about 8 minutes. Lower the temperature to 200 degrees and bake until the cheesecake is set, about 1 hour, shown above. Transfer the cake to a wire rack. Run a paring knife around the edge of the cake to loosen it. Cool completely at room temperature. For about 2-3 hours. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight.
Remove the sides of the pan and let the cheesecake come to room temperature for about 30 minutes. Garnish with pecan, slice and serve.
Note: Place two layers of paper towels on a plate, then place the cottage cheese on top (shown above) and place another two layers of paper towel on top of the cottage cheese. Press down on the cottage cheese to help the paper towels absorb an extra liquid it may have. Discard the top layers of the paper towel and use a large spoon to transfer the cottage cheese to the food processor. Discard the bottom layers of paper towel.
More diabetic-friendly treats recipes:
“3 for 100″ Mini Pumpkin Muffins
Warm Apple Oatmeal Raisin Cobbler