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Diabetes Forecast

The Healthy Living Magazine

The American Diabetes Association's Recipe for Health

By Madelyn L. Wheeler, MS, RD, FADA, CD, and Robyn Webb, MS, LN ,

What makes a recipe diabetes-friendly? The American Diabetes Association promotes general nutrition guidelines that are geared toward blood glucose control, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, and encouraging individualized eating plans that people can maintain over time.

What makes a recipe diabetes-friendly for you depends on your situation and conditions. Is calorie control important because you're aiming to lose weight? Does high blood pressure mean you're intent on reducing sodium? Are you fueling for a triathlon?

That's why the recipes printed in Diabetes Forecast list full nutrition information—so that you can decide what best fits your needs and concerns. There's no single diabetes "diet," and an eating plan (which a registered dietitian can help you create) includes what you eat over days, weeks, and years, not just a single recipe.

Recipes presented in this magazine go through a rigorous process of development, testing, tasting, and nutritional analysis to be sure they "work" (produce the noted number of servings, taste good, and look attractive) and also meet nutritional guidelines. Only then are they deemed ready for publication.

So, a serving of a recipe printed in Diabetes Forecast is:

  • Lower in saturated fat, containing fewer than 1.5 grams of saturated fat for a side dish, fewer than 2.5 grams for a main dish, and fewer than 3.5 grams for a one-dish meal.
  • Lower in sodium, with fewer than 480 milligrams of sodium for a side dish and fewer than 600 mg for a main dish or meal.
  • Moderate in carbohydrate and lower in added sugars.
  • Higher in fiber.

Translating specific numbers from guidelines into healthy recipes can be difficult without a calculator or computer program; however, we can offer some general guidance. In order to provide the healthful and colorful recipes you see in each issue, we invent or adapt recipes by keeping simple suggestions ("Healthy Cooking Suggestions" below) in mind.

Healthful Cooking Suggestions

Use More Often . . .

More nonstarchy vegetables
WHY?
Increases fiber, reduces carbohydrate and calories

More whole grains (breads, pastas, brown rice) instead of refined (white) grains
WHY?
Increases fiber and some vitamins and minerals

More herbs and spices
WHY?
Reduces sodium and increases flavors

More fish and seafood
WHY?
Reduces saturated fat and provides healthful fat

Small amounts of oil (olive and other vegetable and nut oils) or no-trans-fat tub margarine to replace butter or margarine
WHY?
Reduces saturated and trans fats

Egg substitute or egg whites to replace part or all of the eggs
WHY?
Reduces saturated fat

Reduced-fat or fat-free salad dressings or vinaigrettes to replace regular salad dressings
WHY?
Reduces saturated fat

Low-fat or fat-free dairy products (milk, yogurt) instead of regular dairy products
WHY?
Reduces saturated fat

Fat-free cream cheese and fat-free sour cream to replace part or all of the regular or reduced-fat cream cheese and sour cream
WHY?
Reduces saturated fat

Reduced-sodium or low-sodium broths/stocks (or homemade with no added salt) instead of regular canned or boxed broths
WHY?
Reduces sodium

Fresh and unsalted vegetables and dried cooked beans. Drain and rinse canned items (use reduced-sodium or no-salt-added products when possible).
WHY?
Reduces sodium


. . . and less often

Fewer regular or lower-fat hard (yellow) cheeses. Think of them as garnishes, not the main event.
WHY?
Reduces saturated fat and sodium

Fewer deli meats such as sliced ham, salami, and smoked turkey
WHY?
Reduces sodium

Less meat, especially regular ground and other higher-fat meat
WHY?
Reduces saturated fat

Less added salt. Taste the food before adding any at the stove or table.
WHY?
Reduces sodium

These smart cooking practices can help you adapt your way of eating and your own recipes (without a calculator). And if you have favorite recipes but can't think of how to make healthful changes without losing flavor, send them to Diabetes Forecast for a makeover (box, right).

 
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While she’s still spinning music, DJ Spinderella (aka Deidra Roper) is no longer spinning her wheels when it comes to getting the right information to help her family members who have diabetes. Read more >