How to Adjust Recipes for Diabetes
If you have developed type 2 diabetes or you are pre-diabetic, making changes to your diet and letting go of certain foods you used to enjoy can be hard.
You may wonder what makes certain recipes okay for someone with diabetes, whether you should use sugar or completely avoid fats.
Luckily, if you learn and keep the basics of diabetes meal planing in mind, you can turn your favorite recipes into diabetes-friendly food.
When trying to develop a meal plan you can resort to exchange lists, which provide detailed information about the carbohydrate, protein, and fat content of foods that you eat every day. You can work with a dietitian to develop a meal plan that is specifically tailored to your personal needs. Following an exchange list can ensure that you get all the nutrients you need for good health and will also allow you to control the amount of carbohydrates in your diet.
Another important step that can help with meal planning is learning to count carbohydrates. Work with a dietitian to learn how each type of carbohydrate you eat affects your blood sugar. You can monitor your blood sugar level to determine the effect of various carbohydrates and adjust your insulin injections accordingly.
Four Ways to Adjust Your Favorite Recipes
Here are some tips on how to go about tweaking your recipes to make them diabetes-friendly:
- Use liquid fats instead of solid fats. Solid fats often include saturated or trans fats, which are not good for the health of your heart. Many liquid fats can be healthy when used in moderate amounts. Try to use oils such as canola, corn, olive, peanut or soybean oil. Some oils have stronger flavors than others so you may have to experiment to find what is right for you.
- Choose carbohydrates that will provide you with slow-release energy and are high in fiber. When you are cooking and a recipe calls for white flour, white rice or other similar refined grains, substitute these with whole-wheat flour, brown rice, or other whole-grain flours. You can also try to use ground nuts like almond or hazelnut in your meal.
- Try to use less sugar in your recipes. One of the problems with sugar is that it is a simple carbohydrate that can quickly raise blood sugar. Furthermore, foods that contain a lot of sugar are usually also high in calories and low in nutritional content. When a recipe calls for sugar try using less or using a sugar substitute. You can also find alternative ways to enhance the flavor of your recipe by using spices or fruit juice concentrates.
- Use less salt and find salt substitutes for your recipes. A lot of times salt is used to preserve food or as an inexpensive flavoring. However, excess sodium in your diet can lead to cardiovascular problems like high blood pressure and heart disease. Keep in mind that people with diabetes are at a greater risk for these health issues. Try reducing the amount of salt you use in a recipe, except when you are working with yeast, which needs salt to rise. You can also try to reduce the amount of sodium in your diet by choosing fresh foods instead of canned or frozen foods.