To control type 2 diabetes, you must watch what you eat to keep your weight at a healthy level and avoid complications. But eating doesn’t have to be a boring chore just because you have diabetes.
You can enjoy many healthy and tasty dinner choices. In fact, by keeping a few simple tips in mind and being creative, few meals are totally off-limits, even with diabetes.
Diabetes Diet: Start With Meal Planning
The name of the game with diabetes diet management is portion control — watch your portion sizes to avoid overeating. Advance planning helps, too. Spend a few minutes every weekend deciding on your meals for the following week and keep these strategies in mind:
- Eat more whole grains and starchy vegetables. Limit fats and sweets. Eat moderate amounts of lean meats, low-fat milk and dairy products, non-starchy vegetables, and fruit.
- Be creative when cooking by making substitutions. For example, use fat-free milk instead of whole milk and trans fat-free margarine instead of butter.
- Choose whole grains and brown rice over white or enriched bread or pasta products.
- Cook with healthy oils, like canola or olive oil.
- Cut back on salt, which can raise blood pressure.
- Avoid fried foods and foods in heavy sauces.
- Limit alcohol. One drink per day for women and one to two drinks per day for men is okay, but always consume alcohol with food.
Diabetes Menu: Healthy Dinner Ideas
Here are six easy dinners that will fill your tummy and still keep your blood sugar levels in check:
- Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and green beans. You can eat this classic “comfort food” meal, but keep it diabetes-friendly with a few smart substitutions. Use ground turkey instead of ground beef. When making the mashed potatoes, use fat-free milk instead of whole milk and trans-fat-free margarine instead of butter. You could also use fewer potatoes by folding in pureed cauliflower. Steam the green beans and season with a little salt and pepper, then top with a few almonds rather than a pat of butter.
- Chicken, brown rice, and steamed broccoli. Grill boneless, skinless chicken breasts or bake a whole chicken (don’t eat the skin). Marinate the chicken in Italian dressing before grilling or season it with your favorite herbs before roasting it in the oven.
- Baked red snapper and mixed veggies. This dinner is a snap. Wrap a fish filet together with sliced vegetables — try a blend of zucchini, garlic, red peppers, onions, fennel, and tomatoes — with a drizzle of oil in parchment paper. Place in a 450 degree oven for 20 minutes or until the fish is opaque and flakes easily. Serve with a whole-grain side dish of fast-cooking couscous or quinoa
- Pasta your way. Although people with type 2 diabetes have to be careful about the amount of carbohydrates they eat, pasta can still be a safe dinner choice. As with bread, whole-grain pasta is better than enriched pasta. Avoid heavy cream sauces like Alfredo, and stick to tomato-based sauces or olive oil and garlic. You can add chicken, shrimp, or fish to your dish for protein — even lean meatballs or turkey meatballs are allowed.
- Chili. When you make it yourself, chili becomes a very healthy choice. Start with ground turkey or extra-lean ground beef, or go vegetarian with beans only ‐ black beans and kidney beans. Add lots of diced vegetables to the pot, such as garlic, onion, red, green, and yellow bell peppers, and zucchini. Use no-salt canned tomatoes and low-sodium beef broth. Instead of serving the chili topped with traditional sour cream and cheese, use low-fat yogurt or fat-free sour cream, crumbled pecans, and cilantro. Serve with a garden salad with low-fat or non-fat salad dressing and whole-grain crunchy bread.
- Asian stir-fry. Make your own version of your favorite restaurant dish. Prepare your vegetables — any combination of green beans, broccoli, carrots, onion, snow peas, red and green peppers, and baby corn — then sauté in low-sodium soy sauce and garlic. Mix in chicken, shrimp, or tofu to add protein to your meal. Serve over brown rice or whole-grain noodles.
Diabetes Diet: Satisfying Your Sweet Tooth
Limiting sweets doesn’t mean eliminating them. You can indulge your sweet tooth every now and then. Here are some tasty dessert ideas:
- Fresh fruit with low-fat topping
- Fat-free frozen yogurt
- Lower-fat cookies, such as ginger snaps, vanilla wafers, and graham crackers
- No sugar-added pudding or frozen fudge bars
Always keep portion size in mind so that you don’t overdo the sweets. Even the most decadent desserts can be enjoyed in very small amounts on occasion.
This article of interest is courtesy of EverydayHealth.com