Cooking for a Diabetic

When preparing food for a family member with type 2 diabetes, you may need to adjust the way you cook.

It is very important that diabetics have the right amount of each major food group in their diet. For instance, if you have always cooked with a lot of oil, you may need to start baking foods instead of frying them.

Planning Is Vital

Many people who are not diabetic can eat a variety of foods without much thought as to what they are eating. They may eat fruits, vegetables, protein and carbohydrates, but they are not always concerned about balancing these food groups. When you cook for a diabetic, you need to be very aware of the food groups that are required at each meal, as well as the portion size. This is because someone who is diabetic cannot maintain a healthy glucose blood level if he or she eats too much at one time.

Almost all diabetics need to eat small meals throughout the day. It is important for the individual not to get too hungry as to avoid low blood sugar levels. You will need to work with a nutritionist to design menus for your diabetic family member. Diabetics usually need to have small amounts of protein with each meal. They can have carbohydrates, but in very limited amounts. You may have previously dished white rice into a high pile on a plate for your loved one, but now he or she needs to eat only one-third of a cup of rice. This means that he or she needs more vegetables and other foods to provide enough calories for the day.

Making Healthy Changes

Simple carbohydrates like white bread and rice quickly turn into sugar in the body, as do baked goods and other sweets. They cause spikes in blood sugar that show up quickly on glucose meters when the person checks his or her blood sugar level. Opt for whole wheat bread and brown rice, and pass up the baked goods, cookies and snacks.

Cooking simple meals is the easiest way to cook for a diabetic. Instead of cooking casseroles that are high in fat content and carbohydrates, begin to plan for more simple meals. Plain food does not need to be tasteless – it means opting for a small chicken breast instead of a chicken casserole covered in gravy and noodles. Some diabetics need to eat far less salt than casseroles and boxed meals require. Think of a very small hamburger for the diabetic, and cook the boxed dinner for the rest of the family if you'd like.

Each Diet Is Different

When a person discovers that he or she has diabetes, an important part of his or her diabetes care is eating balanced meals that control their blood sugar levels. Your family member's doctor or nutritionist will give you sample menus that you can prepare. As you become more accustomed to cooking for a diabetic, you may be able to make substitutions to add variety to the diet. Focus on serving small amounts of food that contain protein, fat, carbohydrates, and fruits or vegetables at each meal.

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