What to Eat Wednesday: A Sweet New Year (Without the Sugar)

Dip pomegranate in honey for a diabetic-friendly twist on Rosh Hashana traditionWith Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, beginning tonight, I’m certain that many of my diabetic readers are getting nervous about celebrating this holiday, known for sweet treats like apple cake and sweet round challah bread.

Rest assured, you can still enjoy the symbolic sweetness of the holiday without throwing your blood sugar out of whack. Below, some suggestions from the Jewish Diabetes Association that will help you safely enjoy the holiday. Happy New Year!

JDA’s 4 Tips for a Diabetic Friendly Rosh Hashanah

Instead of apples and honey, try a pomegranate: Dipping an apple slice in honey is the most iconic ritual of Rosh Hashanah, but a tablespoon of honey could be dangerous for diabetes sufferers. Instead, try pomegranate, another auspicious fruit but one with a much lower glycemic index. It might even be helpful: a 2006 Israeli study in Atherosclerosis found that pomegranate juice lowers bad cholesterol for people living with diabetes.

Use seasonal produce: Sweet butternut squash, tomatoes, apples and even peaches are available in most areas of the country this time of year. While they contain some fructose, they are also high in fiber and have important vitamins and minerals, like lycopene and vitamins A, C and B12. 

Incorporate sweetness into main dishes: Add a few dried apricots or prunes to a protein-based dish like roast chicken or grilled fish to up the sweet factor while maintaining an overall low-sugar dish.

Choose wine in place of grape juice: “Fruit of the vine” is an important aspect of any Jewish ceremonial meal. And though it might sound like a good idea to avoid alcohol, grape juice averages 30 grams of carbohydrates per glass, while wine only has 4 grams. Better yet, make a wine spritzer with equal parts wine and seltzer.

Dr. Andrew Schneider
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Dr. Andrew Schneider is a podiatrist and foot surgeon at Tanglewood Foot Specialists in Houston, TX.
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