Healthy tips and recipes for diabetics
Helpful tips for managing diabetes and healthy, tasty recipe ideas for those living with this chronic disease.
Key points to remember
- Healthy eating is important for everyone, but it is especially important for disease control in the person with diabetes.
- Knowing what to eat and how to eat are important tools for controlling blood sugar levels, which is essential for managing diabetes.
- There are no forbidden foods and it is possible to create healthy, varied and tasty recipes that contribute to the overall well-being of the body and mind.
There is no specific diet for diabetics, but a healthy diet and exercise can be allies in the management of the disease and contribute to the general well-being of people living with diabetes. We leave you with some tips for making healthier choices and recipe ideas that you can enjoy without fear.
Tips for people with diabetes
“What can I eat?” This is one of the most common questions asked by diabetics. There is no formula that works for all diabetics, but eating a wide variety of foods, in the recommended amounts, is essential to a healthy lifestyle.
No food is strictly forbidden in advance, but the choice of what to eat on a daily basis needs to be more conscious. After all, a healthy diet can help control blood sugar levels, better manage weight and control risk factors for heart disease such as high blood pressure and cholesterol.
These tips can help you do just that:
- Split your diet, eating small meals throughout the day (5 to 6 meals a day).
- Include high-fiber foods in your meals.
- Opt for dietary diversity, focusing on vegetables, whole grains, legumes, proteins and healthy fats.
- Include fruit in your diet – 3 fruits a day.
- Encourage the consumption of healthy fat sources such as olive oil and fish.
- Avoid refined carbohydrates, sugar and sweetened beverages, alcohol, baked goods, deli meats, fatty meats and full-fat dairy products, as they tend to cause blood sugar spikes.
- Reduce fried foods, stews, sauces and pre-cooked dishes.
- Use herbs and spices instead of salt.
- Engage in regular physical activity, as it can be an important ally in managing blood sugar.
Healthy and tasty recipes for people with diabetes
Simply put, a diabetic’s main goal should be to manage their blood sugar. Therefore, what to eat and how to eat it are common concerns when it comes to the table. We share with you some recipes that bring variety and flavor to the table, while helping to manage the disease.
1. Choose your carbohydrates carefully
All carbs affect blood sugar, so it’s important to know which foods contain these nutrients. However, they shouldn’t be considered the bad guys! Carbohydrates are essential to the body’s functioning and are an important source of energy. But they are not all the same! We should focus on complex carbohydrates, which are absorbed slowly by our bodies and have a low glycemic index. Whole grains, legumes, vegetables and fruit are examples of foods that should be part of your diet. These tuna and pasta sandwiches can be a great option – choose whole grain bread and replace the mayonnaise with Greek yogurt – or this mushroom pancake, made with whole grain flours, or even this rice and bean wrap.
2. Focus on vegetables and other greens
Greens are very nutritious and low in calories. They also have a low glycemic index, which means they do not significantly affect blood sugar levels. Spinach, kale and other greens are important allies in managing diabetes, but they can also be the star of many delicious dishes! Try different types of soups, like this Pea and Mint Soup or this Pumpkin and Seed Cream, and always pair your meals with vegetables, like these Brussels sprouts with almonds. With the arrival of summer, salads are also a great option. Fresh and light, they can be very nutritious when combined with protein sources, like this chicken breast and orange salad or this tuna and green bean salad. The combinations are endless and you can always opt for something different like this apple, walnut and camembert salad, a green salad with watermelon and feta or this cabbage, carrot, orange and sunflower seed salad.
3. Avoid red meat and give preference to fish
Avoid red or processed meats and replace them with white meats like chicken, eggs and fish. Salmon, sardines and mackerel are some of the options. Rich in fatty acids, these fish are very beneficial for heart health. This is especially important for people with diabetes, who have an increased risk of heart disease and stroke. These seed-crusted hake fillets add an innovative twist, and this salmon on a bed of potatoes could be an ideal option, simply by replacing the new potatoes with sweet potatoes.
Legumes are also a great source of fiber and protein and have a low glycemic index. A healthy meal can be convenient and some dishes can even be prepared ahead of time and stored for a few days, like this flavored chicken and vegetable soup and this lentil soup.
4. Betting on seeds and nuts
Did you know that seeds and nuts can play a very important role in fighting disease? Seeds have become a popular food and for good reason! Chia seeds in particular seem to have a beneficial effect on diabetes management, providing a source of fiber without raising blood sugar levels. Nuts, like fish, are very high in fatty acids and contribute to heart health. They are also a great mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack option and can be combined with other healthy sources of fat and protein such as yogurt or cottage cheese. Check out our healthy snack suggestions here.
5. Sweet – but healthy
Fruit is sometimes considered the enemy of diabetics, but that doesn’t have to be the case. It’s an important source of carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and fiber and contributes to a healthy digestive system. Choose fresh fruit, avoiding sweetened canned goods or fruit juice. When you’re craving dessert, yogurt and fruit parfaits can be a great way to satisfy that sweet tooth. Sugar can easily be replaced with alternatives such as sweetener in this recipe, and cream can make way for yogurt or cottage cheese.