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Posts in the nikki wallis category

Deciphering food labels for diabetes

Today we share another post from one of our favourite bloggers Nikki Wallis.

Deciphering food labels, counting carbs, counting sugar and regulating insulin to suit my blood sugar levels is a full-time job and one that I thought I was doing alright at, until recently, when I walked into my local health food store.

There I was, browsing the nutritional label of one product from the shelf, when I struck up a conversation with one of the attendants and she made a comment that threw me.

“You have to count the sugar content because you’re diabetic,” she said.

I automatically replied, “No, I count the total carbohydrate, I don’t just focus on the sugar.”

But then I had to stop and think for an minute. Was that right, or have I been doing it wrong all these years? The thought left me puzzled and I went home pondering this some more.

On the hunt for an answer, I contacted one of my former colleague nutritionist and diabetes project officer, Karis Ramsay, to see if she could shed some light on this for me. Low and behold she could and referred me to several sites. I found the information really useful, hence this post.

Read the rest of Nikki's post here.

Diabetic friendly pear raspberry loaf

This week we share a recipe from one of favourite bloggers, Nikki Wallis of T1 Friendly Foodie. Nikki writes:

This recipe has become one of my favourites and between me, my husband and my kids (who mind you don’t have diabetes), it doesn’t last long, because everyone loves it!

The texture and flavour of this cake is hard to describe, other than to say it is literally like Spring on a plate. I call it my Spring Cake.

The lemon zest, fresh raspberries and coconut, give this cake an amazing burst of flavour!

And raspberries are such a great fruit if you have diabetes.

At only about 12g of carbs per 100g, raspberries are a really great way to enjoy fruit without the need to load up on lots of insulin. Raspberries, like most other berries, also have a low Glycemic Index, at only 26.

A Glycemic Index is the rating given to foods according to their carbohydrate and impact on Blood Glucose Levels (BGL). Low GI foods are rated at 55 or lower. High GI foods are rated at 70 or higher.

Click here to read the recipe.


How many carbs per day is right for me?

This week we share a blog post from Nikki Wallis. Nikki manages her own T1 diabetes and is passionate diabetes advocate and blogs about latest news, recipes and updates. Here she talks about carbs and carb counting (and remember, everyone is different and has different requirements).

Her latest blog post says:

Do you get confused by all the information out there about diets for people with diabetes? Do you find yourself struggling to know how many carbs to eat per day, or struggling to balance your insulin and Blood Glucose Levels (BGL)?

I think we can all agree that no one person with diabetes is the same and that we all eat different foods, live different lifestyles and need tailored care to suit our individual needs.

This is quite a controversial issue, particularly when it comes to the eating plans of people with diabetes, especially when it comes to the issue of carbohydrates.

The current dietary guideline recommends eating about 230-310g of carbs per day (this guideline is not specific to people with diabetes). For me, this is far too much and I tend to eat about 105g-120g or 7-8 portions of carbs per day.

Other people recommend eating very low carb diets at around 30-50g of carbs per day (around 2 portions), with some research done into the benefits and risks of low carb eating for people with type 1 diabetes.

For me, 30-50g of carbs a day is far too low, but again, that’s just me.

So there is a lot of debate out there around how much carbohydrate people should eat, let alone how much you should eat if you have diabetes.

The issue of low carb diets, particularly for people with type 1 diabetes, is a really heated topic. There is a lot of research out there supporting the benefits of low carb diets for people with type 2 diabetes, but there just isn’t enough evidence about type 1 diabetes.

Personally, I had no idea this was such a contested issue until recently. For me, I adopted a lower carb approach to eating when I was in my teens. I had put on unwanted weight after following the recommended daily intake of carbs when I was first diagnosed with diabetes and I felt like I was constantly force-feeding myself when I just wasn’t hungry.

You may recall my earlier post, Low Carb Diets for People with t1 Diabetes.  In this post I share my experience in changing to a lower carb eating.

So what’s solution? There needs to be a common sense approach to diet and diabetes.

Diet should not be a one-size fits all. Insulin dosage is not a one-size fits so why are we taking this approach with diet? Carb intake should be as much a tailored approach as insulin dosage.

People with diabetes are not numbers, we are real people, with changing needs and differing lifestyles. So guidelines need to reflect this.

Someone who has a very sedentary lifestyle of course requires less carbs than an athlete or a very active person.

But it’s not all bad news. Diabetes Australia (DA) recently made a groundbreaking change – they released a position statement on Low Carb Eating for People With Diabetes.

Hallelujah! Finally, a diabetes organisation has come out and supported the personal decisions of people with diabetes! Thank you DA!

They recognise that some people with type 1 diabetes are seeing a benefit in reducing their carbohydrate intake.

“People with type 1 diabetes may choose to follow a low carb eating approach and they should be supported in this,” (source: DA Spring Issue of Circle Magazine).

Finally, people with T1D won’t be made to feel like they are doing the ‘wrong’ thing, by not following the current dietary guidelines… which let’s face it are out-dated even for the average person without diabetes.

