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Diabetes Treat: Sugar-Free Popsicles.

Free foods pretty much ruled my freaking world when I was a kid.  Sugar-free Jell-O, pickles, cucumbers, and sugar-free popsicles were stashed in mass quantities in my childhood home, so that my prying little diabetic hands would hopefully land on a popsicle instead of an "E.L. Fudge" cookie. 

(Note to Michelle:  Your comment a few weeks back about El Fudge the Zorro Cookie still tops my list as one of the funniest comments of all time.)

And even though I'm a grown-up diabetic these days, the disease remains the same.  So does my struggle with food.  Now it's up to me to keep my kitchen stocked with tasty sugar-free treats. 

But some things are a little bit different than they were twenty years ago.  For instance, Chris and I are very wary of sugar substitutes and even though I use Equal in my coffee every morning, I'd prefer a non-chemical alternative.  We try to eat as healthy as possible and buy organic whenever we can (even though it's freaking pricey to buy anything in Fairfield County, where they charge $3.00 for an iced coffee without batting an eye), but avoiding those sugar substitutes is really a challenge for me.  I'm used to Equal and it's mega-sweetness, and other natural alternatives don't pack the same punch.   So we don't always take the organic, attempting-to-be-healthy highroad, and often times we find the grocery cart packed with sugar-free popsicles and Jell-O and other "safe for diabetics but just ignore these chemicals" items.

Because it's hard to find crap I can eat that doesn't make my numbers go berserk and isn't packed with chemicals!

/rant   

Delicious.  Not quite nutritious, though.

I'm a sucker for a good popsicle.  (And for a good pun.) I'll even eat the orange ones, even though they get a bad reputation for some reason.  (Why do you eat the grape ones first, Chris?  What do you have against the orange?)  Popsicles are my favorite method of staying hydrated when my blood sugars get all teeth-sweaters high, and Chris can often tell if I'm working through a high by the number of popsicle wrappers that collect on the coffee table.  And the effects on my numbers are so minimal that I can eat three in a row without a blip on the Dexcom.

Free foods.  I love 'em.  I appreciate 'em.  And when I get all snacky in an unruly way, I need 'em.

What kinds of free foods are you guys snacking on?  

Comments

I've got Jenna snacking on raw veggies. She loves them so much that I planted a veggie garden this Spring! That way she can go pull up a carrot or pluck a snow pea, give it a rinse and enjoy. She'll often snack on a spoonful of peanut butter or a stick of gruyere cheese (her one and only cheese pick) wrapped in ham. Low carb popsicles are a favourite with her too!
Gotta loves free foods!

Hey! Have you tried Truvia (Stevia) as a sweetener... some people don't like the taste, but I love it and have switched completely from Equal.

I

I used to LOVE the Life savers sugar free popsicles but I can't find them any more. Now I get the Edy's ones except that I HATE grape and love Orange. Too bad you don't live next door. I would bring over all my grape ones as soon as I got the box home.

This brings back memories, I seemed to spend my whole childhood chewing on "free" cucumber and carrots and I still eat loads of them now. And way back in the days before sugar free popsicles my mum used to make them herself out of sugar free cordial.

My super hubby bought me "sugar free" chocolate chip cookies, much to my suprise they had 28g of carbs per cookie anyway. Nice try but look at the label!!!

My choice is colored peppers, celery, and carrots (i don't over do the carrots) It gives me something to crunch minus the guilt.

It's not a 'free' food, but I've started cooking/baking with Agave nectar. It has a glycemic index of 19 and is absorbed very slowly. I make brownies with that and ground almonds instead of flour--they taste great, no chemical taste, and they don't spike my T-1 hubby's numbers. It's been terrific for me, because even with Splenda, things taste...off...to me. With the Agave nectar, things taste just like they should.

Only downside is the price, but Trader Joe's has it for around half of what I pay at the grocery store.

Oh, and our freezer is full of Edy's slow churned no sugar added cookie dough ice cream and the carb control ice cream bars...

If I'm starving and my sugar's high, I'll put a pickle on a square of cheese and squeeze mustard over it. Which looks gross-ish, but it really feels like an actual meal. And gum, gum, gum--I'm an addict. I should buy Extra stock.

