Managing your diabetes starts in the kitchen

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March is officially nutrition month – a great time to discover how making healthy food choices contributes to overall health and well-being.

Anytime a family member has a change in their health, you want to do everything to make life simple and comfortable for them—you want to make sure their health gets back to what it was. With diabetes, it can be difficult to just go back to the way it was. A diagnosis can impact those for life but what’s important to know is that simple daily changes can make all the difference.

Along the way we learned a lot by asking questions and as a family, we’re thankful that we’ve been able to navigate everything from diet to exercise, because of the impact diabetes has on lifestyle.

One of the things I learned is to ensure we time meals appropriately to keep glucose levels in check.

I chatted with Maria Ricupero, a diabetes nurse practitioner – she explained why everyone, including those with diabetes, need to eat with appropriate intervals. Check that out below:

 

Ricupero says sometimes our sugar levels are highest in the morning and that means we must ensure we eat well at breakfast. Some of us may have grown up in families where breakfast wasn’t the focus, and instead it was dinner.  Ricupero said “there’s a myth that eating 6 times a day is better for you.” She says, “it’s important to have the same size meal at each meal and eat about 4-5 hours apart to keep blood sugar from dropping. So, having a big meal at the end of the day when you have diabetes isn’t recommended.”

So, what can we do include healthier options in our South Asian meals?

Try different flours for roti and including more plant-based items,” says Ricupero.

Watch her tips below.

 

In our home, my mom is vegetarian while the rest of us are not – including my dad who has diabetes. Encouraging him to eat a good breakfast and maintain a healthy diet has been a big priority for us since his diagnosis.

As different types of food can vastly change your glucose levels, I was excited to learn more about Abbott’s FreeStyle Libre – a sensor worn on the back of your upper arm that you can scan using your smartphone[1] to monitor your levels. It eliminates the need for finger pricking[2] and allows you to check your levels quickly and easily after every meal.

How do you encourage healthy eating at home? Do you introduce new ideas for breakfast or balance veg days with non-veg days? Knowing the facts about diabetes is key and having a dietitian to help navigate meal choices, in the beginning, helped our family.

For those with diabetes, attending South Asian celebrations with all the mithai around can be well, frustrating. So, this month we’re sharing two dessert recipes from Chef Alvin Leung, of MasterChef Canada fame and who has Type 2 diabetes himself. These recipes are vegetarian-friendly for the whole family and great for those that manage diabetes at home.

Earlier this year, I got to attend Abbott’s cooking event with Chef Alvin Leung – he not only shared his diabetes story and spoke about the life-changing technology of the FreeStyle Libre, but he also shared two delicious recipes for those living with diabetes.

“When cooking for myself and others, making healthy food choices is important, but we do not have to sacrifice delicious flavours and unique recipes to self-manage our diabetes,” says Chef Leung.

Chef Leung highlights simple ingredient substitutions, such as steel cut oats and whole wheat flour in homemade cheesecake crusts, for bringing new levels of culinary into our homes, and demonstrating how we can liberate mealtime with his unique cooking methods.

Margherita Cheesecake 

Ingredients

 

Filling

8 oz low fat cream cheese

8 oz 2% milk infused with 3 oz sun-dried tomatoes

Salt and pepper to taste

1 teaspoon tomato paste

1 teaspoon lemon juice

2 gelatin sheets (dissolved in

2 teaspoons of hot milk)

 

Directions

Put all the filling ingredients in a blender and liquify. Strain and pour content into a siphon (whipped cream charger) charged with two canisters of gas.

Crust crumble

1/2 cup of whole wheat flour

1 cup steel cut oats

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup margarine at room temperature,

cut into pieces

2 teaspoons grated parmesan cheese

1 teaspoon dried Italian mixed herbs

 

Directions:

To make crust crumble, preheat oven to 375°F, mix flour, salt, baking powder, parmesan cheese and mixed herbs in a large bowl. Add margarine and work into dry mixture with your fingertips until pea-sized lumps form. Add oats and mix

with your fingertips into clumps. Chill 30 mins.

Transfer crumble mixture to a parchment-lined sheet tray and bake for 8 minutes. Using a spatula, stir and toss crumble. Rotate tray and continue to bake for another 8 minutes, until the colour of crumble is a dark golden brown.

 

Let cool.

 

2 oz pesto

4 oz fried onions

4 mason jars

To finish cheesecake. Line each mason jar with crust crumble. Add a layer of pesto, fried onions and siphon cream cheese mixture to top. Chill for 30 minutes before serving.

 

Spring Delight Lighter-than-Air Cheesecake 

Ingredients

Filling
8 oz low fat cream cheese
8 oz fresh orange juice
1 1/2 teaspoons (6 packets)
sugar substitute
1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 gelatin sheets (dissolved
in orange juice)

Directions

Put all the filling ingredients in a blender to liquify. Strain and pour content into a siphon (whipped cream charger) charged with two canisters of gas.

Crust crumble
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup steel cut oats
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup margarine at room temperature
cut into pieces
1/4 cup dried apricots finely chopped

Directions
1. To make crust crumble, preheat oven to 375°F. Mix flour, salt and baking powder in a large bowl.
2. Add margarine and work into dry mixture with your fingertips until pea-sized lumps form.
3. Add oats and dried apricots and mix with your fingertips into clumps. Chill 30 minutes.
4. Transfer crumble mixture to a parchment-lined sheet tray and bake for 8 minutes. Using a spatula, stir and toss crumble.
5. Rotate tray and continue to bake for another 8 minutes, until the colour of the crumble is a dark golden brown. Let cool.

4oz sugar-free jam
4 oz sliced strawberries or any other fruit
4 mason jars

To finish cheesecake, line each mason jar with the oat crumble. Siphon 1 layer of cream cheese. Add a layer of jam and some fruit. Top with a second layer of cream cheese. Finish with a final layer of jam, fruit and oat crumble. Chill for 30 minutes before serving.

Disclaimer: This post is in partnership with Abbott Canada; however, all opinions are my own.

[1] The FreeStyle LibreLink app is compatible with Near-Field Communication (NFC) -enabled phones running Android OS 5.0 or higher and with iPhone 7 and higher running iOS 11 or higher.

[2] A finger prick test using a blood glucose meter is required during times of rapidly changing glucose levels when interstitial fluid glucose levels may not accurately reflect blood glucose levels or if hypoglycaemia or impending hypoglycaemia is reported by the System or when symptoms do not match the System readings.


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