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7 Tips for Tasty, Diabetes-Friendly Meals

By Amy Capetta
WebMD Feature

You can have delicious food that meets your needs for managing your type 2 diabetes. You have more options than you may realize.

“It all comes down to having the right ingredients on hand for making meals both diabetes-friendly and delicious,” says Jackie Newgent, RD, author of The With or Without Meat Cookbook: The Flexible Approach to Flavorful Diabetes Cooking.

Use these seven ideas to liven up your standby dishes in a flash.

1. Try the half-and-half pasta trick.

Pasta is a favorite dish for many people. It's no secret that the whole-grain versions are the most nutritious. They’re rich in vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and fiber, which helps with digestion, makes you feel full, and doesn’t raise blood sugar as much as white pasta does.

If whole wheat spaghetti doesn’t whet your appetite, dietitian Bonnie Taub-Dix recommends mixing some (no more than half) white semolina pasta with it.

Also, cut veggies like zucchini, squash, and carrots into spaghetti-like strips using a mandolin slicer or a spiralizer. Top it off with a few meatballs or some chicken, so you'll eat less of the pasta and get some protein with your meal, says Taub-Dix, author of Read It Before You Eat It.

2. Shake up a spicy blend.

Empty your saltshaker, and fill it with a mix of your favorite seasonings and spices. Use it to liven up eggs, salads, poultry, lean meats, and veggies, Taub-Dix suggests.

Brands sold online and in supermarkets have a variety of flavorful and aromatic blends, including Italian, Southwest chipotle, or a garlic- or peppercorn-based blend.

Choose the salt-free versions. Most people get too much sodium, which can make you more likely to get high blood pressure.

3. Pick pistachios.

You'll get fiber and protein, as well as several vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. “Also, research indicates that pistachios may help decrease the blood sugar response in the body when coupled with a carbohydrate,” Newgent says.

Pistachios can be more than just a crunchy snack. Add them to a brown rice pilaf or a salad, Newgent suggests.

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