Change of topic, but speaking of gardening and Stevia, I was at Lowe's yesterday and picked up an actual Stevia plant. I bought it because it seemed like a kinda cool new thing to stick in with my tomato and parsely plants, and the leaves are really sweet. But...wth do I do with it now?? Cut the leaves and have green specks floating in my cereal milk? Or my coffee? Blicchh. Not a well thought out purchase, in retrospect.

Frozen Sugar Free Cool Whip FTW! It's not "exactly" free, but darn close.

Lately, I'm all about the string cheese. So much so that Pea feels guilty if he eats one. Yeah, I need to work on sharing. :)

My daughter is not fond of cheese, sugar free jello and plain lunch meats. But she does really like the ham roll ups with cream cheese and green onions. I make those every once in a while for her. Oh and hard boiled eggs.

This brings me back to my Grandma making seperate sugar-free jello for me as dessert and lots of pickles and sugarfree popsicles as a kid. My husband finds it very amusing that I get pickle cravings to this day.

In general I remember reading any package of sweet treat and rejoicing when it had under 10 calories/serving. What simple bliss!

String cheese and peanut butter. When I was first diagnosed, I was ten and wreaking havoc throughout the halls of Children's Hospital Seattle. So they would give me little packages of peanut butter... and then when I got home I would eat endless amounts of string cheese and sometimes bologna. Healthy!

When I started on the pump and had to do all those fasts, I ate a lot of sugarfree jello too...

I haven't been dealing with diabetes for very long so reading all these comments is really helping out! My daughter is really tired of cheese and sugar free jell-o. Reading what everyone else enjoys is giving me some great ideas!

My 6 year old Type 1 is all about the sugar free jello, celery, string cheese, ready-cook bacon (yes, I know, bad Mommy!), pieces of grilled chicken cut into strips, slice of mozzarella cheese, carrots dipped in the tiniest bit of peanut butter, sugar free popsicles of course and any deli meat she can find - ham, bologna, turkey. That's about it....

SUGAR FREE SNOWCONES!!!!

You can buy SF syrup and a snowcone machine at WalMart/Target/Fry's/etc...

YUMMY :)

What memories! T1 for 35 years and still loving free foods. All time fav is a Pickle Burger.....slice of ham smeared with cream chees and a dill pickle spear then all rolled up. Haven't had them for a long, long time. Headed to the store when I get out of here.


On another note...I get grumpy when I see something sugar free with a potload of sugar alcohols. Gives me the Hershey squirts!!!

I'm always careful about "sugar free" snacks and always refer to the food label to see how many grams of carbohydrate are in a serving. For example those Edy's No Sugar Added fruit bars have 8 grams of carbohydrate per bar. As for the ice creams, the no sugar added only have 2-4gms less carbohydrate than the regular version! I say if you wanna snack, cover it with insulin and enjoy it! If you're waiting for a high blood sugar to come down, try a handful of nuts (as long as they aren't sugar coated). For a true carbohydrate free popsicle, make your own with crystal light!

I'm always careful about "sugar free" snacks and always refer to the food label to see how many grams of carbohydrate are in a serving. For example those Edy's No Sugar Added fruit bars have 8 grams of carbohydrate per bar. As for the ice creams, the no sugar added only have 2-4gms less carbohydrate than the regular version! I say if you wanna snack, cover it with insulin and enjoy it! If you're waiting for a high blood sugar to come down, try a handful of nuts (as long as they aren't sugar coated). For a true carbohydrate free popsicle, make your own with crystal light!

I usually never buy sugar free products. Most have about the same carbs and sometimes more as non sugar free. For example, Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice has 30g of carbs, sugar free has 33g, light has 10g and diet has 0g. The labels can really be deceiving so I just go by the amount of carbs.

This post is oddly timely. Since I just finished figuring out Mother's Day, I started brainstorming for Father's Day. My dad is the hardest person to buy for. He was diagnosed with Type I diabetes two years ago. Weird, I know, to have it appear as an adult, but it is what it is. The man LOVED his sweets, it's been hard on him. Was wondering if you know the Jen who posted above mentioning the Agave nectar brownies. Oh but my dad would LOVE THAT and I was hoping to get a recipe. Thanks! And if there's no easy way to procure that (protecting everyone's privacy and all), no worries. I'm off to Google recipes!

Dill pickles. And then sometimes when I'm finished, I'll even drink the juice. Really takes the edge off...or puts it on. I'm not really sure.

