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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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If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

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