The warm summer months are a good time to take advantage of fresh, in-season fruits and veggies for healthful, flavor-packed soups, salads, smoothies and after-meal frozen treats. Whether you’re looking to expand an existing meatless meal plan or considering changing up your mealtime routine, these diabetes-friendlier, lower-carb ideas and recipes may be exciting additions to a summer table. Get more tips here for keeping track of the food you eat, whether at home or dining out, and your total nutrition throughout the day.
(Be sure to talk to your diabetes care team if you are considering making changes to your meal plan.)
Low in calories and carbs, leafy greens are nutrient powerhouses that are in abundance all summer long. So why not have a salad as your main meal? Black, garbanzo, lima or kidney beans sprinkled on greens may add fiber and protein as well as flavor. Keep salads diabetes-friendlier by making and measuring out your own dressing and going light on cheeses and high-calorie avocadoes, nuts, olives and sunflower seeds. (Get more ideas for eating greens and a recipe for spinach and goat cheese salad.)
Salads aren’t the only no-cook meals to consider. Try lightly coating a whole-grain wrap with 2-3 tablespoons of your favorite tapenade or spread, and add a small portion of skinless roast chicken or tuna with plain yogurt. Add fresh bell peppers or cucumber for a bit of crunch and pair with a refreshing gazpacho soup. (Get more no-cook tips and recipes.)
Looking for a delicious seasonal fruit with a smaller carbohydrate load? Apples, blueberries, cantaloupes and peaches each contain 15 grams of carbs per serving. Many nonstarchy vegetables including broccoli, carrots, cucumbers and green beans are nutrient rich yet contain minimal calories and very few carbs. Fruits and veggies can be snacked on alone, blended into soups, or chopped up and added to salads, stir-fries and other medleys. (Discover more fruits and veggies and a recipe for red lentil and carrot soup with spicy ginger.)
For dinner why not consider preparing a veggie-packed frittata (asparagus and zucchini make for a good combo), then save the leftovers for the next day. These open-faced omelets taste as good cold as they do fresh out of the oven, and the eggs add a punch of protein to your midday meal. (Get tips for wraps, bento boxes and other lunch ideas.)
With the weather heating up, a frosty smoothie or frozen treat may be just the thing to help bring the mercury down. Keep smoothies lower in fat and sugar by using a base of almond or cashew milk or low-fat Greek yogurt. And avoid sugar-rich tropical fruits and focus instead on berries and melons such as cantaloupe, honeydew or watermelon. Adding some greens may lower carbs while increasing nutritional content, without sacrificing flavor.
For dessert, pass on prepackaged offerings and make your own: Skewer grapes and freeze them for bite-sized treats, or puree and freeze watermelon to make a delicious, lower-carb pop. (Read more about making diabetes-friendlier smoothies and desserts.)
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© 2016 The DX: The Diabetes Experience