The American Diabetes Association estimated that in 2014 11.8 million adults over 65 years old had diabetes, accounting for almost 30 percent of older adults in the country. Diabetes requires people to lower their sugar intake, which can be challenging during celebrations like Halloween. Thankfully, there are sugar-free versions of popular spooky treats that provide all of the sweet taste without the negative effects on health.
Even for healthy seniors, sugar shouldn't be eaten frequently or in large amounts. According to Women's Health magazine, sugar has a number of negative effects on the body. For example, sugary foods are filled with so much glucose that they can cause the brain to produce less dopamine and may eventually lead to dementia when eaten frequently. Too much glucose can also cause your cells to become resistant to insulin because the pancreas has pumped too much out into your body to counteract the glucose. With nowhere to go, the extra insulin stays in your blood and can eventually lead to diabetes and increased risk of heart disease, noted the source.
To reduce your risk of diabetes and to stick to a healthy diet this Halloween, prepare these sugar-free recipes:
1. Pumpkin Spice Roll
If you're having a Halloween celebration at your assisted living community, you'll want to bring a dessert that all of your friends can enjoy. Sugar-free pumpkin spice rolls are just as delicious as they are healthy and easy to prepare.
- 3 eggs
- 24 (1 gram) packets Equal sugar substitute, 1 cup Equal sugar substitute or 7 1⁄4 tsp. Equal Spoonful
- 1 cup pumpkin
- 1 tsp. lemon juice
- 1 cup self-rising flour
- 2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. nutmeg
- 4 ounces light cream cheese, softened
- 1 1⁄2-2 cups light whipped topping
- 3 (1 gram) packets Equal sugar substitute, 2 tsp. Equal sugar substitute or 1 tsp. Equal Spoonful
To make the roll, start by beating the eggs and Equal in a bowl for about 5 minutes. Add the pumpkin and lemon juice along with the nutmeg, cinnamon and flour and mix until blended. Heat the oven to 350 F and line a jelly roll pan with wax paper before pouring the batter evenly into the pan. Bake for 5-8 minutes. It's important that you don't over-bake the batter, so remove the pan from the oven as soon as you're able to stick a toothpick into the top and it comes out clean. After it's cooled for about 3 minutes, place the cake onto a cloth and roll it up starting at the end that's narrow and let it chill in the refrigerator until it's cool.
While the cake is cooling, you can make the frosting by mixing the cream cheese, whipped topping and Equal until the combination is spreadable. Remove the roll from the refrigerator and unroll it to spread the filling. Re-roll and place back in the fridge to chill before serving.
2. Witches' Finger Cookies
To add a spooky element to your Halloween snack, try whipping up a batch of gluten- and sugar-free Witches' Finger Cookies. These creepy desserts are sure to be the life of any dessert table whether you're attending a party at your retirement community or having your grandchildren come to visit in their costumes.
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1/2 cup erythritol
- 3 Tbsp. heavy cream or milk of choice
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 tsp. vanilla liquid stevia
- 1 tsp. green food coloring
- 1 1/4 cup gluten-free flour
- 48 pumpkin seeds, salted, shells on
Heat the oven to 300 F and line your baking sheets with parchment paper. Mix the erythritol and butter. Once the mixture is smooth, add your cream, stevia, vanilla extract and food coloring. As you blend the batter, slowly add the flour.
Scoop out and roll about teaspoon-sized dollops of batter into balls and mold them so that they measure around 2 1/2 inches in length to create the appearance of a finger. For the fingernail, press a pumpkin seed on the tip of each cookie. Then bake for 30 minutes and let them cool for 15 minutes before serving.