Chef Mark Allison tells us how diabetes can be managed with healthy food choices
November is American Diabetes Month sponsored by the American Diabetes Association. Tens of millions of people are affected by diabetes either having type 1 like my son, Matthew, or type 2 as 95% of the diabetic population. If you exercise daily and eat a balanced diet rich in fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, beans, lean meats and seafood you can help control your blood sugars and live a normal healthy life. Eating well-balanced meals throughout the day is an essential part of taking better care of yourself and managing diabetes. This disease should not prevent you or your family members from enjoying foods. Here are some tips that I use at home with my son, Matthew, and my other two boys, Jonathan and James, to keep them fit and healthy:
When making food choices:
- Eat less unhealthy fats (trans fat and saturated fat) and choose to eat more healthy fats like extra virgin olive oil and fresh avocado.
- Reduce the amount of salt added to meals, which can help lower blood pressure.
- Choose lean protein foods and low-fat dairy products.
- Limit the amount of processed snacks and baked goods you buy and eat.
- Include more nutritious fresh foods such as fresh vegetables, whole grains, nuts and fruit in your snacks and meals.
- Add Omega-3 fatty acid foods to your diet by eating “fatty” fish like salmon, tuna, herring, trout, mackerel and sardines at least twice a week. Other foods that provide omega-3 fatty acids include soybean products, walnuts, flaxseed and canola oil. Omega- 3 fatty acids help prevent the clogging of arteries.
- Cut down on the calories in your meals by broiling, microwaving, baking, roasting, steaming or grilling foods.
- Limit the amount of fat used in cooking and select unsaturated fats like olive, peanut, corn, vegetable, safflower, sunflower and flaxseed oil. For an even healthier option, use nonstick pans and cooking sprays to reduce the amount of fat and calories in a dish.
- Use fresh and dried herbs, spices and acidic fruits like lemons and limes to boost flavor while reducing salt and unhealthy fats.
- Trim as much visible fat as possible from meat or poultry. When roasting, place the meat on a rack to allow the fat to drip off the meat while cooking.
- Try ground turkey breast instead of ground beef when making lasagna, taco fillings or Bolognese.
- Use non-fat plain Greek yogurt instead of sour cream on your tacos.
- Use 1% milk instead of 2% milk, little changes add up to big improvements in blood sugars and overall health.
- Instead of regular mayonnaise, mix half mayonnaise with non-fat Greek yogurt or better still use mustard to spread on your sandwiches.
- Instead of buying sliced meats from the deli, cook your own turkey breast or chicken on the weekend and slice it when cold to use throughout the week, this way your version will contain less saturated fat and less sodium.
If you are looking for diabetes-friendly recipes to make at home, head to Dole.com where you’ll find dozens of meal ideas, healthy tips and recipes each month.
Published November 1, 2017