The new year is here and it is a good time to change your behavior if you have diabetes. A new year often gives you another opportunity to review your current lifestyle and make necessary changes. Consider these 4 food tricks for the New Year to help you achieve better health.
- The first trick is to learn how to substitute. Lower the amount of sugar and fat you eat, particularly saturated fat. Minimize your sodium intake. Eat more healthy fiber, which can help stabilize your blood glucose levels. There are simple ways to modify recipes to fit into your diabetes diet plan. Consider using a sugar substitute such as Stevia in sweet recipes. Cut down on saturated fat in recipes and substitute healthy alternatives such as olive or canola oil. Use low-fat or no fat cooking spray to coat pans rather than using butter. Choose 2 egg whites instead of a whole egg. Eat lean meats and fish. Add beans, vegetables and fruits to your dishes. Add herbs and spices to your recipes for flavor instead of salt. A few basic changes can go a long way.
- A second trick is to consider how you currently cook foods. Make healthier recipes by changing your method of cooking. Try boiling, broiling, poaching, pressure cooking, roasting, grilling, baking or steaming your foods. These methods minimize the saturated fat in the foods. Try browning meats in low-sodium broth rather than fats. Cook fresh foods and try to avoid packaged foods. Read the labels on food carefully to reduce your intake of fats, sodium and sugar. Choose whole grains such as quinoa, oatmeal and whole wheat bread. Try snacking on fresh fruits and vegetables. Visit a farmer’s market to find in-season offerings. Select low-fat dairy products such as skim milk and low fat cheese.
- A third trick is to adjust your portion sizes. If you want to occasionally indulge on holidays or special occasions, simply eat less of your favorite foods. Have a small helping of the most irresistible dishes. Use the rule of “one”. For example, have one regular-sized cocktail, one spoonful of sweet potatoes with marshmallow topping and one small slice of pie. Often the traditional size dishes served at restaurants are too big. Eat half the portion and bring home the rest to serve as another lunch or dinner. Use portion control plates to help you determine how much you should be eating. Maintaining a healthy weight is important for people with diabetes to ward off health complications such as obesity and cardiovascular disease.
- The fourth food trick is to be creative with your recipes. Think outside the usual ingredients to come up with great flavors that won’t make you feel guilty. Swap ground turkey for ground beef or pork. Use a veggie burger instead of beef. Try turkey bacon or sausage instead of pork. Keep mayonnaise off your sandwich and add healthy fat such as an avocado slice. Watch out for condiments high in sugar such as ketchup. Coat chicken in whole grain Panko bread crumbs and bake it in the oven rather than frying it. Serve fresh simmered tomatoes over quinoa with a dash of Parmesan cheese instead of a plate of white pasta with heavy cheese or a cream sauce. Wrap your sandwich in lettuce instead of French bread. Grab a diabetes cookbook to help you get innovative ideas for balanced meals that taste good. Look on the internet for new recipes that give you variety and taste. Find ways to eat what you like without adding fat, sugars and sodium your body doesn’t need.
These fantastic four food tips can help you eat better throughout the New Year. Stay away from excess fat, sugar and sodium and keep portion sizes in mind. With some creativity, you can have tasty meals that are healthy, too.