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Family-Friendly Meals for People with Diabetes

family dinner

Diabetes doesn’t have to turn you into a short-order cook. If you or someone at your dinner table follows a diabetes meal plan, it may seem impossible to find recipes everyone can enjoy. But there are ways to share a meal without cooking different entrées for different diners.

The 3 “F’s”

Look for recipes with the three “F’s” – fiber, lean fish, and good fats.

Fiber-rich foods include vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes (beans, peas and lentils), and whole grains.

Baked or grilled fish is a heart-healthy alternative to higher-fat meats. Good choices include cod, tilapia, salmon or halibut. (Just steer clear of high-mercury varieties such as swordfish, tile fish and kind mackerel, especially for kids or pregnant women.)

Swap butter or margarine for monounsaturated or polyunsaturated cooking fats such as olive or canola oil.

Timing Is Everything

Under the advice of a dietitian, the person with diabetes in your household may be counting carbohydrates. Many people with diabetes choose to eat their carbs at the same time and in the same amounts each day, in order to minimize fluctuations of their blood glucose levels.

While flexibility in timing and amount of carbs can still result in controlled blood glucose levels, more care must be taken with meal-time insulin dosing. Eating regular meals is a good health habit for everyone so aim to plan family meals when all members of the household can enjoy a full plate and quality time together.

Build-Your-Own

Tacos, wraps, salads, and omelets…what do these meals have in common? They all lend themselves to a “build your own” approach. Simply set up the fixings and let everyone pick and choose their favorites.

Everyone, including people with diabetes, wins when you limit the items high in sugar or simple carbs and choose instead more whole foods including vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes (beans, peas and lentils), and whole grains. Then all that’s left to fight about is who gets to do the dishes.

The 3-Part Plate

Ultimately, a diabetes-friendly eating plan is best for all. Eating whole foods including fresh fruits and vegetables and lean protein is a smart solution for the entire family. To picture what a healthy meal

looks like, visualize your plate in three parts. First, fill half your plate with plenty of colorful, non-starchy vegetables. Then place whole grain or starchy food on one quarter of your plate and lean protein on the other quarter.

Healthy eating leads to healthy bodies. It can help prevent heart disease, stroke, and a variety of other health concerns for people with or without diabetes.

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