Healthy eating tips
Here are tips from the Canadian Diabetes Association (CDA) for healthy eating and maintenance of blood-glucose levels.
• Enjoy three meals per day.
• Space meals and snacks no more than six hours apart. Try to balance each meal by choosing three of the four food groups.
• Limit sugars and sweets, including candies, sweet drinks and desserts.
• Avoid high-fat foods, such as chips, pastries and deep-fried items.
• Choose more high-fibre foods, including whole grains, beans, vegetables and fruits.
• Select water to drink more often.
Choose the right carbohydrates
The Glycemic Index (GI) classifies carbohydrate-rich foods by the amount they raise blood-glucose. For people with diabetes, it is important to maintain stable blood glucose values at all times to avoid complications from the disease.
Consuming high-GI foods cause blood sugar to increase rapidly, while eating low-GI foods leads to better blood-glucose control. In addition to keeping blood-glucose stable, low GI foods may also help control cholesterol and reduce the risk of developing heart disease. The recipes on page 2 of this article - such as Canadian Living's Herbed Crab Dip - feature foods that have low or medium GI values. It’s important to remember that choosing lower GI foods is only one part of healthy eating.
Here are examples of typical carbohydrate-rich holiday foods and their GI values:
|High GI foods ||Medium GI foods ||Low GI foods |
|White bread||Whole wheat bread||Pumpernickel bread|
|Waffles||Long-grain white rice||Brown rice|
|Red and white potatoes, peeled||New potatoes, unpeeled||Sweet potato|
|Graham crackers||Arrowroot cookies||Carrots|
|Saltine crackers||Ice cream||Dark chocolate|
|Dairy products with no added sugar|
|Meat and seafood cooked without sauces or breading|
Page 1 of 2 – See page 2 for diabetic-friendly recipes . . .Prepare to party
If you have diabetes, here are holiday-specific healthy eating tips based on the CDA guidelines:
• Eat a small balanced meal before going to a party or dinner. Include a source of low-fat protein, such milk, yogurt or lean meat to help you feel full.
• Offer to bring your own favourite low-sugar dessert.
• Don’t wing it. Decide how much food is appropriate for you ahead of time and stick
to the plan.
• Load up on nonstarchy vegetables, such as beans, cauliflower, tomatoes, broccoli, and mushrooms, and avoid sauces or butter to flavour them.
• Be aware of hidden fats and sugars – sweet potatoes made with maple syrup, butter and marshmallows does not count as a low-fat, low GI choice.
• Eat slowly and be mindful of each bite. Listen carefully to your hunger cues to avoid overindulgence.
Be a good host
Hosting friends and family members with diabetes? Here’s how to take care of them.
• Prepare fresh fruit for dessert. It’s a good source of fibre and is low in fat.
• Serve a variety of low- or medium-GI vegetable dishes. For an appetizer, arrange a crudité platter with low-fat bean dip; for a side, use sweet instead of white potatoes.
• Use whole grains often. Purchase whole grain dinner rolls, make whole wheat bread stuffing and use whole grain flours for baking.
• Avoid offering sauces that are high in fat and calories. If gravy is a staple at the holiday table, avoid using sauces for other dishes altogether.
• Offer low-calorie drink options, such as sparkling water and unsweetened iced tea. Provide sliced lemons and limes alongside for a twist of flavour.
Low GI recipes by The Canadian Living Test Kitchen:
Chicken tortilla cups
Herbed crab dip
Oysters on the half-shell
Bean dip with zahtar
Pork tenderloin with warm roasted vegetable salad
Turkey breast stuffed with macerated dried fruit
Cajun rainbow trout
Three-cheese polenta pie
Quick chunky tomato sauce
Chicken in tomato zucchini sauce
Stir-fried beef and greens
Best ever whole grain pancakes
Caroline's healthy loaves
Skillet chicken and sweet potatoes
Pasta with white beans and rapini
Sides and salads:
Red and green pepper salad
Cranberry relish (try this as a replacement for high-fat gravy for turkey)
Lemon hazelnut Brussels sprouts
Quinoa salad salad with chicken and black beans
Green beans with almonds
Mesclun salad with sherry vinaigrette
Watercress and red grapefruit salad
Warm broccoli salad
Cracked potatoes (due to their waxy texture, new potatoes are a low GI food, and leaving the skins on adds fibre)
Balsamic green beans
Green beans with yellow pepper and tomato
Mexican-style bean salad
Sautéed green beans with red pepper
Roasted corn, turkey and wild rice salad
Stuffed sweet potatoes
Double coffee meringue kisses
Holiday fruit salad
Honey whole wheat scones
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