Full Flavor, No Sugar

Flavor without sugar. It’s what diabetics want and it’s hard to find. Most “sugar-free” foods are loaded with either fat or fake sugars. And I don’t do well with fake sugars. (See the reviews on the 5-lb bag of sugar-free gummi bears on Amazon.)


So I’m after big, bold flavor. Spicy, deep, rich–foods with flavor is a diabetic’s Holy Grail.

Here’s a quick fix: dried orange peel. Yes, dried. Not chocolate covered, not sugar soaked, although I did love those for a long time, too.

It couldn’t be easier. Peel an orange. Remove some pith, although you don’t have to make yourself crazy getting it all off. Cut peel in strips. Put in 250 degrees Fahrenheit (120 C) oven on a parchment covered sheet pan.  After 10 minutes, toss. Leave in for another 10 minutes. Check to make sure the peel doesn’t turn too dark. Cool. They should be crispy.

Put in a ziplock back and run a rolling pin over them till they are dust. Or put them through a spice grinder or a small blender. Done!

  • How can you use orange peel dust?
  • Sprinkle on cappuccino instead of (or with) cinnamon
  • Sprinkle on unflavored, unsweetened yogurt
  • Dust over oatmeal and skip the sugar
  • Add to tea with the tea leaves before brewing
  • Add 1/2 tsp. to diabetic-friendly chewy almond bars to change the flavor completely
  • Melt Black and Green dark chocolate (never tastes sour or bitter) add chopped nuts and a bit of the orange dust. Yum.
  • Mix into Greek yogurt and use it as a dip for apples and pears
  • Stir into whipped cream cheese and fill celery sticks
  • Blend a bit with 2 tsp of vanilla and cut into a cup of whipped cream. Use as a topping over fresh fruit.

Be very careful–a little goes a long way. Use less than you think. It’s easier to add more. You can do the same thing with lemon, lime and grapefruit peel. The lemon and lime make a great addition to salad dressing and sauces you put over fish and poultry.

Quinn McDonald is married to Kent, a personal chef who cooks interesting food that tastes good. Eating his diabetic-friendly food helped her lose 65 pounds in a year.