Diabetes - how to eat, for the whole family

2017-11-15 06:00

NOVEMBER is Diabetes Awareness Month and this report is a follow-up to “So what is diabetes?” published in last week’s Greytown Gazette.

Who wants to have to come home to make two different meals for the family? I don’t think anyone would want to have to do that.

Often I hear my patients say they will cook a separate meal for themselves or the loved one that has diabetes, and I want them and you to know this definitely is not necessary.

A “diabetic” diet is most importantly a healthy one. Everyone can benefit from healthy eating, not just the diabetic.

Two basic tips for a healthy diabetic-friendly meal plan are:

• Cut out as much sugar as possible. This is in the form of actual table sugar as well as “hidden” sugar. Hidden sugar is found in many food products, for example - breakfast cereals. If you read your food label, for every 5g of sugar in the product or per serving this basically means 1 tsp of sugar added. Choose foods with as little “added sugar” as possible

• Add more fiber to the meal plan. Fiber is found in two main forms - insoluble and soluble. Both forms are very important to assisting our bodies to function properly by being able to pass regular soft stools, helping decrease sugar readings, decreasing blood pressure, and risks of heart disease.

Fiber is found in oats, legumes, such as beans, lentils and chickpeas, fruit and vegetables, whole wheat and whole grain foods such as brown rice and whole wheat pasta.

Examples of meals suitable for the family are ...


• rolled oats (cooked) with handful of berries or chopped apple, plus a sprinkle of cinnamon and raw seeds or nuts;

• plain yoghurt and chopped fruit plus a sprinkle of nuts or seeds; or

• cooked eggs plus mushrooms, tomatoes and cooked spinach with a slice of low GI seed bread.


• whole grain wrap plus sliced leftover chicken and avocado or mayonnaise and fresh salad;

• leftovers from the night before are great meals for the following day as they can also include a protein such as chicken, starch such as sweet potato and leftover cooked vegetables


• always try cook some lean protein for example - skinless chicken, fish or lean beef or pork and then add a low GI high fiber starch such as baby potatoes, or sweet potato with skin left on plus half a plate of seasonal vegetables or salad.

Add healthy fat at each meal such as olive or canola oil, avocado, nuts or seeds or olives

Diabetics should always have input and guidance from a dietitian who understands which foods work best with the medication they are taking. - Fran Steart, registered dietician.

• Fran Steart is a registered dietitian in Hilton - 033 343 1826.


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