Updated 06 February 2017

How to celebrate Valentine’s Day without the sugar

If your sweetheart has diabetes, here's how to celebrate Valentine's Day without spiking their blood sugar.


If your sweetheart has diabetes or prediabetes, get creative and celebrate Valentine’s Day without chocolates or a fancy restaurant meal, an expert says.

Instead of going out for dinner, go on an outing that includes a hike, bicycle ride or vigorous walk, suggested Debora Nagata, a diabetes educator at the University of California, Los Angeles Medical Centre in Santa Monica.

Read: Healthy living may reduce diabetes risk more than Metformin

For your excursion, you can pack a picnic basket that includes items such as low-fat cheese, olives, fresh vegetables with a raita Indian yogurt dip, nuts, hummus, antipasto salad, sliced apple, smoked salmon or low-sodium, low-fat sliced turkey and a bottle of sparkling water.

“You could even include a small glass of red wine,” Nagata said in a medical centre news release. “Be sure to have food with your wine as alcohol can initially increase your blood sugar, but then it can cause a drop, or hypoglycaemia.”

Read: Eat your veggies 

It’s also OK to share a special cookie or some sugar-free or dark chocolates. “Everyone needs an occasional treat or they feel deprived, but think quality, not quantity,” Nagata said. 

According to the International Diabetes foundation, there were 2.28 million cases of diabetes in South Africa in 2015. There is a lot of evidence that lifestyle changes (achieving a healthy body weight and moderate physical activity) can help prevent the development of diabetes. 

Read more: 

Symptoms of diabetes  

Avoid diabetes with more protein and more fibre 

Gradually reducing sugar in sodas could lower diabetes rates


Ask the Expert

Diabetes expert

Dr. May currently works as a fulltime endocrinologist and has been in private practice since 2004. He has a variety of interests, predominantly obesity and diabetes, but also sees patients with osteoporosis, thyroid disorders, men's health disorders, pituitary and adrenal disorders, polycystic ovaries, and disorders of growth. He is a leading member of several obesity and diabetes societies and runs a trial centre for new drugs.

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