Make room for super foods
- Dark, leafy greens like spinach and kale: Low in calories and carbs so you can eat as much as you like
- Sweet potatoes: A starchy vegetable packed full of vitamin A and fiber
- Tomatoes: Pureed, raw, or in a sauce, they’re a great source of iron and vitamins C and E
- Berries like strawberries and raspberries: Packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and fiber, they’re the perfect snack
- Fish like salmon and tilapia: A good choice is grilled fish that’s high in omega-3 fatty acids
- Nuts like almonds and cashews: These provide you with magnesium and fiber, and are good for staving off hunger
Equip yourself with the right tools
- Nonstick pots and pans: A great way to cook low-fat and fat-free recipes. Can be used with cooking sprays, too
- Slow cooker: An easy way to make healthy meals. Cook stews, soups, and low-fat cuts of meat at a low, steady temperature so they’re ready when you get home
- Hand blender: A must-have for making low-fat smoothies, soups, and sauces. Purees food in the pan, so it saves time and dishes, too
- Knives: To make sure your fresh ingredients make the cut, be sure you have on hand a paring knife, serrated knife, and chef’s knife
Some foods to stay away from
- Processed or cured meats: This includes hot dogs, bologna, salami, bacon, and sausage products with more than 8 grams of fat per ounce
- Canned soups and broths: Unless they are labeled as low sodium or low fat, it’s better to prepare these yourself and it’s easy with a slow cooker
- Prepared mixes for pasta and rice: These are usually high in sodium. Make your own sauces instead, using fresh, natural ingredients
Improving diabetes-friendly meal prep
Like to cook? We’ve got a few tasty tips for you. Love spaghetti and meatballs? How about making them with turkey instead? It’s just one of the many ways you can start cooking healthier today.
Tip 1: Lose the fat
Forget about frying. Instead, try broiling, microwaving, baking, roasting, steaming, or grilling. Trim the fat and remove the skin from your meat whenever possible. Use nonstick pans and cooking sprays.
Tip 2: Spice it up
Try not to butter things up. Squeeze a little lemon juice over your fish. Sprinkle your chicken with lemon pepper or mesquite seasoning. Liven up meat and vegetables with garlic.
Tip 3: Go low on dairy
Dairy can still be a part of your day. Just look for nonfat or low-fat items. If you can, stick with fat-free milk and yogurt. And if you love ice cream, make it low fat or choose frozen yogurt.
Tip 4: Make the switch
It’s easy to change recipes that have a lot of fat. Just substitute foods that are more diabetes friendly. Make chili with lean ground turkey instead of beef. Use low-fat yogurt instead of mayonnaise in salad dressing.
Tip 5: Be carb conscious
Foods that contain carbohydrates can raise blood sugar levels. Try to include nonstarchy vegetables, which are generally low in carbs, in your meals, including broccoli, cucumber, mushrooms, salad greens, and tomatoes.