DA has taken a step in the right direction to recognise the need for flexibility and a move away from rigid and prescriptive eating plans. Everyone is different.

There is still a long way to go in the diabetes diet debate. Current dietary guidelines should be updated.

In the meantime, thank you DA for being progressive and helping to support and empower people with diabetes. This position statement is a step in the right direction.

To find out more, download a copy of the position statement by clicking HERE.

Diabetic Friendly Date Cake

Fancy something a little sweet and tasty? This week we're sharing one of our favourite blogs from Nikki at t1FriendlyFoodie. Date Cake!

Prep Time 25 minutes
 Cook Time 55 minutes
 Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
 Author Nikki Wallis


  • 50 g Lupin flour
  • 150 g Almond meal
  • 1/2 tsp Bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tsp Baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp Mixed spice
  • 50 g Pecan nuts
  • 100 g Dates
  • 2 Eggs (Large 800g)
  • 1 tsp 100% Pure unsweetened vanilla extract
  • 1 cup Hot water (used to soak the dates)
  • 3/4 cup Full cream milk
  • 1/8 tsp 100% pure Stevia extract powder
  • 85 g Light cream cheese

For the vanilla batter: 100g almond meal, 1 tsp baking powder, 1-8 tsp 100% pure Stevia extract powder, 1 egg, 1/4 cup full cream milk, 1/2 tsp 100% pure unsweetened vanilla extract.

    For the icing: 50g dates, 85g light cream cheese, 1/8 cup hot water, 1/4 tsp mixed spice.


      1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Line a small square baking tin (15cm x 15cm) with baking paper (bottom and sides). 

      2. Remove seeds from dates (if they aren't already de-seeded). Place dates into a small bowl and soak in boiling hot water (enough to cover them) for approximately 15-20 minutes. 

      3. To make the date batter, add 100g of the dates (approximately five large dates), from the bowl into a blender or food processor. Add 3/4 cup of milk and blend until the dates are smooth (you can leave some chunks in).  

      4. Add the blended dates and milk to a mixing bowl. Add the other wet ingredients including egg and vanilla and mix well with a spoon. 

      5. In a separate bowl, add all the dry ingredients including the lupin flour and almond meal, Stevia, bicarbonate of soda, banking powder and mixed spice and stir together til well combined. 

      6. Roughly crush the pecan nuts and add them to the dry ingredients and mix well. 

      7. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix together until well combined. Leave aside while you prepare the vanilla batter. 

      8. To make the vanilla batter, combine the almond meal, baking powder, Stevia, egg vanilla and milk together in a bowl and mix until well combined. 

      9. To assemble the cake, pour half of the date batter into the lined tin. Then on top of this, pour all of the vanilla batter. Lastly, pour the remaining date batter on top and smooth out with a spatula. 

      10. Bake cake in the oven at 180 degrees Celsius for approximately 55 mins or until cooked (pierce the centre with a wooden skewer and it should come out clean). Once the cake is cooked, remove from the oven and leave to cool. 

      11. To make the icing, remove the remaining soaked dates from the hot water and place in a small blender or food processor along with 1/8 cup of the water in which they were soaking (you can use the back of a fork to mash the dates if you prefer). Blend until the dates are smooth. 

      12. Add the pureed dates to a bowl, along with the cream cheese and mixed spice and stir until all ingredients are well combined. 

      13. Remove the cake from the cake tin and spoon over the icing on top of the cake, using the back of a knife or spatula. Smooth over so the cake is evenly covered. 

      14. Cut the cake into six even rectangular slices and serve. 

        Nutritional information for Date Cake

      What are low GI foods?

      This week we are looking at low GI foods - what are they and why are they important for helping to manage blood sugar levels. One of our favourite Diabetes Educators has written this helpful blog. Nikki Wallis says:

      Q. What is the difference between low GI and low carb?

      A. Low GI ‘diets’are more about the quality of the carbohydrate eaten, whereas low carb ‘diets’ are about the quantity of carbohydrates eaten.

      The glycemic index (or GI) is a ranking of carbohydrates on a scale from 0 to 100, according to how much they raise blood sugar (glucose) levels after they’re eaten.

      High GI foods are quickly digested, absorbed and metabolised and cause fluctuations in blood glucose levels.

      Low GI foods (55 or less) are more slowly digested, absorbed and metabolised and cause a lower and slower rise in blood glucose and therefore usually, lower insulin levels too.

      Low carb refers to the restriction of carbohydrates in the diet. There are three levels of low carbohydrate diet including very low, moderate and high carb. A very low carb diet has around ~50g or less of carbs per day and can lead to ketoacidosis.

      Australian dietary guidelines recommend that for adults, carbohydrates should make up 45-65% of our total energy intake, or 230g-310g of carbs per day.

      It’s important for anyone with t1d who is looking to start a low carb eating plan, to speak with their healthcare team.

      You can read the rest of this article here.

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