November is Diabetes Awareness Month. Although, there is no cure for diabetes you can learn how to balance what you eat to help manage your blood glucose to keep it at a healthy level. Along with exercise and keeping up with your checkups, and any medicines you have been prescribed, diabetes can be managed, and many with this disease can live long and healthy lifestyles.
Below are a few diabetes superfoods from the American Diabetes Association that you can substitute out for some not so good food options to make your meals work for you instead of against you. Beware, there are no tortillas, or sweet bread, or any of the things we Latino’s just can’t live without but must limit if we want to make better choices at mealtime.
Juice vs Water
Instead of reaching for that fruit juice in the morning why not try a glass of water with your breakfast. Not just any water but water infused with some orange peels, or strawberries, even cucumbers, with a little mint for a twist. Very refreshing and you just feel the goodness of those fruits and veggies with every sip you take.
Pan Dulce vs Toast with Avocado Spread
We all can agree a piece of pan dulce with our cafecito is just the perfect thing in the morning, but try a piece of toast with a spread of mashed up avocado on top instead. Think of all the extra energy you’re giving yourself first thing in the morning with this superfood alternative. Avocado is a monounsaturated fat, they’re are called “good or healthy” fats because they can lower your bad (LDL) cholesterol.”
Baked Potato vs Sweet Potato
Who doesn’t love a baked potato loaded with bacon, cheese, sour cream, and butter? Your body may not. There is a scrumptious alternative to that baked potato that’s full of nutritious benefits your body needs: a sweet potato. They are also a good source of vitamin C and potassium according to the American Diabetes Association. Sprinkle a little cinnamon on top and bam you have yourself a tasty snack to curve your sweet tooth cravings.
Red Meat vs Beans
Meats are high in saturated fats which is why you should enjoy that juicy steak on special occasions, and substitute your meal with another alternative that’s high in fiber and provides healthier fats. Since beans are a plant-based protein they are jam-packed with vitamins and minerals like potassium. To cut back on the intake of salt drain them first if using from a can. Go ahead and take your pick from pinto to kidney, to black beans, they’re all good especially as a nice hot bowl of charro beans for lunch!
Candy vs Fruit
Okay, this is a no-brainer but we all know it’s much easier to keep a stash of your favorite candy in the drawer. Try to fix up some goodie bags filled with pieces of strawberries, some nuts, blueberries, or whatever your favorite go-to berries are, and satisfy your afternoon sweet tooth with a snack that gives you added nutritional benefits of vitamin C, vitamin K, manganese, potassium and fiber as shared by the American Diabetes Association. A nice bowl of fruit with some yogurt on top for some added calcium and Vitamin D is always a good option.
Tamales vs Fish & Seafood
We all love our Tamales. They’re a rite of passage, a long-standing tradition, and also should be eaten in moderation since masa isn’t the best food choice out there. Insteadadd a little fish into the mix. A nice piece of Salmon 2 to 3 times a week provides a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids which “prevents clogging of the arteries.” There’s also albacore tuna, rainbow trout, scallops, and shrimp among other seafood favorites to choose from.
Pasta Salad vs Dark Green Leafy Vegetables
Pasta in any shape or form along with meat sauce or marinara sauce is like a little taste of Italy each time, but how about trying a nice leafy green salad topped with tomatoes, cucumbers, kale, spinach, or whatever your favorite dark green leafy vegetables are. These diabetes superfoods are jam-packed with essential vitamins and minerals like vitamins A, C, E, and K, iron, calcium and potassium.
Abuelita Chocolate vs Tea
A nice warm cup of Abuelita chocolate right before bed on a cold winter’s night sounds good, right? Well, how about trying a nice warm cup of tea with a little bit of almond or soy milk? You can pick between black tea, green tea, lavender tea, chamomile – however, if it’s right before bed you might want to be conscious of any teas with caffeine. Try to limit adding any sugar, creamers, or sweetener as those can impact your blood sugar. Plain tea is the best healthy alternative. Sugary drinks do more damage than good. “These will raise blood glucose and can provide several hundred calories in just one serving!”
Cereal vs Oatmeal
Captain Crunch, Fruity Pebbles, and Honey Combs, were all a favorite go-to breakfast when you were young, but not so much now. How about switching out the sugary cereal for some wholesome oatmeal? Check the label to be sure its whole oats oatmeal. It can be challenging finding whole grain alternatives, and tempting to not want to buy that oatmeal with maple brown sugar, but you can sweeten that oatmeal up naturally with some of your favorite fruit on top for added flavor, and sprinkle in some of your favorite nuts.
Chicken vs Tofu
We’ve all seen it in the grocery aisle or have a friend who brags about how goodtofu is. Well, guess what? Turns out tofu is a much better diabetes superfood to choose and even looks like chicken. It’s considered a plant-based protein that provides healthy fats and fiber to your diet. Don’t knock it till you try it. You just might be surprised by how much you enjoy it in your salad, with some veggies, or in a soup. Chicken without the skin is still a good choice as it makes for less saturated fat also.