Autumn leaves signal chillier days ahead. Fall’s cooler temps inspire many to head indoors and cozy up to a bowl of homemade soup or stew, and with these tips to streamline your kitchen, cooking up even last-minute diabetes-friendlier meals may be a snap. (Be sure to check with your diabetes care team before making changes to your meal plan.)
Home-cooked meals start at the grocery store, but old-school advice about what aisles to avoid may lead even savvy shoppers living with diabetes to miss out on potentially more-healthful, economical ingredients. Head to the middle of the supermarket, where pantry staples like canned beans and whole grains can be found. And before you go, take stock of what’s in the kitchen and make a list – on paper or with a smartphone app – of essentials you’re running low on.
Cooking can be a summer breeze year-round with a well-stocked kitchen. Investing in a few useful tools may streamline prep work. An immersion blender can whip up soups and sauces to a smooth, creamy consistency directly in the pot, and may cut down on steps and cleanup. Try making barley and quinoa in a rice cooker to avoid overdone grains. Keeping versatile basics like canned fish, fruits and sauces, as well as dried grains, nuts and oils on hand make it simpler to take recipes from your meal plan to the dinner table.
Supplement your pantry with foods in your fridge and freezer that can be eaten on their own for a snack – like yogurt and veggies – or in diabetes-friendlier soups or main dishes. Reach for frozen salmon and bagged, prewashed salad greens, which can form the basis of a quick weeknight dinner. Need a reminder about what’s in your crisper? Stick your grocery receipts to the fridge to make planning meals easier, without having to open the door.
Improperly stored food can spoil any recipe. Knowing how to keep your ingredients fresh and flavorful may mean fewer surprises and substitutions when preparing meals. Dairy and eggs should be stored in the coldest part of the refrigerator, and not in the door. Help dried herbs and seasonings retain their potency by storing out of direct sunlight, heat and moisture. Take the guesswork out of what’s fresh by dating leftovers in food storage containers with a pen and masking tape. Guidelines at foodsafety.gov suggest when to throw them out.
Jill Weisenberger is a paid contributor to The DX. All opinions contained in this post reflect those of the interviewees and/or contributors, and not of Sanofi US, its employees, agencies, or affiliates.
© 2015 The DX: The Diabetes Experience