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Diabetic-Friendly Recipes for the Holidays

Hicela Headshot-1

Hicela (Leslie) Arreaza
Newman’s Own Foundation Fellow, Capacity Building


The season of sipping sweet, hot beverages has arrived. This can be intimidating for people with diabetes because of certain dietary needs. However, being in a diabetic household does not mean having to miss out on eating the season’s best foods.

We spoke with Chef Matt at Victory Junction, the SeriousFun camp in North Carolina, and curated some diabetic dishes from his favorite resources. Here are a few recipes you can enjoy that are low on sugar and carbs — and high on holiday festivity.


Pumpkin Raspberry Muffins

(Low carb, low fat, and sugar-free)



  • 3 ounces of pumpkin puree
  • 5 cup of coconut flour
  • 5 scoop of vanilla protein powder
  • 1 cup of egg whites
  • 1 cup of frozen raspberries
  • 1 cup of Stevia in the raw
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon of ginger
  • Cooking spray
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Mix pumpkin and egg white in large bowl.
  3. Add everything except raspberries and mix well.
  4. Grease muffin pan with cooking spray.
  5. Fold the frozen raspberries into the dough. Pro Tip: Do this step quickly before the raspberries get soft and lose their shape!
  6. Scoop the dough into the pan.
  7. Bake the muffins for 15 minutes.
  8. Let cool for a minimum of 10 minutes.
  9. Serve with almonds and berries, and store in an air-tight container or freeze remaining muffins for a treat another day!
Cranberry Sauce

(Sugar-free, low carb, and low calorie)



  • 1 teaspoon of cornstarch
    • Pro Tip: If avoiding cornstarch for any reason, replace with arrowroot starch
  • 1 cup of Splenda, granulated
    • Pro Tip: Splenda can be replaced with a sweetener of choice, such as Stevia
  • ½ cup of water
  • 3 cups of fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1 medium orange, peeled and sectioned
  • Mix cornstarch, Splenda, and water in a medium saucepan over medium high-heat.
  • Stir until all is dissolved.
  • Stir in cranberries and orange sections.
  • Bring mixture to a boil while stirring constantly.
  • Reduce heat and simmer, stirring often for five minutes or until cranberry skins begin to pop and mixture starts to thicken.
  • Cover and chill for at least 3 hours.


Chocolate Pudding “Dirt Cups”

(Low calorie, low carb, and low fat)



  • 1 (1.4 ounce) box of instant, sugar-free chocolate pudding, prepared according to package directions
  • 1 ½ cup sugar-free frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • 12 reduced-fat chocolate and vanilla crème sandwich cookies divided
  • Optional: SmartSweet gummies of choice (or similar) for topping
  1. Divide the pudding in half.
  2. Take one half of the pudding and divide that into six cups or tumblers.
  3. Add the whip cream evenly to every cup.
  4. Add the remaining pudding.
  5. Crush the sandwich cookies and add them to each cup.
  6. Lastly, add any low sugar gummy candy if using. Enjoy!


Chocolate Fudge Recipe

(Vegan, low carb, and keto)



  • 1 ½ cups of coconut butter
  • 1 (13.66 fluid ounces) can of full fat coconut milk
  • 10 ounces of bittersweet chocolate chips
  • Optional: flaked or coarse sea salt for topping
  1. Line an 8×8 pan with wax paper or foil.
  2. Over low heat, melt the coconut butter.
  3. Stir in the coconut milk and chocolate chips.
  4. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until the chocolate chips are melted.
  5. Pour the mixture into the baking pan. Sprinkle the flaked or coarse sea salt as desired.
  6. Place in refrigerator for 2 hours.

Pro Tip: Try this recipe with avocado in place of coconut butter, with a 1:1 substitution, for a slightly different flavor. 


Hot Chocolate

(Sugar-free, low carb, and low calorie)



  • 1 cup of low carb milk, such as almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon of raw cacao powder (can also use cocoa powder)
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar-free sweetener of choice, such as plant-based sweetener Stevia
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch of sea salt
  • Optional: cinnamon or nutmeg, cacao nibs, and sugar-free whipped cream
  • Mix milk, cacao powder, sweetener, vanilla extract, and sea salt in a pot.
  • Stir over medium heat.
  • When at desired temperature, pour into two mugs (do not boil).
  • Top with whipped cream, cacao nibs, and or cinnamon or nutmeg.

For everyone, and especially those living with diabetes, following a balanced diet is the key to a healthy holiday season, while still enjoying some special treats. Rather than the old “fasting to build up for a big meal” trick, try adding light exercise, like a walk around the neighborhood, or managing portions. You can also balance nutritional intake and blood sugar levels with protein-packed snacks, whole grains, and heart-healthy fats. Of course, you and your doctor know what’s best.

For more ideas on diabetic-friendly recipes, this website is filled with lots of options. We hope you have a hearty, healthy, and happy holiday!



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