My Type 1 kid is 13, her oldest sibling is her bro age 17, when she was dx at age 8, he was already into his own life. we used to joke, You know nothing about diabetes! he would respond:There's no carbs in cheese!. I think that's a good title for a book. smile.

Why do I remember eating lots and lots of olives? Pickles, too (I loved/hated the 'free food' exchange page in my old ADA book!). The Edy's bars are a godsend, ditto on string cheese--where was the stuff back in the day?!. And if Equal is pure chemicals, well hey, I'm gonna be embalmed in Diet Coke anyway ;-) (With sticks of peppermint Extra in my cold dead hands--!)

Currently I'm eating pretzels and Milanos to combat all-day lows (just clocked in @ 52 with no symptoms, oh joy). I wish I could actually enjoy food sometimes, it seems there's always a catch...

Thanks for the great review idea Kerri! I find myself craving these when I'm high too. I get VERY warm when I have a high and it seems like the popsicles make me feel cooler faster than anything else.

Pssst - don't tell anyone, but we're also going to be doing Sugar Free PhillySwirl frozen treats soon too. Sugar Free Snacks back with a vengeance!

Holy comments on this subject.

Memories, whoa memories:
"Sugar-free Jell-O, pickles, cucumbers, and sugar-free popsicles were stashed in mass quantities in my childhood home."

Same here. Besides a given that air is carb free -- I struggle with snack time.

Recently found almonds do the trick for me. Love them. Good for you, no more than 10 and I am "full." Nice.

Not a fan of frozen in the past few years. Long story, No one needs the details.

Either way, that picture, YUM! I LOVE orange. Too funny.

Thanks for sharing yet another Great post.

When I stayed at G-Money's house in February, he introduced me to sugar free Life Savers Popsicle.

Kerri, they were SO GOOD that the wood tasted good after I had eaten all of the popsicle.

It was like the goodness of the popsicle rubbed off and into the wood. I was seriously sucking on the wood stick for minutes afterwords - and enjoying it. But don't chew them, tongue splinters are not cool.

I freeze sugar free jello, so it's like an italian ice, but I also make my own pops with crystal lite...yummy.

I try to stay away from the artificial sweeteners too, because they definitely zap my sensitivity to sweetness in other foods. But I loooove popsicles for the exact same reason...sweet thirst quenchers that I can down without thinking about it.

Such a relief sometimes, both physically and mentally.

Mmmm, free foods. Pickles and sunflower seeds. I used to have an unhealthy obsession with sunflower seeds, the ones in the shell because they take effort and can't be eaten by the handful. SF jello and popsicles rock too. Inspired by that mini heatwave we had, I just bought a box of popsicles about a week ago. Grape is icky though so I don't buy boxes with any flavor combo that includes grape. I remember when SF jello first came out, and how excited I was, back when you had to make it yourself. The waiting part of preparing it killed me, but I used to know the quick prep method by heart. Besides all that, I liked to eat cheese, lunchmeat, and veggies - although some of the veggies I ate as "free" foods, weren't really, but this was in exchange diet days.

I wasn't diagnosed until I was 21 years old, and before that I was all about Dr Pepper, and chocolate! I am still not a big fan of sugar-free chocolate, but have discovered the dark chocolate or regular chocolate sugar-free puddings that are only 60 calories. I love them when I am craving something sweet!

I like Stevia. They have a powdered form and a liquid form. I'm a sucker for the orange pops too! There the best! It's derived from some leave. I wish their was a true "free" ice cream. Actually, one of my favorite almost free desert is diet orange soda with a few shots of whip cream! I think it packs about 2 carbs.

My son eats cucumber by the yard, that and baby carrots and cherry tomatoes!I have rapidly had to become an expert in 'nutritional information'- one moan, why is it always printed so damn small?!

My daughter likes to snack on Hormel turkey pepperoni and cheese sticks.

ooh, a shout out to the zorro cookie!

We go with things like cheese and peanuts/cashews. Mostly they don't effect Ian's bg's at all, but he's eating small quantities.

My favorite was Hickory Farms beef sticks, salty delicious and perfect with pickles. I always craved salty snack over sweet, so I didn't particulary care for SF popsicles.

Erin, I'd be happy to share the recipe, but I don't have it here at work with me...feel free to shoot me an email to jenzings [at] gmail [dot] com and once I get home I'll type it up and send along.

