I mentioned the other night that my buddy from the Army is showing up and staying for a few days, and it turns out he is diabetic, so I need some menu options. We talked tonight, and I was going to make meatloaf and mashed potatoes, but now I am thinking meatloaf and mashed cauliflower (which I know exists, but I do not want to trust online recipes), with maybe some green beans.
But that is just for tomorrow night, so I need a bunch of solid, savory, and filling recipes for lunch and dinners for a couple days. Do any if you have some wisdom or recipes to help me out?
Did you ask him what he eats? Seriously, sarcasm aside, the easiest way to prepare for someone’s dietary needs is to ask them what they can and cannot eat.
That depends entirely if he’s hyperglcemic or hypoglycemic.
He’ll be your best guide, but in general try to avoid fast carbs like sugar, potatoes, pasta and white rice or flour. A lot is going to depend on how well controlled his condition is. For some of us, if we’re current on our meds we can eat almost anything within reason and moderation.
@Cassidy: Yeah, that’s probably the best thing to do…as someone with a diabetic in my family, they generally know what is good (or not good) for them to eat.
Here are some meal ideas from the American Diabetes Association. But, as Cassidy said, your best bet is to ask him what he eats and if there’s anything he avoids. Generally speaking, just about anything you cook from scratch is going to be fine in the right portion. More protein and veggies, fewer starches.
What Cassidy said. And think about it seriously John. Whatever you come up with will not only be healthy for your guest, but will be healthy for your own life. You are what you eat.
What Cassidy said. Ask. Your biggest issues are the sugar factor, so no pureed carrot soup. And squirting bottles of honey into your mouth is out. Keep some stevia or agave on hand, good, fresh salads, a bottle of Robbie’s Naturals BBQ sauce and dressings; you’ll be good to go.
I am a (type I) diabetic, and for me at least, the main thing is portion control. That is, I eat most things, I just limit the carbs, and things seem to work out. I generally avoid stuff with sugar (or have very small servings). I used to have a major sweet tooth, but now I can’t eat that kind of thing without picturing the damage it’s doing as it sends my blood sugar into the stratosphere. It’s bread and potatoes that I crave and have to force myself to avoid.
As long as you provide enough protein, your friend will be able to eat enough to not feel deprived.
If he likes them, avocados are great; they’re mostly fiber and monounsaturated fat, and have almost no effect on glucose levels.
@ruemara: Well hell. What’s the fun in having visitors if you can’t sit around and squirt honey in your mouth. Might as well go smoke a bowl or something.
Check out some paleo recipes, which steer clear of sugar and refined anything. Nomnompaleo is a personal favorite.
John from Minneapolis
You can’t go wrong with this — I call it my “concoction,” and I eat it about 3-4 times a week, for any meal including breakfast.
Just brown lots of onion, mushroom and red or yellow pepper in olive oil. Add some meat, cut small — I usually use steak or chicken. You can use a relatively small amount and if you cut it up, you get some in every bite and it seems like more. Add some salt and pepper. I’ll often add a few shakes of Szechuan stir fry sauce or sweet and sour sauce at the end. Broccoli is good in this, too.
It’s filling, tastes great, and has no carbs except if there’s a bit in the sauce. It’s basically just a stir fry, but I eat it without putting it on rice. You could do that, though.
I started cooking this when I joined Weight Watchers, because it has relatively few points on their system, but it’s got a lot of food volume.
I agree with the ask him what he eats advice and I’ll just add that when I’ve cooked for diabetics as an easy substitution that often seems to work for them is using beans instead of starches like potatoes–YMMV.
Pretty much what everyone else said. Some people focus on the low-fat (“plant-based diet” as Kaiser keeps telling me every five minutes) and others go more low-carb.
Honestly, I’m finding that what I eat is important, but so is when I eat. My blood sugar spikes on weekends when I may only eat once a day.
Can you ever go wrong with grilled meat and salad and some simple veg like brussel sprouts sauted?
Speaking of diet, I’m having trubs stomaching this NBC coverage so far. It’s as if the Games are nothing but skiing and ice skating. Where’s the regular speedskating? Where’s the biathlon? NBC sucks ass, as does Costas’ eyes.
Ask. I have diabetic coworkers. Some are very flexible, others are extremely inflexible. My non-medical experience is that lots of small meals is preferable, so keep a variety of quick/easy foods. We always have a bunch of hardboiled eggs in the office refrigerator – easy protein, you can grab it on the way to a meeting.
You can find some of the stir fries from this excellent stir fry cookbook online. The recipes are fairly straightforward, although some of the ingredients she thinks are readily available are probably readily available on the West Coast, but the most helpful parts are on technique. Anyway, stir fry’s a good, quick, winter-food-friendly choice.
@Punchy: Women’s biathlon was on last night. I saw mens pursuit 3 times, but with half the day showing no Olympics at all.
I will watch every sport, but yeah, this is the worst coverage I can recall.
@Punchy: Since my favorite events are the Alpine skiing ones, I am not unhappy. Alpine skiing and ice skating are almost always early events at the Olympics. Luge was on last night. There are a bunch of biathlon events over the next week or so.
ETA: That being said, NBC has always done a shitty job of covering the Olympics.
Responses can be very individual. My sister has Type 2 diabetes, but she can still eat moderate amounts of potatoes without her blood sugar going haywire. She must completely forget about bread and most cold cereals, though. Asking your buddy would be excellent!
I agree that offering lots of protein and non-starchy veggies should be the core of your meal, and offer some starches — higher fiber is probably better — as options.
