Q: I wasn’t able to go to your “What’s Cookin’ With Diabetes” class the other night. Can you tell me what I should eat each day?
A: The answer depends on how much fuel your body needs for the work you do each day, and on your health status in general. It’s important to ask your diabetes health care team, including your doctor, your registered dietitian or your certified diabetes educator, to work with to develop a personalized meal plan.
Your personal meal plan needs to tell you these three things:
• When to eat — includes what time of day and how many meals or snacks to plan for.
• What to eat — means knowing which foods or food groups to include, or how many grams of carbohydrates to eat. To know what to eat, your meal plan could use one of several methods. For instance, you could count carbohydrates, using either grams or carb choices (1 choice equals 15 grams). Or you could use diabetic exchanges.
• How much to eat — involves knowing the portion size of each food to eat. There are several lists out there that describe food portions based on common items you might find around the house, such as a deck of cards equals 3 ounces of meat.
All foods with calories contribute to blood glucose, some more than others. Carbohydrates in foods affect you blood sugar the most. Part of the protein and fats we eat also get changed into blood glucose. So, to help keep your blood sugar controlled, control how many carbohydrates you have at each meal. Remember, high carbohydrate foods are all of the foods that are starchy, and all of the foods that are sweet. High-carb foods are found in the grains, fruits and milk groups. Some vegetables (the starchy ones, such as potatoes, peas and corn) are also high in carbohydrates.
Smart choices for healthy eating includes choosing fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk or calcium-rich products. Also, include lean beef, pork, chicken, turkey, fish, beans, or eggs. Eat small amounts of nuts, seeds and oils. Finally be sure to go easy on saturated and trans fats, cholesterol, sodium, added sugars and alcohol.
Tortilla-Layered Southwest ‘Lasagna’
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon cumin, or more if desired
1/2 teaspoon chili powder, or more if desired
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2/3 cup cooked red kidney or pinto beans, cooked without salt, rinsed and drained
4 ounces (about 3/4 cup) cooked chopped meat, without bones and trimmed of fat, such as chicken, turkey, beef or pork
1/4 cup frozen sweet corn kernels
1/4 cup canned diced tomatoes with green chilies
2 corn or flour tortillas, about 6 inches in diameter
1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese
1/4 cup shredded cheddar or colby cheese
1. Wash your hands and work area.
2. Heat a skillet sprayed with non-stick cooking spray over medium heat. Cook onion and garlic for 3 minutes, or until softened. Stir in spices and cook 1 minute longer. Remove from heat.
3. Stir in beans, meat, corn and tomatoes.
4. Spray a 1-quart round casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray. Place one tortilla in the bottom of the pan. Spread half of the beans-corn mixture, then half of each of the cheeses on top.
5. Repeat layers.
6. Cover and bake in a microwave oven at 50 percent power for 5 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
7. Cover and refrigerate leftovers within two hours. Or, if desired, freeze leftovers in a moisture-proof freezer container.
Yield: 3 servings, about 1 cup each
Note: 1 1/2 Carbohydrate Choices Per Serving
Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 240 Calories, 6 g Total Fat, 3 g Saturated Fat, 0 g Trans Fat, 45 mg Cholesterol, 320 mg Sodium, 24 g Total Carbohydrates, 5 g Dietary Fiber, 3 g Sugar, 23 g Protein.