Diabetic cooking solutions

Medical centers have started to offer their own culinary academies. WBZ-TV CBS Boston reported on how the Boston Medical Center is providing cooking classes taught by a registered dietician. The class teaches recipes and kitchen tips to people dealing with particular ailments. It has proven especially popular with individuals living with diabetes, who must watch their diet to manage their condition.

Here are some tips on how to prepare dishes for a diabetic diet:

Try not to fry
Anybody looking to eat healthier should avoid solid fats. This means it's time to stop frying entrees in butter.

When recipes call for butter, try using trans​ fat free margarine for baking or olive, corn or canola oil for frying. However, Everyday Health recommended skipping the frying pan altogether. In a diabetes-friendly article, Everyday Health referred to the advice of American Diabetes Association Education President Sue McLaughlin who suggested oil-free cooking options like baking and poaching should always be embraced. If you must fry, McLaughlin recommend you stir fry to decrease the amount of oil needed and to use lean meats.

Ditch the sugar, embrace fruits
People living with diabetes should avoid large amounts of sugar. Luckily, there are other foods available that can provide the sweet flavor people crave.

Fruit is an easy way to get a sweetened final product without the negative aspects of refined sugar. Fruit can enhance the flavors of yogurt, oatmeal or other simple snacks to satisfy a sweet tooth. Instead of drinking colas, try club soda with a little bit of fruit juice for a refreshing treat. 

In some recipes you just need to reduce the amount of sugar used. In others, you can try using flavorful spices, like cinnamon or nutmeg, or vanilla extract. Sometimes recipes are in need of sugar for chemical reasons. The Express Tribune reminded cooks they can check with their doctor for substitutes that could act like sugar but still accommodate their diet.

Carb alternatives
You'll want to avoid white bread or white rice because both have been refined to the point of losing their health benefits. Also, diabetic patients want to avoid foods too heavy in complex carbohydrates.

Using simple kitchen tools you can turn vegetables into noodles. Bulgur, whole-wheat couscous and quinoa can all be rice alternatives. Yahoo Food has collected a variety of recipes that have found carbohydrate-light alternatives for a diabetic diet including mashed cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes and crushed walnuts instead of breadcrumbs.

Some of these changes in diet might be a little hard to get used to. Eating Well suggested pasta dishes are the perfect opportunity to begin slowly incorporating healthier ingredients. The Eating Well article about diabetic diet tips suggested starting with a dish that was half whole wheat pasta and half refined to get picky eaters ready for a paradigm shift.

Healthy portions
Finally, chefs should keep proportions in mind when preparing meals for diabetic diners. This can be as simple as cutting portion sizes in recipes.

Eating Well provided the divided plate trick. Half the plate should be vegetables, the other half should be divided between lean protein and a low-carb grain option. Make sure to save room for a fruity dessert.

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