July 19, 2024

How We Made This Diabetes-Friendly

1. Used maple syrup as sweetener. Unlike table sugar, maple syrup comes with other trace minerals, such as calcium and manganese, that may benefit health. It also has a lower glycemic index than table sugar, meaning it has a lower impact on blood sugar. That said, maple syrup is still considered an added sugar, so it’s helpful to be cautious of the amount you’re eating, especially when watching your blood sugar levels. 

2. Added protein-packed, unsweetened, strained Greek-style yogurt for richness. Using creamy, plain strained yogurt adds more protein to this recipe. Protein helps you feel satisfied and also aids in slowing digestion, which helps blunt blood sugar spikes. Yogurt also supplies calcium, an important mineral for blood circulation and bone health, both of which can be impacted by diabetes medications and complications. Plus, each serving of this recipe provides 5 grams of satiating fiber, an important nutrient that helps support healthy blood sugar levels. 

3. Opted for unsweetened almond milk. Since we’re already using dairy-based yogurt, we chose unsweetened almond milk as the liquid component for our overnight oats. Adding unsweetened almond milk instead of cow’s milk saved us about 4 grams of carbohydrate per serving. 

Tips from the Test Kitchen

Can I swap other unsweetened plant-based milks for the almond milk in this recipe? 

Yes, just be sure to check the Nutrition Facts panel to make sure you are replacing the almond milk with something that has a comparable nutritional profile, paying close attention to the carbohydrate content. For reference, many unsweetened almond milks contain 1 gram or less of carbohydrates per 8-ounce serving. Opt for a substitute with a similar profile if you decide to switch.

If I don’t have maple syrup, what else can I use to sweeten these overnight oats?

A: If you need to reduce the carbohydrates, try a sugar substitute or add some finely chopped prunes to the mix to replace the maple syrup. Two prunes would provide about 14 grams of carbohydrates, which cuts the amount of carbohydrates coming from the maple syrup in half. If you simply want to swap out the maple syrup for something else, brown sugar has a similar nutritional profile and will work well.

Will any maple syrup work, or do I need a specific type?

Any pure maple syrup is a good choice. For a fuller flavor, try one labeled “dark” or “very dark.” For a milder flavor, choose a maple syrup labeled “golden” or “amber.” Avoid imitation maple syrup, sometimes labeled as “pancake” syrup. This syrup is artificially colored and flavored and is often made with high-fructose corn syrup and doesn’t have the depth of flavor that pure maple syrup provides.

Is the espresso powder necessary or can I swap it with something else to get the same flavor?

The espresso powder is important for achieving that classic tiramisu flavor. If you don’t have espresso powder on hand, consider swapping in a tablespoon or two of cold-brew concentrate or strong coffee. Choose a decaffeinated variety if you’re concerned about caffeine.

Additional reporting by Sara Haas, RDN, LDN.

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