When people initially hear the words “diabetic cooking,” the first thing that comes to mind are steamed food that is bland in taste and not precisely appetizing to look at. Others react more strongly, asking “What diabetic cooking?” These people often consider the diabetic food list consisting mostly of fresh and raw vegetables and fruits. Truth be told: there are ways of overcoming the usual fear about this cooking and really going for the big time. Food of this kind does not have to be raw, or bland or unappetizing in presentation. For one thing, most foods that diabetic people are allowed to eat are basically the same with stuff that non-diabetics eat, with a few modifications, of course.
However, if given the proper attention, forethought and preparation, diabetic cooking can not only become better tasting food than non-diabetic meals; but this is also a far, far healthier option to take. Here are some tips on how to make the best out of diabetic food.
1. Substitute. Substitute. Substitute. There is a long list of food that should not be part of a diabetic’s meal plan. Sugar is the most notorious of all. Fortunately, diabetics can substitute artificial sweeteners to use in drinks, in baking goodies and even in plain cooking preparations (like making marinades, etc.) This principle of substitution can also be used for the lot of foods that should not be part of diabetic cooking. For example, mayonnaise should be severely limited, but one can always substitute plain natural yogurt or balsamic vinegar for salad dressings. White bread can always be replaced with sugar free varieties, or better yet with whole grain varieties or breads that do not use leavening agents and sugar (i.e. sour dough and rye breads.)
2. Think fresh produce instead of packaged produce. Diabetic cooking would indeed entail the person to delve into some deep rooted culinary expertise – or at the very least, learn new ones. It should be noted that although this way of preparing often make recommendations for steamed, boiled and grilled foods, this does not mean that these are the only options allowed. The key here is to use as much natural ingredients as possible. Pre-packaged meals are all convenient, but when a diabetic person has to monitor calorie intake as well as sugar levels and slat levels, that convenience flies straight right out of the window. It would be best if the person prepares his or her own food since the ingredients can be carefully chosen and monitored in order to balance meals.
Again, the key here is to substitute natural ingredients for processed ingredients. Instead of buying the pre-marinated, ready to cook hamburger patties, why not make your own, using freshly ground meat, freshly chopped vegetables, freshly crushed pepper and sea salt. All these ingredients are natural and portions could be carefully monitored. Even marinades for grilled meat can all be made at home from fresh herbs and select spices.
3. Stick to what you think is good. Food should be a delight, and not a punishment. There will be times when your health care provider advises you to take more leafy green vegetables for your daily meals, but you are not particularly found of these. You can always ask for substitutes which you like, and which you know you can prepare. Diabetic cooking is all about exploring new options. However, it does not mean you have to give up everything that you love. Stick to some of the things you do enjoy, but try to find new “recipes” where you could use them. Who knows? You might actually enjoy it.