What is a perfect snack for you to have with tea? For me it is definitely a biscuit. Having a biscuit dipped in a hot cup of tea is something that I enjoy from my childhood. Tea and biscuits are just incomplete without each other. When I started my journey to become fit and healthy, the very first thing that I was asked to do was stop having biscuits with tea. Why? Because they are made of refined flour (maida), sugar, oil or butter and are very high in calories. I tried avoiding biscuits with tea but could not and then I heard of some healthy options. Sugar free, zero calorie biscuits.
Sugar free biscuits are popular nowadays, everyone is choosing it to become healthy, lose weight and keep a check on their daily calorie intake. It is famous among diabetics because they can enjoy biscuits without actually eating sugars and keeping their blood sugars within the range. So, are we ready to replace biscuits with sugar free biscuits? Wait, let us first understand what is sugar free, its benefits or side effects, which is a better option, who can eat it and who should not.
What is Sugar Free?
Sugar free does not mean without sugar it means artificial sweetener. Sugar free is 100 times more sweet than sugar but very low in calories. Which makes them popular among the people, especially diabetics. Sugar free contains less or no carbohydrates that keeps blood sugar levels within the range. There are different types of sweeteners available in the market like stevia, palm sugar, date sugar, aspartame, sucralose, saccharin, etc. Having sugar free and sugar free food can definitely help in reducing weight and blood sugar levels. Whereas on the other hand use of sugar free over the time and if not used as per the guidelines can lead to several problems like weight gain, high blood sugar levels, digestive issues and other metabolic disorders.
Are Sugar Free Biscuits Good in Diabetes?
Biscuits with sugar free is actually not as healthy as it says. “No sugar added” does not mean that it is not going to increase your blood sugar levels. It contains refined flour (maida), oil, salt, artificial sweeteners and preservatives. Maida has a very high glycemic index which affects our blood sugar levels, increases bad cholesterol and our body weight. Oil disturbs our cholesterol and triglycerides levels, salt and sodium in it affects blood pressure. Last but not the least sugar free consumption over a longer period of time can cause bloating, weight gain and fluctuations in blood sugars. Also, artificial sweeteners being much sweeter than normal sugar makes you crave to eat more sweet and high calorie food. It is fine to have them once in a while but not regularly. Sugar free biscuits do not contain sugar but they are rich in carbohydrates that increases our blood sugar levels.
So next time shopping for sugar free or diabetes friendly food check the carbohydrate section instead of sugar behind the packet.
Which are the Best Sugar Free Biscuits in India?
It is better to avoid all kinds of processed and packaged foods but still if we cannot keep our hands away from biscuits choose the ones that are not made up of refined flour (maida). Avoid cream biscuits, salty biscuits and butter cookies completely. If you are diabetic, do not have ragi biscuits as ragi leads to high post meal blood sugar levels. Choose biscuits made up of oats, millets, multigrain, almonds and other nuts and seeds. They have high fibre content and less glycemic index as compared to other biscuits.
Points to Remember When Buying Biscuits:
How do you decide which biscuit you want to buy the next time? Generally, everyone buys the one that has been advertised the most on television or is sugar free or zero calorie or zero fat. But that is not just the right way because it can mislead you. Let us learn how to choose the best biscuit or cookies:
1. Nutritional Information:
Always check nutrition information on the back of the packet. It helps us to decide which actually is a better option for us. In the ingredient list, check what all biscuits are made up of.
2. Type of Flour:
Avoid biscuits made up of refined flour instead, choose the one that are made up of oats, millets or multigrain flour
3. Avoid Sugar:
Make sure they do not contain any sugar or honey in it. Sometimes to make their product healthy and sugar free companies use terms like sucrose, malt, syrup, dextrin instead of sugar. So, read the ingredients very carefully and make sure biscuits do not contain any of these types of sugar.
4. Total Amount of Carbohydrates:
Check the amount of total carbohydrates present in the biscuit and select the one that has the lowest amount of carbohydrates in it. Sugar free biscuits with high amounts of carbohydrates can increase your blood sugar levels.
5. Quantity and Type of Fat:
Look for trans fats and saturated fats present in it. Try to choose the one that has zero trans fat and lowest amount of saturated fat.
Compare all the available options and then buy the healthiest one for you.
How Many Sugar Free Biscuits can a Diabetic Eat?
If you can not quit eating biscuits, then choose one of the best biscuits available in the market using the pointers mentioned above. Try not to have them regularly. If eating everyday with your tea, do not have more than 2 biscuits in a day. Avoid having them in mid meals instead, have any 1 seasonal fruit of your choice. Eating biscuits in mid meals to reduce long meal gaps and manage fluctuations in blood sugar levels can actually increase your sugar levels as they are rich in carbohydrates. Replace biscuits with healthy tea snacks like bhuna chana (roasted bengal gram), roasted peanuts, roasted makhana (fox nuts), puffed rice, roasted chivda (flattened rice, poha), cashews, pistachios, pumpkin and sunflower seeds.
Which are the Best Natural Sweeteners?
Your doctor must have told you to avoid sugar to lose weight and reduce blood sugar levels. But it is really difficult for all of us to completely avoid sugars. So, here is a solution to all our problems. Replacing sugars with natural sweeteners will not only add sweetness to our food but will also help us reduce weight and blood sugar levels.
1. Cinnamon (Dalchini):
Known as the sweet spice, gives a very sweet flavor to food. Cinnamon is rich in antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties that help in boosting immunity. It also helps in reducing cholesterol levels, improves heart health, lowers blood sugar levels, reduces weight and belly fat. Add a pinch of cinnamon in your tea or coffee in place of sugar or sugar free to get all of these benefits. Do not have more than 3-4 grams in a day.
