Whether you have an older family member with diabetes, a child with Type 1 diabetes, or younger pre-diabetic individuals living in your house, managing this serious condition requires a healthy lifestyle. Add in the fact that when one individual has the condition, others are likely at risk, and it’s important for families to make healthy eating for Diabetes a joint endeavor.
Family Well-being: Healthy Eating For Diabetes
But how do you feed your entire family in a way that’s both healthy and appealing? Is taking the moral high ground – that eating this way is necessary – enough? You don’t’ want to fracture the family table since eating together bonds a family, but you don’t want every meal to be a battle. When making dietary changes and implementing healthy eating for diabetes purposes this is a life style change.
The fact is, we all get entrenched in certain ways of eating and children, in particular, are resistant to change, especially when change means vegetables instead of French fries. So you’re going to need taste on your side if you want to make health eating sustainable. Luckily, by embracing creative cooking, you can feed your family right – and they’ll never even realize it.
Build A Better Breakfast
Breakfast forms the foundation for the day but it can be one of the hardest meals to make healthy because so many common breakfast are simple sugar bombs. Whether it’s sugary cereal, a bagel, or fruit juice, a normal breakfast will spike a diabetic’s blood sugar and cause unhealthy insulin spikes, even in family members who don’t have diabetes. We need to rethink this morning meal.
One ideal healthy breakfast option is a veggie and sausage frittata with low-fat cheese. You can make this even healthier by swapping out some of the yolks for egg whites and packing it with vegetables. The protein in this meal will slow sugar absorption and keep your family feeling full. Plus, the cheese and sausage will distract the kids from the vegetables in this tasty breakfast.
Focus On Flavor
With the right accents, you can make meals appealing to even the pickiest eaters, even if the food in question is green vegetables. This lemon-broccoli salad, for example, downplays the broccoli flavor by flavoring the dish with soy and ginger. Sure, it’s not mac and cheese, but the flavors are exciting on the palate – plus broccoli contains high levels of magnesium that can increase insulin sensitivity and help control diabetes.
Swap Our Carbs
Carbohydrates are a serious problem for diabetics, but they form the backbone of many family meals. Kids love pasta, potatoes, bread, sugar – all things that can cause trouble for those trying to control their blood sugar. An evolving family menu needs to find ways to account for these carbs.
Two foods you can use to replace common carbs in your family meals are cauliflower and quinoa. Cauliflower can be readily processed to look like rice and kids often can’t tell the difference since we eat with our eyes first. In fact, cauliflower has become such a popular carb replacement that many mainstream stores sell cauliflower “rice” dishes and cauliflower pizza crust.
As for quinoa, many people think this South American pseudo-grain is a carb, but quinoa is actually rich in protein. Toss it into a zesty salad for added texture or top it with nutritionally rich kale pesto for a side dish that can be eaten hot or cold. You won’t miss rice or pasta at all when using quinoa in your side dishes.
Finally, when it comes to handling the main proteins in your meal, families handling diabetes need to season their dishes smarter. Most store-bought marinades are packed with salt and sugar but making your own marinade is very simple. You can make a healthy, flavorful marinade using low-sodium soy sauce, minced garlic, and vinegar. Such a marinade will imbue your protein with flavor but skip over the added calories, salt, and sugar.
Healthy Eating for Diabetes
Managing diabetes can bring serious changes in the family, but it doesn’t have to disrupt meal times. It all starts with opening the door to flavor and learning what you can do without. What was rice really bringing to the table that cauliflower or quinoa can’t? Why use a sugary store-bought barbecue sauce when a simple marinade packs just as much punch? No one will miss the old meals when they’re so busy enjoying these new dishes.
Jenna is a freelance writer from Renton, WA who is particularly interested in travel, nature, and parenting. Follow her on Twitter.