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7 Tips for Diabetes-Friendly Cooking

4. Be smart about carbs.

Choose those that give you energy that lasts and fiber.

When a recipe calls for "white" flour, "white" rice, or other refined grains, try substituting whole wheat flour, brown rice, or other whole-grain flours or grain products. You can also use ground nuts such as almond or hazelnut (filbert) meal. Or you can mix several of these whole-grain ingredients together in the same recipe.

5. Skimp on the sugar.

Sugar can quickly raise your blood sugar, unlike the carbs from vegetables or starches, which are absorbed more slowly.

Many times you can cut the amount of sugar without seriously affecting taste or texture, though you may need to add more flour. An exception: You can’t cut corners if something you're baking needs yeast, because the yeast needs the sugar in order to do its job.

If you’re using a sugar substitute, check the product label to be sure it’s designed for baking.

6. Experiment with flavor.

Reach for ingredients other than sugar, salt, and fat to satisfy your taste buds. Try out different herbs, spices (cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg), mustards, and vinegars (balsamic, sherry).

Some spices may even have health benefits of their own. Cinnamon, for example, may help lower blood sugar levels.

You can also cut the amount of salt in a recipe, unless the recipe includes yeast, which needs the salt for rising. Or skip the salt entirely when you’re cooking, and then sprinkle a little on at the table when it’s time to eat.

Another way to reduce how much sodium you get is to choose fresh over canned and frozen foods, which tend to be higher in salt. If you’re cooking with nuts, check that they aren't salted.

7. Ask a pro.

If you have favorite recipes that you’d like to make diabetes-friendly, ask your doctor for a referral to a dietitian. They’re experts at helping plan meals that are appropriate for people with diabetes or other health issues.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD on June 02, 2014
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