2. Licorice (Mulethi):
Mulethi is 50 times sweeter than sugar. It not only satisfies our sugar cravings but also helps in managing blood sugar levels, relieves cold and cough, lowers bad cholesterol, relieves bloating, heartburn and soothes ulcers in mouth and stomach. Boil 2-3 inches of mulethi root while preparing tea to enjoy a perfect and sweet cup of tea.
3. Dates (Khajur):
Dates can easily replace sugar in sweets and desserts. But can diabetics have dates? Yes, for sure. Dates has a low glycemic index, so diabetics can add them in their fruits and sweets list. They are sweet in taste and rich in fibre, iron, potassium and antioxidants. It improves high blood pressure, immunity, digestive health and blood sugar levels. Add chopped dates or dates pulp in place of sugar while preparing sweets. You can also have 2-3 dates everyday to curb your sugar cravings.
4. Raisins (Kishmish):
Raisins or dried grapes is an amazing natural sweetener. Do not just add it in your dried fruits tray but also add it to your fruit bowl, salads, curd, oatmeal, ladoo and other sweet dishes. It gives them a sweet flavor and increases their nutritional value as raisins are loaded with fibre, iron, calcium and antioxidants. You can have 7-8 raisins everyday.
5. Figs (Anjeer):
One of the sweetest and nutritious dried fruit. It can be used as a fresh fruit or in dried form in place of sugar. Figs are an amazing source of iron, fibre, Vit C, potassium, Vit A and Vit K. Being loaded with so many nutrients and vitamins they help in managing heart health, digestion and immunity. Add fresh fig or dried figs pulp to sweeten ladoo, burfi, halwa. You can eat 2 pieces of figs everyday. Do not forget to soak them overnight in water.
6. Banana (Kela):
Nothing can be more sweet than banana. It has always been on my list when I was looking for something sweet. Banana is a low glycemic index fruit rich in fibre which makes it a perfect fruit for diabetics. It also manages high blood pressure due to its high potassium content. You can make your days and meals sweet by adding bananas to your oat meals, fruit bowls, bedtime snacks and smoothies. It is a perfect pre-workout meal option also.
Sugar Free Recipes
Sugar is not good for our health, it is one of the major reasons for obesity, diabetes, blood pressure, heart problems, high cholesterol, etc. Not only diabetics all of us should avoid having sugar. But do not worry, we can satisfy our sweet tooth with some of the amazing healthy and sugar free recipes.
1. Dates ladoo
- 500 grams Dates (seedless)
- 2-3 tbsp Ghee
- 70 grams Almonds, chopped
- 70 grams Cashews, chopped
- 30 grams Dry Coconut, grated
- Soak dates in water overnight. Strain out water completely
- Heat a pan (kadhai), add dates in it and cook on a low-medium flame until it starts leaving water and forms a dough
- Turn off the flame and let it cool a little. Do not cool completely.
- Heat ghee in a separate pan (kadhai), add almonds, cashew and dry coconut.
- Roast on low flame till they turn golden brown.
- Add the roasted nuts in dates and mix it well.
- Grease your palms with ghee, take 2 tbsp of mixture and roll it into a ladoo
- Store them in an airtight container
2. Fig burfi
- 250 gram Figs, chopped
- 250 gram Dates, chopped
- 70 gram Raisins
- 70 gram Almonds, chopped
- 70 grams Walnuts, chopped
- 70 grams Pistachios, chopped
- 50 grams Muskmelon seeds
- ½ tsp Nutmeg, powder
- 1 tsp Cinnamon, powder
- 2 tbsp Ghee
- Wash figs and dates properly and soak them overnight in water
- Drain water and keep aside
- Heat a pan and dry roast almonds, pistachios, walnuts and muskmelon seeds until golden brown
- In a pan, add dates, figs and water (if required). Cook on low to medium flame until it turns into a paste
- Add roasted nuts, seeds, raisins, nutmeg, cinnamon, ghee, mix well and remove from flame
- Grease butter paper with ghee and spread mixture evenly on it with the help of rolling pin
- Cut in square pieces and serve
3. Chia seeds pudding
- 2 tbsp Chia seeds
- ½ glass Almond milk, unsweetened
- 1 tbsp Strawberries, chopped
- 1 tbsp Banana, chopped
- ½ tsp Vanilla essence
- Add chia seeds, almond milk and vanilla essence in a bowl and let it sit for 1 hour.
- Mix well and set in fridge for 1-2 hours (if required)
- Add chopped fruits in it and serve
4. Banana smoothie
- 1 ripe Banana, sliced
- 2 Almonds, chopped
- 1 small bowl Curd
- ½ glass water
- A pinch of Cinnamon
- Freeze banana slices for 2-3 hours
- Mash banana with the help of spoon
- Add curd, water, almonds, banana in a bowl and blend it for 10 sec to remove an lumps
- Garnish with cinnamon and serve
5. Fruit yogurt
- ½ Apple, diced
- 3 tbsp Pomegranate
- ½ Banana, sliced
- 5-6 Grapes
- 1 small bowl Curd (yogurt)
- 1 tsp Flax seeds, roasted
- 1 tsp Pumpkin seeds, roasted
- 1 tsp Sunflower seeds, roasted
- A pinch of Cinnamon
- Combine all the ingredients in a bowl
- Mix well and keep in refrigerator for 30 minutes (if required)
- Garnish with cinnamon and serve
Cook, serve and enjoy these delicious recipes. And we do not need any sugar free or sugar to sweeten our meals anymore.
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