Easter is a time for family, friends, new beginnings, and you guessed it ... chocolate.
When you have diabetes it’s important to make healthier food choices and be smart with the snacks you choose. This means swapping things like crisps, biscuits and chocolate for yoghurts, unsalted nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables. This will help to manage your diabetes and reduce your risk of long-term complications.
That said, Easter only comes once a year, so don’t worry about the odd one or two indulgences, as these will not affect your long-term diabetes management.
Read on for more advice on managing diabetes at Easter, plus some tasty recipe suggestions.
But what if you have diabetes?
It’s a myth that you can’t eat chocolate if you have diabetes, just eat it in moderation, and try not to eat a lot in one go as it affects your blood sugar levels.
Of course some adults with diabetes may actually prefer an alternative Easter present such as flowers, fruit or a book, so it’s worth checking. You can find some great gift ideas in our online shop, for example.
Should I buy ‘diabetic’ chocolate?
To say food is a diabetic food is now against the law. This is because there isn’t any evidence that these foods offer you a special benefit over eating healthily.
‘Diabetic’ chocolate is just as high in saturated fat and calories as ordinary chocolate, so is still not a healthy option for your heart or for helping you to maintain a healthier weight.
It will still contain carbohydrates so can still raise blood sugar levels. Sometimes the type of sweetener used to replace sugar in ‘diabetic’ Easter eggs can have a laxative effect.
We do not recommend 'diabetic' Easter eggs, they are often more expensive than the regular chocolate versions. It’s best to choose a smaller portion.
How Easter treats compare
We've made the table below so you can see how some popular Easter treats compare for carbs, sugar, saturated fat and calories per portion.
Carbs per portion
Sugars per portion
Saturated fat per portion
Cadbury Mini Eggs Nest Cakes
Tesco Hot cross bun
Lindt Gold Bunny Milk Chocolate
1 medium bunny
Maltesers Chocolate Mini Bunnies Bag
Whole bag (5 bunnies)
Cadbury Creme Egg
Sainsbury's Simnel Slab Cake
1 small slice
Cadbury mini eggs carton
*% free sugar limit for adults.
Top Easter tips
- Try choosing good-quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa is best). It has a stronger taste than milk chocolate, so you are likely to eat a bit less.
- Decide how much you are going to eat and put the rest of the chocolate away, out of reach. This should help prevent you from having 'just one more piece' and eating more than you planned too.
- Read the labels for carb content to help adjust your insulin levels.
- Try and get active, for example by going on a long walk with the family. This will increase your sensitivity to insulin which will help to keep your blood sugars in your target range.
Your top tips
We asked our Facebook followers for advice about enjoying Easter. Here are some of their top tips.
Rachel: "Eating half a ton of chocolate in one go isn't good for anyone, diabetic or not so probably best to not eat all of your Easter eggs all at once anyway!"
Teresa: "Just enjoy Easter and don't let diabetes rule anything you do in life."
Julie G: "For Easter egg hunts the prize doesn't all have to be chocolate. For children, try pencil cases filled with things like keyrings and toys. For adults, you could find a plastic egg and fill it with perfume or jewellery."
Don’t be hard on yourself:
Teapot Diabetic: "Don't be discouraged when your blood glucose levels go haywire. Diabetes is a marathon not a race."
Gemma: "If you miscount and end up a bit higher than you want, don't beat yourself up, no one is perfect all the time!"
Avoid ‘diabetic’ Easter eggs:
Catherine: "Don't buy 'diabetic' Easter eggs. They have a nasty effect on the guts. Have some normal choc and enjoy."
Amber: "Don't get carried away with the diabetic chocolate it might seem like a good idea but it doesn’t taste too great and too much of it acts as a laxative."
Simon: "If you get the sugar free chocolate and you want to eat it, remember to read the warnings about excessive consumption."
Adjust insulin for Easter eggs:
Adam: "You can still eat chocolate, as I still do, but just adjust your insulin dose for type 1."
Paula: "Have chocolate if you want it! Just remember to take extra insulin. Always remember 'you control diabetes it doesn't control you!
Amber: "If you want proper choc have some but take your insulin and if you’re not sure about how much to take, give what you think but just check your sugars a couple hours later."
This mouth-watering recipe combines fresh, chopped basil and parsley with sumptuous lamb and is an ideal dish for entertaining your guests at Easter. It's easy to make, tastes absolutely amazing and, best of all, it's a healthy choice, with three of your five-a-day.
These hot cross buns are made with wholemeal flour and extra fruit, including apple and banana. They are a bit more dense than shop-bought ones but have all the traditional flavour. They also contain far more fibre, so they are filling and satisfying. As with any leavened bread it takes a little time, but you can get on with other things while the dough is rising.
Eggs have always been associated with spring celebrations. Children would be sent out to collect wild birds’ eggs, which are abundant at Eastertide. Although children today hunt for chocolate eggs, the egg still remains a fundamental part of Easter.
Often associated with the West Country, these biscuits were traditionally eaten on Easter Sunday. These biscuits are smaller than the traditional biscuits. They're also made with wholemeal flour, which adds fibre which is great for a healthier gut. We’ve also used less sugar, and swapped butter for rapeseed oil to reduce the saturated fat.