Never before has there been as many food items suitable and adaptable for people with diabetes as there are currently on grocery shelves. Even so, the consumer must be aware that many of the so-called fat-free, sugar-free and low cholesterol snacks still have lots of calories and many contain more carbs, starches and sugars than their full-fat counterparts. Even a “free,” “low-calorie, low-fat, no-sugar added” food can quickly add up in calories, carbs, fat and/or sodium if the recommended serving amount is exceeded.
In order to assist you in making your meals healthier, keep these following tips in mind while stocking your pantry/refrigerator/freezer. These will allow you to make healthy exchanges while cooking.
Keep a selection of nonstick cooking sprays available, such as olive oil and butter flavors. Use according to the directions.
Keep a variety of sugar substitutes in your pantry to help sweeten foods without raising the calorie or carb count. That does not mean small amounts of sugar are forbidden, however.
Keep reduced-fat margarine – tub and stick varieties – available. Tub margarines have fewer unhealthy trans-fatty acids, regular stick reduced-fat margarine is needed for baking and cooking.
Canola oil, rich in health-protective Omega-3 fatty acids, is a good all-purpose oil to keep in the pantry. It also has the lowest percentage of saturated fats – fats that interfere with the normal removal of excess fat and cholesterol from the body of any vegetable oil.
Always buy the highest quality of extracts and spices, as well as the freshest herbs available. Extracts such as anise, chocolate, maple and vanilla and herbs such as cilantro and rosemary provide wonderful flavor without adding calories or carbs.
Numerous flavors of sugar-free instant puddings and sugar-free gelatin desserts are available now. Also, sugar-free, fat-free whipped toppings add sweet flavor and creamy texture to desserts, both as a topping and as an ingredient. Try this easy cinnamon topping: Mix 3-4 packets of sugar substitute with 2 teaspoons cinnamon. This is a great topping to have available for sprinkling over cereals, grapefruit or toast.
Always use lean cuts of meat and extra-lean ground meats. Always skin poultry and cut or trim away with kitchen shears any visible fat on any meat.
Use no-sugar added fruit spreads in moderation because the calorie and carbohydrate counts are nearly the same as for regular jams and preserves. Additionally, instead of their full-fat counterparts, use nonfat or reduced-fat dairy products, like buttermilk, cheese, cottage cheese, milk, sour cream and yogurt.
To cut the amount of cholesterol and fat in recipes containing eggs, you may desire to substitute egg whites for some of the yolks or you can use the new fat-free, cholesterol-free liquid egg substitutes. Again, take the time to read the food labels to ensure you purchase the brand that is the healthiest.