Baking from the heart: My Go-To Diabetes Friendly and Heart-Healthy Baked Treats
“What did you make me, Grandma?”
Every time I pull up to my daughter’s house, my three-year-old grandson Owen asks me this question.
“Mom, you don’t have to bring him something every time, you know?” my daughter has said.
But who can say no to this little face? It lights up even more when I pull out home baked cookies, squares, or loaves.
I’m not the classic baking Grandma, but there’s something about handing over a treat to my grandsons that is intrinsically fulfilling. And hopefully filling for them – in a healthy way – as well.
February is Heart Month, so I wanted to share some diabetes and heart-friendly recipes I try to include in my every day, as well as for my family when they’re visiting.
As background, for two of my four pregnancies I had to deal with gestational diabetes, including having to track my diet and administer insulin shots. There is a history of type 2 diabetes and the potential for type 2 diabetes diagnoses on both sides of my family, so I know it’s important to educate myself about the condition. I learned that approximately one in two people with type 2 diabetes dies due to heart disease,[i] so this was a big motivator for me to ensure I follow a nutritional and balanced meal plan to manage my blood sugar levels to help reduce my risk.[ii]
In addition, my daughter and her family are all vegan. This means the butter-laden shortbread cookies and egg-filled meringues of my youth are not going to work for them. I’m not vegan, but I’ve become a pro at what I call “veganizing” non-vegan recipes.
When cooking or baking for my grandkids, some additional rules I follow are:
- Not loading up on sugars and carbohydrates
- Always including healthy fruits, vegetables, and grains. Some fan favourites include strawberries, raspberries, avocados, broccoli, spinach, barley, and whole grain breads or crackers.[iii],[iv],[v]
That’s part of the reason I’m so happy to be working with cart2table.ca and using some of their recipes. Cart2Table is a website where I have discovered diabetes-friendly recipes, including some plant-based, nutritional recipes for cookies and squares that I can make for Owen and Cam. And of course, this grandma is going to want to taste these treats as well – while watching my own sugar intake.
- Orange Coconut Cookies | Sweet Sensations | Cart2Table (myheartmatters.ca)
- Chocolate Almond Bites | Sweet Sensations | Cart2Table (myheartmatters.ca)
- Maple Apple Bran Biscuits | Sweet Sensations | Cart2Table (myheartmatters.ca)
These recipes are low sugar, higher fibre, and full of iron with the incorporation of maple syrup, beans, nuts, seeds, whole grains, dates, dark chocolate, squash seeds and dried fruit.
Plus, they’re delicious. Just ask Owen.
For more great recipe ideas and to rediscover the joy of food visit cart2table.ca
Sponsored by two of Canada’s leading research-based pharmaceutical companies
[i] Einarson, TR, Acs, A, Ludwig, C et al. Prevalence of cardiovascular disease in type 2 diabetes: a systematic literature review of scientific evidence from across the world in 2007–2017. Cardiovasc Diabetol 17, 83 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12933-018-0728-6.
[ii] Cart 2 Table. “Nutrition Matters”. Retrieved from: https://www.myheartmatters.ca/cart2table/nutrition-matters (Accessed January 2023)
[iii] Diabetes Care Community. “10 fruits and vegetables for diabetes diet”. Retrieved from: https://www.diabetescarecommunity.ca/diet-and-fitness-articles/diabetes-diet-articles/10-fruits-and-vegetable-for-diabetes-diet/ (Accessed January 2023)
[v] WebMD. “Whole Grains and Type 2 Diabetes”. Retrieved from: https://www.webmd.com/diabetes/whole-grains-and-diabetes (Accessed January 2023)