How to Make a Recipe Diabetes-Friendly

Adapting a recipe to be diabetes-friendly isn't all that difficult if you know what adjustments need to be made.

Keep in mind that portion size must be taken into account, meaning that just because you alter a recipe doesn't mean it's necessarily healthy to eat more of it.

The following tips are guidelines for making any recipe more diabetes-friendly. For meal and snack ideas that are already diabetes-safe, visit our recipe collection.

Lower the Carbs

One of the most important things to keep in mind when changing recipes is the total carbohydrate count. Depending on the recipe, you can lower the carbohydrates by doing the following:

  1. Swap vegetables high in carbohydrates, such as potatoes, for lower-carb vegetables like leafy greens.
  2. Swap white or wheat flour for coconut or almond flour.
  3. Cut fruit or sugar measurements in half.
  4. Use fresh ingredients instead of canned or frozen food.
  5. Stay mindful of "hidden" carbohydrates, typically from sauces, dairy or condiments.

Steer Clear of Sugars

Recipes that call for sugar are probably not inherently diabetic-friendly, but you can generally make them safe by using sugar substitutes such as stevia or erythritol.

If that's not possible, try to cut down on the amount of sugar used in the recipe.

Focus on Protein, Fat and Fiber

Diabetics benefit from the blood-sugar stabilizing properties of protein, especially from sources that are lean and lower in calories. Make protein the main event in savory dishes like soups, casseroles or stir-frys.

Healthy sources of fat will also curb hunger and can be used in dishes (but keep in mind that fat can add extra calories). For example, coconut oil can be substituted for butter or avocado can be used as a spread in place of mayonnaise.

Depending on the recipe, upping the fiber content is also a way to make it diabetes-friendly. Fiber slows down the digestion of carbohydrates, which helps to stabilize blood sugar. The best sources of fiber come from vegetables.

Source: Diabetes Care

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