ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Living With Diabetes: Diabetic Diet and Meal Preparation

Updated on March 6, 2015
stephhicks68 profile image

Stephanie Hicks has been a type 1 diabetic for 15 years. She manages the disease with an insulin pump, doctor visits, diet, and exercise.

How to Revise Recipes for Diabetics

If you or a loved one suffers from diabetes, you may be wondering whether you can still enjoy some of your favorite recipes. The answer is - delightfully - YES!

With proper revisions to tried and true recipes, healthy cooking for diabetics can be simple. The truth is that high sugar, high carbohydrate and/or high fat dishes can be adjusted without changing the overall taste of the dish. Calorie counts are often reduced, as well, improving overall health of the family as a whole.

Living with diabetes is often the catalyst to making better food choices and increasing exercise. A diabetes diagnosis can be a great opportunity for everyone to think about what is on their plates! Awareness of proper serving sizes can also help improve health, as well as assist with weight loss.

As a Type 1 diabetic myself, I've made a number of diabetic recipe adjustments in our family's meal preparations. I hope that these diet tips will help improve the health of anyone with diabetes, or similar health conditions. After increasing your intake of fiber and whole grains, reducing fat, and cutting down on added sugar and processed foods, most people will feel more energetic and healthier.

Even desserts can still be enjoyed by diabetics when these recipe revisions are implemented! Read on for tips you can use in healthy meal preparation - whether or not you have diabetes.

Brown rice is healthy for a diabetic diet
Brown rice is healthy for a diabetic diet | Source

Diabetic Meal Preparation: Cut Down Sugar and Carbohydrates

Healthy cooking for diabetics is simple and easy when you follow these general tips in cooking and baking:

  • Make your own sauces to avoid hidden sugars and fats
  • Use whole-wheat pasta instead of egg noodle pasta
  • Use brown rice instead of white rice
  • Replace white and non-whole grain bread
  • Incorporate high-fiber, whole grains

Living with diabetes requires an awareness of carbohydrates in food. Pre-made, canned or bottled sauces (including tomato sauce, barbecue sauce, ketchup, salad dressings, etc.) are often loaded with preservatives and sugar/corn syrup, among other things. Diabetics should limit or avoid these foods.

Whole-wheat pasta and brown rice contain more nutrients, are digested more slowly, and will not result in blood sugar spikes, which anyone with diabetes can appreciate. It may take some adjustment to their nuttier taste, but over time, you and your family should enjoy the results of their healthy components. Brown rice is also available in 5 minute cooking versions, for those used to fast white rice made on the stove top.

100% whole grain bread is also a preferable choice in diabetic meal preparation, compared with breads made with processed flour. You can find whole wheat flour in the baking aisle at the grocery store, which is excellent to use in homemade breads, crusts and even cookies and other desserts.

Of course, fresh fruits and vegetables are always good options in a diabetes diet, as long as salad dressings are kept to a minimum. Hidden sugars and fats lurk in the bottles, threatening to take a healthy meal into potential artery-clogging range. Anytime you add sauces or dips to a meal, you should think about whether there is a healthier option. Simple balsamic vinegar and olive oil is very tasty on salad greens, and will not spike blood sugars.

Honey is a good substitute for granulated sugar
Honey is a good substitute for granulated sugar | Source

Egg and Sugar Substitutes in a Diabetes Diet

Easy diabetes recipes can be created from your own favorites with a few suggested tips:

  • Try egg substitutes instead of whole eggs
  • Use sugar substitutes in place of some, or all, of the granulated sugar required in a recipe

Using egg substitutes will help those diabetics with high cholesterol, a condition that often accompanies diabetes. Cooking with egg substitutes is easy, tasty and convenient. You can measure the amount you need and re-close the container for future use. No mess! Alternatively, cooking with egg whites only, is an option for those that wish to eat real eggs.

Living with diabetes generally requires reduction in intake of sugar, which is quickly converted into blood glucose. Fortunately, sugar substitutes have come a long way since the introduction of aspartame decades ago. Splenda is a sugar substitute that is made from sugar and does, in fact, taste like sugar when sprinkled on the top of cereal or fruit (unlike other bitter competitors). It can be used in recipes very easily, as it measures and sweetens cup for cup like regular granulated sugar. The drawback, of course, is that it is much more expensive. Some people have noted allergies and/or concerns over the safety of sugar substitutes. But the American Diabetes Association positively comments on the use of sugar substitutes in general, and notes, of course that they do not affect blood sugar (the most important aspect)!

Stevia is a "natural" sugar substitute made from plants, which may be a preferable sweetener to use in a diabetic diet. In addition, applesauce, honey or blackstrap molasses can all be used in recipes in place of granulated sugar.

pH Diet for Diabetics

Homemade almond milk is a good addition to a diabetic diet
Homemade almond milk is a good addition to a diabetic diet | Source

Dairy and Low-Fat Diet Substitutes for Diabetics

Healthy cooking for diabetics also can be accomplished with these dairy substitutes:

  • Choose lower-fat versions of milk, sour cream and cheese
  • Consider almond milk
  • Remember that mono unsaturated fats are OK
  • Cook with liquid oil rather than margarine or butter

Saturated fats should be reduced when you are living with diabetes. This means you should take the skin off your chicken (an easy change to make) and go for a cheeseburger, instead of a bacon cheeseburger. Healthy fats are found in nuts, avocados, and olives, so work those into your recipes to replace ingredients such as bacon. Get creative with your recipes!

So many of the changes that can be made in a diabetic diet are common sense and do not have to be limited to the diabetic's household. As with any dietary regime, you should consult your doctor first.

The recipe revisions discussed in this article are very general approaches to meal preparation overall. Fortunately, there are many books on the market and lots of websites that have specific diabetic recipes ranging from chocolate chip cookies to strawberry cheesecake! So, don't despair if you're on a medical diet. There is plenty of good taste to go around.

© 2008 Stephanie Hicks

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • stephhicks68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Hicks 

      6 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Everyone's health may improve by following these tips for good blood sugar management, making these easy diabetes recipe adjustments. Thank you for the comment! Best, Steph

    • profile image

      susanm23b 

      6 years ago

      You did a great job with this subject. Before my daughter was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, we already ate the whole wheat pastas, lots of fruits and veggies, etc. Our adjustment was in learning to count carbs. Voting up and useful :)

    • Balinese profile image

      Balinese 

      9 years ago from Ireland

      Thanks for the info!

      my auntie sufers from diabetes and we always give her a turmeric juice - and it help to reduce sugar level .

      cheers

      Balinese

    • profile image

      doris scott 

      9 years ago

      i'm having to learn how to adjust my cooking to ethnic foods; especially rich ggravies and sauces and advoid vitamin K based products Requires a little extra but i'm determined to succeed

    • stephhicks68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Hicks 

      10 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Hi Ruthie, I can't agree more! I've had to adjust my cooking over the past 5 years, and no one complains or even notices any longer. Like you, I've been surprised that no one appears to be very interested in this topic. Interesting that you had a similar response on squidoo. ;-) Maybe its the denial thing?

    • profile image

      RUTHIE17 

      10 years ago

      Nice Hub--Cooking for a Diabetic isn't really hard if you use your head and the cookbooks for Diabetes and low-carb recipes are plentiful and easy to find.

      I find it strange that with so many Diabetics in the USA, as well as the world, that there were no comments for this hub of yours.  I received the same response for articles I'd written under another name with my husband both here and on S_ _ _ _ _ o. (Don't know if I'm not supposed to mention the other's name!)  It's a topic I thought people would be interested in.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)