Many newly diagnosed diabetics, pre-diabetics, even long-time diabetics, dread the thought of learning about diabetic cooking, believing they’re facing years of boring and unsatisfying meals that will take a good deal of the pleasure out of their lives. And, unfortunately, a lot of people who have been living with diabetes for years, actually are leading boring and unsatisfying food lives and they do take a lot less pleasure in their food than before their diagnosis. The good news is that they can eat interesting and exciting food, spicy food, delicious food and can regain the pleasure of eating food that really is satisfying along with the knowledge that the diabetic diet they’re following is also a healthy diet that everyone, diabetic or not, should be eating.
It’s going to take some effort and some experimentation. You’re going to have to learn some new things, do some research, and you’re going to have to be willing to spend some time in the kitchen trying out recipes and tasting the results as you discover what you like and what works for you. But it’s absolutely within your power to eat well despite your diabetes for years to come.
Now with over 29 million diabetics and a lot of talented creative and generous people out there, you’re going to find an unbelievable amount of resources such as ingredients, recipes, advice, and support available. These talented cooks have taken on the challenge of making food that’s good for diabetics, and food that people really want to eat. There’s even a whole magazine devoted to diabetic cooking called, unsurprisingly, Diabetic Cooking. There are also diabetic cooking classes available, and some are free.
Here are some basics of diabetic cooking:
- First, you will be avoiding simple sugars, fats, sodium, carbohydrates which release their glucose quickly. You’re including lots of fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and more fish.
- Second, because you’re at risk for serious complications, including heart and kidney problems, you’re eating a heart-healthy diet, which is lower in saturated fat, dietary cholesterol, and most importantly low sodium.
- Third, you’re eating an appropriate number of calories and limiting your portion sizes. Obesity increases your risk of developing diabetes in the first place and can bring other health problems along with it. If you’re obese losing weight can help prevent pre-diabetes from developing into diabetes.
- Fourth, you’re trying to keep your blood glucose level in a narrow and healthy area throughout the day. Therefore, you will want to eat foods which release glucose slowly (that is, foods with a low glycemic index). You’re also eating smaller portions more frequently. Some diabetics eat four or even six smaller meals each day. Or three regular meals and frequent snacks. You’re also making efforts to follow a consistent eating schedule, eating at the same times each day.
Start reducing or eliminating the amount of sugar and salt in a recipe. Learn to substitute with herbs, spices, and other flavorings instead. Choose fresh or frozen (no salt added) over canned foods, which tend to be high in sodium and can be high in sugars also.
Today, there are more sugar-free and salt-free ingredients like seasonings available. These tips will help you make your diabetic cooking easier, tastier and healthier while following the diabetic diet.