Fast Dinners for Busy People With DiabetesPeople with diabetes are often more motivated than most to cook healthful dinners at home. That's because, when you do, you have full control over the foods served and what ingredients go into them. As a result, it's easier to keep track of how closely the grams of carbohydrate you eat match the amount prescribed by your doctor or dietitian. But the fact you have diabetes doesn't mean you aren't busy with other things when it's time to put that dinner together.
Here are 13 tips you can use to help you fix nutritious meals, even when you are pressed for time.
Switch to whole grains: Use brown rice and whole-wheat pasta instead of refined or processed grains to fix diabetes-friendly dinners. Look for 100% whole wheat flour and breads as well as other grains such as oats and barley. You can find convenient products to help you make this switch easier. For instance, there's frozen cooked brown rice that you microwave. Buy whole-wheat hot dog and hamburger buns, whole-wheat flour tortillas, and whole-grain-blend pasta noodles. Another healthy choice is instant oatmeal made with less sugar.
Get more fiber: Aim for at least 8 grams of fiber per meal, especially if it includes carbohydrate-rich foods. Soluble fiber in particular can be beneficial for people with diabetes because it helps reduce the rapid rise in blood sugar that tends to take place after eating carbohydrates. A diet high in fiber also reduces the risk of heart disease, which is higher in people with diabetes.
Soluble fiber is found in
· Fruits like apples, mangoes, plums, kiwis, pears, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, peaches, citrus fruits, and figs
· Vegetables like artichokes, celery root, sweet potatoes, parsnips, turnips, acorn squash, potatoes with skin, brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, asparagus, and beets
· What's the Healthiest Vegetable?
Replace some carbs with good fat: Foods featuring or cooked with monounsaturated fat -- nuts, avocado, olive and canola oil -- can help lower blood sugar. Add nuts and avocado to dinner salads and entrees. Use olive and canola oil to cook dinner dishes. Look for products that contain either oil, such as salad dressings and marinades or bottled marinara and pesto.
Use foods that won't spike blood sugar: Foods that aren't likely to cause a significant rise in blood sugar include meat, poultry, fish, avocados, salad vegetables, eggs, and cheese. Using these kinds of food will help balance carbohydrate-containing foods included in your meal.
Choose recipes with less saturated fat: Look for ingredients such as
· Extra lean beef -- grass-fed if available
· Pork tenderloin and skinless poultry
· Soy products
· Reduced-fat dairy
Limit foods associated with diabetes risk: When you plan your dinner menu, limit the use of refined grains and soft drinks. Switch to leaner cuts and smaller portions of red meat. Higher consumption of these items has been associated with a higher risk of diabetes, according to several recent studies.
In one European study, eating lots of fruit, vegetables, whole-grain bread, and low-fat dairy and limiting alcohol reduced the risk of diabetes and major coronary events when compared to a diet that made ample use of white bread, processed meat, fries, and full-cream milk.
· Know the Health Benefits of Lemon
Know the nutritional values in the recipes you use: Try to find out the amount of carbohydrate -- and ideally fiber and fat -- per serving. Then stay close to the prescribed portions by serving up your plate in the kitchen, using small plates, and eating slowly and calmly. As you do, you'll become more aware of the textures and flavors and feel more satisfied.
Replace butter and shortening with canola or olive oil: Both canola oil and olive oil are healthy alternatives. Both are rich in monounsaturated fat, and canola oil also contains omega-3 fatty acids.
Make salads ahead of time: Store a large spinach salad or vegetable-filled romaine lettuce salad without dressing in an airtight container. You can have crisp, wonderful salad with your dinner or as a snack for the next several days.
Make an easy fruit salad: With a few chops of a knife, you can turn a few pieces of fruit into a beautiful fruit salad. Drizzle lemon or orange juice over the top. Then toss to coat the fruit. The vitamin C in the citrus juice helps prevent browning.
Choose beverages wisely: Instead of soda, sweetened drinks, or fruit juice with your dinner meal, drink protein-rich beverages such as skim or 1% milk. Or sip no-calorie tea, coffee, or water. Regular consumption of coffee and tea was associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes in a recent Singapore study.
Slow down: Fast eaters tend to eat more. It takes at least 20 minutes for your brain to get the message that your stomach is officially "comfortable" and that you should stop eating.
Cut out evening snacks: Avoid late-night snacking unless your blood sugar is too low or an evening snack is prescribed by your certified diabetes educator or dietitian. Drink a cup of tea instead.