Reminds me, I really need to get my own durn blog set up as I've had a lot of fun tinkering with the Agave nectar and ground almonds and plan on sharing as many recipes as I can make edible...

Jen

I LOVE sugar free life saver Popsicles! OMG! Best sugar free Popsicle every invented.
I just found sugar free strawberry cubes (jello) yum.
I tried going to a health food store and was turned off. I could see the holes burning in my pockets, cost so much. The government should make eating healthy cheaper, the cost on eating junk. I bet we would be a healthier country.

Kerri,

If you are in the mood for chocolate, try Russell Stover. They have TONS of few sugar free options!

Carbs aren't too surprising. Avg. 21 carbs for 3 pieces. Yum!

I just recently found this site, I'm a T2 but definitely can relate to these. I noticed a bunch of folks mentioning that they make their own popsicles with Crystal Light and I just wanted to post that on my last excursion to find me a good SF dessert was completed by finding some Crystal Light ones! I also found some Crystal Light hard candies!

Have you heard about the pickle juice popsicles? Not only are they sugar free, but they have a study on their web site claiming that the pickle pops when eaten before a meal will blunt the blood sugar spike by 42 percent. I found them at bobspicklepops.com. Bizarre and wild.

a HUGE nut aficionado. love almonds, walnuts, pecans, peanuts. very filling too.
about the artificial sweetener: i switched from coffee to brewing my own loose-leaf tea (both green and pu er). these require no sweetener or milk, are good for you due to the amount of antioxidants in them, and are easier on the stomach than coffee. the taste is subtle, but very addictive once you get used to it.

My favorite free snack is egg white salad from Trader Joes - they come in little single serving packages in 3 flavors - 100 calories a packet, and around 2-4 grams of carb - no-bolus perfection!

I am _BURNT_OUT_ on sf jello. I can't even stomach it anymore. I normally eat pumpkin seeds, almonds, string cheese. Veggies too, although I get sick of them easily. :P

I'm also nervous about the chemicals in artifical sweeteners. I discovered stevia a few years ago and I really love it. I don't like the generic brands but found that I do like "sweet leaf" brand. I use the liquid kind to mix with sparkling water and "just cranberry" to make an alternative to soda (1 bottle pellegrino/other sparking mineral water + 100 ML just cranberry unsweetened juice + 3 squirts liquid stevia).
I also recently discovered agave and I'll put a TBSP in fage 0% yogurt with some fruit or granola for a tasty breakfast.

I also like Kozy Shack's sugar free tapioca pudding but it's made with splenda...

i like juce with sugur


My favorite sugar-free homemade popsicle is this: mix 1 2-quart packet of lemonade crystal-light powder with ONLY 2 cups cold water, whisk until dissolved. In another glass cup dissolve one 3-oz. pkg. sugar-free jello (lime) in 2/3 C. boiling water--stir until totally dissolved, then add to lemonade mixture. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze. They are lemon-lime and absolutely wonderful....and totally sugar free. (lemonade with strawberry sf jello is great too...you can mix and match the flavors---there's no end!)

LOVE THIS! Just found this site - T1 for about 15 months. (Dx at age 33 - unusual, but there you go)

My "free" foods are almonds, cheese (I like all kinds), hard boiled eggs, celery w/peanut butter. Also, I am addicted to Diet Dr. Pepper, aspartame be damned!

Carrots send me a little high - I'm surprised at how many of you can eat them.

I live in Arizona and it's starting to get HOT, and I was wondering if there were any good popsicles I could eat. I will be looking today at the store for the Life Savers or Crystal Light, also I may hit Trader Joe's- that egg white salad sounds awesome.

I hate SF stuff that still has other carbs, if you have to bolus anyway, it seems to defeat the purpose.

I ate a "Diet" snowballt tody which the owners of the stand said was sugar free but my BG went up about 35 points. Newly diagnosed T1 9/09 at age 57! Talk about weird! Do you think the increase was just coincidence?

todays products are not tailored to diabetics - normally popsicles are only grape/orange/cherry.. what about the good/more exotic flavors! Going to try making jello popsicles (yet - flavors are very limited) or maybe pudding popsicles (both sugar free) why don't they make SF watermelon jello! Diabetics get stuff with the ordinary flavors :O(

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