Diabetes is on the rise, yet most cases are preventable and some can even be reversed. Taking steps to prevent and control diabetes doesn’t mean living in deprivation; it means eating a tasty, balanced diet that will also boost your energy and improve your mood. You don’t have to give up sweets entirely or resign yourself to a lifetime of bland food. With these tips, you can still take pleasure from your meals without feeling hungry or deprived.

Eating a diabetic diet doesn’t mean eliminating sugar altogether, but like most of us, chances are you consume more sugar than is healthy. If you have diabetes, you can still enjoy a small serving of your favorite dessert now and then. The key is moderation.

Reduce your cravings for sweets by slowly reduce the sugar in your diet a little at a time to give your taste buds time to adjust.

Hold the bread (or rice or pasta) if you want dessert. Eating sweets at a meal adds extra carbohydrates so cut back on the other carb-heavy foods at the same meal.

Add some healthy fat to your dessert. Fat slows down the digestive process, meaning blood sugar levels don’t spike as quickly. That doesn’t mean you should reach for the donuts, though. Think healthy fats, such as peanut butter, ricotta cheese, yogurt, or nuts.

Eat sweets with a meal, rather than as a stand-alone snack. When eaten on their own, sweets cause your blood sugar to spike. But if you eat them along with other healthy foods as part of your meal, your blood sugar won’t rise as rapidly.

When you eat dessert, truly savor each bite. How many times have you mindlessly eaten your way through a bag of cookies or a huge piece of cake? Can you really say that you enjoyed each bite? Make your indulgence count by eating slowly and paying attention to the flavors and textures. You’ll enjoy it more, plus you’re less likely to overeat.

Choose fats wisely

Unhealthy fats. The most damaging fats are artificial trans fats, which are created by adding hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make them less likely to spoil—which is good for food manufacturers but very bad for you. Avoid commercially-baked goods, packaged snack foods, fried food, and anything with “partially hydrogenated” oil in the ingredients, even if it claims to be trans fat-free.  

Healthy fats. The safest fats are unsaturated fats, which come from fish and plant sources such as olive oil, nuts, and avocados. Omega-3 fatty acids fight inflammation and support brain and heart health. Good sources include salmon, tuna, and flaxseeds.

Saturated fats. Reducing saturated fat was once thought to be the key to losing weight. Over the past three decades, though, the percentage of calories from fat in the average diet has dropped, but obesity and diabetes rates have soared. Why? When you eliminate fat from your diet, you tend to substitute refined carbohydrates which cause blood sugar levels to spike, leaving you feeling hungry and prone to overeating. While trusted health authorities such as the American Diabetes Association still recommend limiting saturated fat intake, other experts believe that some people may benefit from introducing healthy sources of saturated fat into their diets. Eating whole-milk dairy products, for example, is actually linked to less body fat and lower levels of obesity. This may be because full-fat dairy makes you feel fuller, faster, and keeps you feeling satisfied for longer. If you have diabetes, you should always seek medical advice before making changes to your diet.