Summer is here and the living is supposed to be easy. But people with diabetes often feel anxious about what to eat during summer barbecues. Instead of worrying, let these 5 fabulous dishes be your go-to foods at summer gatherings.
- If you have diabetes, you don’t have to eat special foods or be excluded from the fun. Creating well-balanced meals is the key to maintaining regular blood sugar levels. Minimize the amount of fried chicken or steaks marinated in fatty sauces. Opt for lean grilled meats such as a chicken breast, turkey burger or grilled fish. Your portion size should be about the size of a deck of cards. Have a small piece of grilled steak with a large salad topped off with a low-fat; sugar-free salad dressing such as Walden Farms. Avoid sandwiches and salads with too much mayo. Try to choose lighter salads made with healthy ingredients such as whole grain pasta tossed with garlic, olive oil and broccoli.
- Feast on vegetables to ward off cravings for high-calorie barbecue foods. Grill or roast your favorite vegetables including broccoli and red bell peppers. Grab a veggie burger instead of a beef burger. Veggie burgers have up to 60 percent less fat than burgers made from ground beef. If using a beef burger choose beef with a fat content of less than 10%. Put out a tray of vegetables that includes celery, tomatoes, carrots, broccoli and peppers. Choose non-fat dips such as salsa, hummus and fat-free sour cream. Add plenty of greens and low-fat cheeses to the tray. Include a bowl of salt free mixed nuts such as walnuts and almonds. Remember to eat a small handful of nuts as they have a high calorie count.
- Put a turkey burger or grilled chicken breast on a whole grain bun, a whole grain pita or flat-bread rather than a soft white bun. Make dishes with whole grain rice, wild rice and couscous instead of fattening salads rich with mayo. Black beans have a lower fat content than creamy potato salad. Add high fiber selections to your barbecue such as dried beans and green beans as well as lentils and black-eyed peas. The fiber from beans gets digested more slowly. As a result, blood sugar levels don’t rise as fast after eating meals. Make a tasty Italian black bean salad with black beans, red peppers and onions along with sun-dried tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Toss in some spices to make it irresistible in comparison to other fatty choices on the picnic table.
- Add a fruit selection to your barbecues to help you limit your choice of sugary selections such as pie, cookies and ice cream. Make a tropical fruit salad with mouthwatering fruits such as oranges, mango and kiwi. Serve it with a sauce made from nonfat yogurt mixed with cinnamon and nutmeg for flavor. Are you looking for something chilly to cool you off after a hot meal? Use large ice cube trays to freeze berries into sugar free juice and put toothpicks into each cube before they get frozen. Serve these healthy ice pops after a delicious barbecued lunch or dinner. Add them to a glass of water for a flavorful beverage.
- Summer is a time when you get thirsty in the heat. Stay away from sugary sodas or sweet cocktails such as piña Coladas. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Add a slice of lemon or lime to your water for refreshing flavor. Mix it up by serving mineral water or sparkling water in a fancy glass. If you drink alcohol, consume it in moderation with a snack or meal to ward off hypoglycemia. Men under the age of 65 should have no more than 2 drinks and women no more than 1 drink. A single serving of an alcoholic beverage is a shot glass of liquor, 4 ounce glass of wine or 12 ounce beer. Opt for mixers such as seltzer over soda. Choose light beer or a wine spritzer with a squeeze of lemon to lighten up your drink. Bring diet tonic water since regular tonic water is full of sugar.
The summer weather is also an ideal time to fit in exercise such as volleyball, long walks and swimming when you attend barbecues. People with diabetes don’t have to dread barbecues when they can eat a variety of tasty foods. Rather than sitting around eating at summertime gatherings, have a great time exercising and socializing.