If you have Type II Diabetes, you probably already know that staying healthy requires some changes to your current dieting plan. You most likely know that you need to be careful about your sugar intake and avoid excessive saturated fat and sodium. What you may not know, however, is that cooking healthy meals geared towards Type II Diabetes doesn’t have to be an exercise in frustration. You also don’t have to end up feeling deprived. A few simple cooking tips will help you create meals that taste as good as they are good for you.
Plan, Plan, Plan
One of the most important things for someone with Type II Diabetes to do is eat on a regular schedule. Routine meal-times, reports the Mayo Clinic (one of America’s most respected research hospitals) will help you control your blood sugar. This means that planning daily activities and preparing for your meals is vital. Not only will relying on convenience food make it hard to avoid high fat, high sodium and high sugar foods (all of which are trouble for Diabetics), it can also take a toll on your wallet. Set a time (such as on the weekend) to plan meals; having a plan makes it easier for you to enjoy foods that are healthy, tasty, and inexpensive.
Go Fresh (or Frozen)
Healthy foods have a bit of a reputation problem. For far too long, “good for you” has meant “tasteless and bland.” In reality, many of the same attributes that make food healthy also make it taste great. Fresh, in-season produce is about as good as food gets. Both fruits and vegetables are high in fiber – which fills you up and can help you control your weight (often a concern for those with Type II Diabetes – while fresh fruit adds natural sweetness that won’t mess with your blood glucose levels as much as refined sugar will.
Herbs and Spices
People with Type II are often at risk for heart problems, which is why their doctors often advise them to limit sodium intake (excess sodium raises blood pressure and increases the risk of heart attack or stroke). Herbs and spices can take the place of salt in your favorite meals. For example, basil turns a simple meal of pasta and tomato sauce into something a bit more special, while a crust of herbs is perfect on a roast. You can also explore new recipes from countries all over the world, but especially those located along the old spice trading routes. India and China are two countries that have an impressive array of healthy dishes that won’t leave you hungry for flavor. The use of spices in these countries allows them to develop the tastiest of dishes that are perfect for a diabetic diet.
Eat with your Other Senses by Cooking at Home
You’ve probably heard the phrase “we eat with our eyes first”, and it’s true. The amount of contact we have with food (which includes appreciating fine presentation) helps increase satisfaction. Cooking at home helps you get the maximum satisfaction out of your food, so you won’t have to eat as much to enjoy it. This, in turn, helps you control your weight. When you cook, make an effort to really pay attention to your food. Note how a fresh tomato feels when you handle it, listen to a steak as it sizzles in the skillet, smell the fresh herbs you’re crumbling onto a soup. You’ll eat less but enjoy more.
Elizabeth Carrollton writes about defective medical devices and dangerous drugs for Drugwatch.com.