I’m not going to lie to you: Desserts without sugar do not taste as good as desserts with it.

But diabetes is not to be taken lightly. It is literally a matter of life and limb. Amputations are common with diabetes. So is blindness. Sugar makes it worse, and so do carbohydrates.

Basically, everything that makes a dessert good is what makes it bad for diabetics, who now make up a huge part of the population. More than 29 million Americans have diabetes — that’s one out of every 11 Americans — and three times that number are at risk for developing it.

But diabetics deserve dessert, too, and they can have it — provided they do not indulge too often, that the desserts they eat are low in sugar and carbohydrates and that their portions are sensibly small. That’s where today’s recipes come in.

The first dessert I made, Crispy Peanut Butterscotch Pie, is truly excellent, even with fat-free, sugar-free, instant pudding mix, sugar-free (or fat-free) frozen whipped dessert topping and just one tablespoon of honey for six servings. It is also made with what is generically specified as “oven-toasted rice cereal.” That means Rice Krispies. Use Rice Krispies.

Two things make this dessert great, and both of them are peanut butter. One is the way peanut butter goes so blissfully with butterscotch, even when it is fat-free, sugar-free, instant butterscotch pudding mix. And the other is the incredibly resourceful crust made from peanut butter, honey and Rice Krispies.

It’s light. It’s crispy (sorry, Krispie). And it’s downright delicious.


Yield: 6 servings

  • ¼ cup natural (no sugar added) creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1½ cups oven-toasted rice cereal, such as Rice Krispies (more optional)
  • 1 (1-ounce) package butterscotch fat-free, sugar-free, instant pudding mix
  • 2 cups fat-free milk
  • 1½ cups frozen sugar-free or fat-free whipped dessert topping such as Cool Whip, thawed and divided
  • Ground cinnamon, optional

1. Combine peanut butter and honey in a medium microwave-safe bowl; microwave at high power for 30 seconds; stir until mixture melts. Stir in rice cereal. Using waxed paper, press cereal mixture into bottom of 8-inch round cake pan.

2. Prepare pudding mix according to package directions for pudding, using 2 cups of milk. Fold in 1 cup of the whipped topping. Spoon pudding mixture into prepared pan. Cover and freeze until firm.

3. Let pie stand at room temperature 15 minutes before serving. Spoon remaining ½ cup whipped topping over each serving. If desired, sprinkle with ground cinnamon and additional cereal.

Per serving: 139 calories; 4 g fat; 1 g saturated fat; 5 mg cholesterol; 5 g protein; 22 g carbohydrate; 11 g sugar; 1 g fiber; 302 mg sodium; 132 mg calcium

Recipe by Oxmoor House Healthy Eating Collection, via myrecipes.com

My second dessert is a diabetic version of a parfait, made entirely without sugar. In place of ice cream, it uses a mixture of Greek yogurt and whipped cream (the cream, of course, is whipped without sugar). For the fruit filling, you simply swirl in some sugar-free jam.

It’s very simple to make, and very satisfying. You don’t have to be diabetic to love it.


Yield: 4 servings

  • ½ cup cold heavy cream
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup sugar-free jam

1. Whisk cream to soft peaks in a large bowl. Fold in yogurt.

2. Spoon jam evenly on top and gently swirl in, leaving streaks. Divide mixture evenly among 4 glasses. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or, covered, for up to 1 day before serving.

Per serving: 302 calories; 25 g fat; 15 g saturated fat; 73 mg cholesterol; 7 g protein; 19 g carbohydrate; 15 g sugar; 1 g fiber; 44 mg sodium; 102 mg calcium

Nutrition analysis used plain, whole milk Greek yogurt.

Recipe by Martha Stewart Living

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