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Around the World in 7 Meals

Making international dishes diabetes-friendlier

valentines-ss_sushiIt’s not unusual this time of year to experience a bit of cabin fever. Here’s an idea to break up the routine: Enjoy an international culinary adventure right at home!

Read on for some cooking and dining tips to make lower-calorie, diabetes-friendlier versions of global dishes, from sushi to Swedish brunch. (Be sure to talk to your diabetes care team if you have any questions about your meal plan.)

Meal 1: Mexican food

Mexican food and diabetesLime juice, fresh cilantro, chili peppers, fresh vegetables and homemade salsa can help to make Mexican dishes full of flavor, so it seems a shame to heap on cheese and sour cream. The good news is that you may save yourself added fat and calories without the dairy. Read tips for making or ordering Mexican dishes.

Meal 2: Say “oui!” to French cuisine

Healthful French Cuisine

The French are famous for meat-centric dishes that seem to swim in butter, oil, cream or fat. Try trading cream for evaporated milk in béarnaise or replacing some of the oil with cornstarch-thickened vegetable broth for sauces. You may also want to focus on dishes from the South of France for meals featuring olives, tomatoes, fish and vegetables. Get more French cuisine tips.

Meal 3: Lower-carb Indian dishes  

Tips for Enjoying Indian Food

The carbs in rice, potatoes and breads like roti and naan may add up in many Indian or South Asian meals, not to mention the saturated fats in ghee (clarified butter) or paneer (a soft cow’s milk cheese). More healthful options may be tandoori (oven-baked) or tikka (skewered) veggies, fish and poultry; and choosing vindaloo, masala or other tomato-based options over cream sauces. Read more tips for enjoying Indian and South Asian food.

Meal 4: Chinese food, family-style

Tips for Eating Chinese Food

Ring in the Year of the Monkey with more healthful appetizers like wonton, egg drop or hot and sour soup instead of fried spring or egg rolls. When dining out, consider ordering dishes family-style in order to sample smaller portions of a wider variety of flavors. And if you try to fill at least half of the plate with veggies, you may not even miss the rice or noodles. Read more tips for making Chinese food diabetes-friendlier.

Meal 5: When in Rome …

Italian food and diabetes

In Italy people don’t just eat, they dine. At home you might also savor your meal by spending more time enjoying smaller portions of a variety of healthful options. Starting with a soup or salad may help fill you up so that you can indulge in smaller portions. For pasta or pasta-substitute dishes, consider tomato-based sauces (marinara or Pomodoro), adding spinach, mushrooms, carrots, broccoli, zucchini, eggplant or almost any vegetable you like. And if you can’t resist pizza, stick with a slice of thin crust for fewer carbs. Get more tips for enjoying Italian food.

Meal 6: Sushi and diabetes?

Sushi and diabetes

Yes! Compared to a lot of restaurant and takeout food options, Japanese cuisine may be a diabetes-friendlier choice – with side dishes like seaweed salad or veggies. Consider requesting low-sodium soy sauce; if none is available, cut it with water and add a bit of wasabi to punch up the flavor. At home, you may find that making your own sushi is surprisingly easy – and you’re better able to control the amount of rice in your rolls, cones or single pieces. Read more tips for making and enjoying sushi.

Meal 7: Brunch goes global


Bored with limited brunch options? In a number of countries, people wake up to foods such as cucumbers, tomatoes, fish and others that are rarely seen on an American breakfast table or at a brunch restaurant. Consider brightening your weekend morning with an array of low-carb breakfast dishes from around the globe.

All opinions contained in this post reflect those of the interviewees and/or contributors, and not of Sanofi US, its employees, agencies, or affiliates.

© 2016 The DX: The Diabetes Experience

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