Don't panic, Valentine's Day is coming
Updated: Jun 22, 2021
February is here which means that Valentine's Day is upon us. I know that many feel this holiday is overrated, but for me I love any excuse to celebrate - especially if it involves chocolate.
As I've been building more recipes and thinking about the criteria that makes food more accessible for me, I began to realize that there are some common themes behind the types of sweets I gravitate towards. In the context of being gifted a sweet treat for Valentine's Day (or treating yourself), I wanted to share my top suggested "things to consider" when choosing a treat for a loved one who has Type 1 Diabetes. Keep in mind, these are considerations. Preferences can vary wildly from person to person (with or without type one) so my best advice is to go with consideration #1 as a starting point no matter what. For example, I myself don't ever want to be the recipient of sugar free chocolate, but there are many people out there who would be thrilled to receive a box of assorted sugar free chocolates and candies!
Below are the five things that go through my head when planning a food purchase for any of my loved ones (or frankly for myself), and particularly if it's for someone with type one.
Consideration #1: Ask them what treat they love
I realize that a piece of the Valentine's Day magic is meant to involve surprise. For better or for worse, planning is a big part of living with type one, particularly when it comes to desserts. Depending on a whole variety of factors, including how my blood sugar has looked recently, my preference for a treat may change from week to week. If you're able and feel comfortable, the best thing to do is check in and see if they have a preference!
Consideration #2: Are nutrition facts available?
This isn't a deal breaker, but it is something that makes essentially any dessert more accessible for someone with type one. If you have a treat in mind, often a quick search online or a browse of the company's website can confirm if this information is available.
Consideration #3: How perishable is it?
I despise wasting food, however a huge part of living with type one involves living by your insulin to carb ratio and paying attention to how your body reacts to different types of carbs. Yes we can up the amount of insulin for a carb heavy treat, but eating sweets in large quantities can be straining. Gifting three dozen servings of something sweet that is meant to be enjoyed that day, while a beautiful gesture is maybe not the most practical choice. If something is extremely perishable (only good for a day or two) and comes in a large quantity, maybe rethink the choice or check to ensure it's something they're seriously craving.
Consideration #4: If we're talking more than 2-3 servings, does it freeze easily?
A bit of a continuation on #3 but this is a passion of mine. For me, discovering the ability to portion and freeze desserts has quite literally changed my outlook on sweets. If something comes naturally in large quantities but freezes well, this makes a huge difference. Rather than trying to eat two dozen cookies before they go stale, keeping some out to enjoy now and placing the rest in the freezer makes it a much more flexible option. No food goes to waste, and it gives control to the recipient to enjoy the treat however quickly or slowly works for them.
Consideration #5: Am I certain that they enjoy this type of treat?
I'll say it again, it is absolutely true that someone with type one can eat basically anything with the right amount of insulin. That being said, if I'm going to eat something sweet, I want it to be something that I really enjoy. If you're going to gift a dessert, make sure it's something you know they'll love. Re: consideration #1 - just ask!
I'll leave you with a few of my personal favorites based on the considerations above. Let me know if you have a favorite or another consideration you use to guide your treat choices!
Milk Bar Cake Truffles (first photo below): You can get them in packs of three if you're near one of their shops, or you can order a box of one dozen shipped right to you. They have nutrition info easily available, stay fresh for about a week if stored correctly (unopened or in an airtight container at room temp or in the fridge), AND they freeze like a dream. You can eat them right out of the freezer, leave out to defrost, or pop one in the microwave for 15-30 seconds. Maximum flexibility, and they are delicious.
L.A. Burdick Drinking Chocolate: This is my all time favorite spot to get hot chocolate when I'm out and about in Boston, and it tastes incredible at home too. They have a variety of options on their site, but my personal favorite is the milk chocolate. It is a great sweet treat that's a step up from your typical store bought mix, you can keep the chocolate for quite a long time, and the nutrition facts are printed right on the packaging. I also love that it comes with a mini whisk - it's adorable!
Lindt Assorted Chocolates: A step up from the classic heart filled with assorted chocolates, though I do love those, you can hand select the assortment of flavors and nutrition information is available for all of their truffles. I love the personalization element of this, and the chocolates have an incredibly long shelf life.
Zola Bakes Rainbow Cookies (second photo below): When it comes to favorite desserts, this just about tops the list for me. This is one dessert that I make an allowance for there being no nutrition information available. The biggest reason being is that they stay good for about 10 days and come in boxes of 20 small sized rainbow treats. They are easy for sharing (if you choose to, though I rarely do) and the shelf life is a huge plus because I don't feel the need to finish them right away!
Wishing you all a happy and treat filled Valentine's Day!