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The DX Exclusive Recipe: Birthday “Cake” and Banana-Oat Chocolate Chip Bars

Rethinking “birthday cake” recipes for diabetes meal plans

A loved one’s birthday is approaching … If you or a family member lives with diabetes, you may be stumped for what to do about a birthday cake. Blowing out the candles may be a fun part of a birthday celebration, so I was inspired to create two recipes for diabetes-friendlier alternatives.

Whether your celebration calls for moist and chocolately banana bars or a whimsical “cake” made from summer’s bounty of fruits – or both – these treats are sure to be crowd pleasers. Be sure to talk to your diabetes care team if you are considering making changes to your meal plan.

(Learn more about eating and diabetes, including tips for a balanced diet.)

Banana-Oat Chocolate Chip Bars

1 cup whole wheat flour

⅔ cup rolled oats

2 teaspoons baking powder

¼ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

⅓ cup honey

¼ cup canola oil

2 large eggs

1 medium banana (ripe), mashed

½ cup plain low-fat yogurt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ cup mini chocolate chips

1 teaspoon confectioners’ sugar, for sprinkling

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray an 8-inch square baking pan with cooking spray.
  2. Stir together the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
  3. Beat the honey and oil together in a large bowl at medium speed until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Beat in the banana, yogurt, and vanilla. Add the flour mixture and chocolate chips stir to combine.
  4. Spread the batter evenly into the pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes.
  5. Let cool 10 minutes in the pan on a wire rack. Remove from the pan and cool completely on wire rack. Cut into 24 bars (each about 1 x 2½ inches). Just before serving, place the confectioners’ sugar in a fine wire mesh sieve and sprinkle over the bars.

Serves 24

Each serving (1 bar): 83 calories, 12 g carbohydrate, 6 g sugars, 4 g total fat, 1 g saturated fat, 16 mg cholesterol, 1 g fiber, 2 g protein, 88 mg sodium

Fruit “Cake”

watermelon_cake_recipe_socialFor your next celebration, why not try this all natural, healthful, no-bake showstopper of a “cake”? It’s easy and fun to make and your guests will be impressed. Candles can be easily inserted into the “cake” layers for a birthday party.

Keep an eye out throughout the recipe for my special “tips” for assembling and serving, including this one: Decorate the “cake” in the spot where you plan to serve it. Once the berries are arranged, they may fall off if you try to transport it. Decorating is quick and easy – it takes only about 10 minutes to complete, and might be a fun project for all members of the family.

(Be sure to talk to your diabetes care team if you are considering making changes to your meal plan.)

1 large whole seedless watermelon, about 20 pounds (Tip: Buy the largest watermelon you can find. The bigger the bottom tier of the “cake” the more impressive it will look. Save any leftover melon that you don’t use in the recipe in the refrigerator for healthful snacks or desserts.)

1 quart fresh strawberries

1¼ cups fresh blackberries

¾ cup fresh blueberries

  1. Cut a 1-inch thick slice from the top and bottom ends of the watermelon and stand upright on a cutting board. Carefully cut away the rind, keeping to the round shape of the melon. (Tip: To remove the rind, start by cutting away the green outer layer with a large knife. Then remove the inner white part of the rind with a smaller knife. A serrated knife works well for this task.)
  2. Cut a large 2-inch thick slice out of the center of the melon for the bottom layer of the “cake.” Cut 2 more 2-inch layers, making each consecutive layer about 1-inch smaller in diameter. (Tip: When cutting the second and third layers of the “cake,” be sure to size them so that you will have about a 1-inch ledge for arranging the berries for decoration.)
  3. Stack the layers on top of each other on a large serving plate. (Tip: Assemble the “cake” on a very large plate or platter with plenty room on the rim for arranging the berries around the bottom of the “cake.” The berries also help camouflage any less-than-perfect cutting skills.)
  4. Arrange the strawberries around the bottom of the “cake.” Place the blueberries on top of the first layer and the blackberries on top of the second layer. Arrange a few more berries on the top layer of the “cake.” (Tip: It may be difficult to cut the “cake” into wedges for serving. Plan on offering guests pieces of the watermelon layers with fresh berries alongside rather than trying to cut it into wedges as you would with a conventional baked cake.)

Serves 18

Each serving (about 5 ounces watermelon and ⅓ cup berries): 63 calories, 16 g carbohydrate, 12 g sugars, 0 g total fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 2 g fiber, 1 g protein, 2 mg sodium

Get more about tips here about keeping track of the food you eat, whether at home or dining out, and your total nutrition throughout the day.

Jackie Mills is a registered dietitian who develops recipes for such national magazines as Cooking Light and Family Circle, as well as for books such as the American Medical Association Type 2 Diabetes Cookbook. She was formerly the food editor at Redbook magazine. Mills is a paid contributor for The DX. All opinions contained in this article reflect those of the contributor, and not of Sanofi US, its employees, agencies, or affiliates.

© 2016 The DX: The Diabetes Experience

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