Agree with everyone else–ask him what he eats and use that as a basis for your meal planning. An easy thing to do is to roast a chicken. You can eat it for dinner the first night with vegetables and whatever amount of starch he allows. Then you should have some leftover for lunches the following days. I love roasting a chicken because it gives me so many leftovers.
As far as blood sugar management goes, things like potatoes spike blood sugar on their own, but if you add fat (butter or whatever), then that slows down the glucose spike. So something like full fat ice cream is actually better for blood sugar issues than low fat or non fat sorbet, which is just plain sugar without fat to slow down the absorption.
@Omnes Omnibus: It’s amazing how little of the Olympics NBC shows, especially when you consider they have a 24 hour channel dedicated to sports.
I agree, ask your friend about what he can eat. White potatoes are ok but sweet potatoes are a better chose(high in fiber). How about a pot of chilli with lots of beans(fiber). Offer vegatables and salads. Whole wheat spaghetti with meat balls and salad with no bread. If he play dietary roulette then it is his bad.
How about chipped beef on toast?
Ms. Skink in GF Arizona
This looked quite tasty to me, having it tomorrow…
It might be easily passed but this Nutrient Dense cabbage is Low in Fat & Carbs, high in Fibre and Rich in Anti-oxidants… and makes a pretty darn good replacement of bread but it’s low carb, gluten free and grain free!
Cauliflower ‘bread’ Sticks:
1 head of Cauliflower
1/2 cup shredded Cheese
2 Eggs, beaten
1 tsp dried Parsley or Oregano or Basil
2 cloves Garlic, minced
Onion powder, Salt & Pepper to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
2. Cut up Cauliflower and steam till soft.. put on a tea towel and blot, try to get as ‘dry’ as possible.
3. Put in food processor or blend till it’s mashed potato texture.
4. In medium bowl stir Cauliflower, Eggs, Cheese, Garlic & Seasonings
5. Lightly spray baking pan and pat the mixture out.
6. Bake at 450 for 15-20 minutes or until top starts to brown
Cut into bread sticks
@Omnes Omnibus: They showed luge last night? I missed it. I love the Winter Olympics, but I feel like I’m missing some of the traditional events like luge or bobsled. Then I heard luge happened and I missed it. Too much damn figure skating.
Portion size. Male diabetics can have 45 to 60 g of carbs at each meal – roughly 3 to 4 servings of carbs. 4 oz of OJ or soda is one serving, a small portion of rice or mashed potatoes is one serving. People do need some carbs so carb-less meals aren’t necessary.
Meatloaf with mashed cauliflower (my wife makes it roughly 50-50 potatoes/cauliflower to retain a little flavor) & green beans should be good as long as he limits the portion size.
Beans are high in protein but some varieties are also high in carbs so don’t do chilis. Most veggies are good, but tomatoes seem to be bad for carbs also.
@Keith P: Call it by its fucking proper name, shit-on-a-shingle, god damn it..
Bill E Pilgrim
@John from Minneapolis: That’s exactly what I’ve been eating.
Lately mine has been to get a London broil and cut it into rectangles about 3″ x 3/4″ x 3/4″. Use a good pan, put in olive oil, herbs, salt, pepper, then cut up a bunch of onion and mushrooms. It’s amazing how well one of these works for that. I love cutting up things with the chef’s knife, but the good ol mandolin is so easy, and it’s all uniform. Plus you can play fiddle tunes afterward.
I use just a quarter of the cut of meat per person maybe, or less depending on how big it is, so it lasts for several of these. Having it in small rectangles gets more cooked surface per piece, but if you cook it fast and hot you can still leave the inside rare. It’s sort of midway between sliced into ribbons like you would for a stir fry, and cooking an entire steak.
Take everything out afterwards and put in some stock or red wine or both or whatever you want to deglaze and make the sauce, and go to town.
(blast from your past – yeah I still read every day!)
Macadamia Encrusted Lime Cilantro Salmon:
Couple of Limes
* Preheat oven to 425
* Put salmon in baking tray
* Chop macadamia nuts
* Heat butter or oil over med heat
* Add nuts, sautee until lightly golden brown – don’t overcook!
* Top salmon with nuts
* Bake for 10 minutes max, less if you like salmon on the rare side
* Top with chopped cilantro, squeeze 1/2 a lime over the serving
BTW, mashed cauliflower is the bomb. Don’t overboil it. Use a good low sodium broth, puree, add in lots of good garlic, green onions and a bit of cheez. You can also “rice” it, and make a very good stir fry.
@JohnCole, I emailed you the menus I put together for my Dad when he was diagnosed with type 2. Try not to delete the email before you even read it. ;-) It should give you some ideas.
Alton Brown’s basic Brussels sprouts and decent fried fish. Flounde, even a decent tilapia. A little Parmesan on the Brussies and maybe a little Panko on the fish and a spicey salsa (partial to a green salsa). Simple salad along side. Low carb and very flavorful.
Puréed celeriac is a good stand-in for mashed potatoes and tastier as well.
This broccoli slaw has a few carbs, 12g per serving, but that’s less than one slice of bread. It’s damn good; I’ve made it several times. You can make the dressing with a hand blender – I use an immersion blender, which makes it much easier than whisking by hand.
Bacon-wrapped Rainbow Trout
Trout (rainbow best, but any will do. Whole fish butterflied minus head and tail, cleaned. Good butcher should be able to supply!)
* Slice butter into # trout x 3 pieces about 1/8 ” thick
* Sprinkle meat with onion powder
* Place 3 pats of butter in trout equally spaced
* Wrap trout in 2-3 strips bacon. Hold in place with toothpicks.
* Grill on high heat for 3 mins per side
Could probably adapt to oven with little hassle
Ask what he likes and dislikes. Fresh veggies if you can, and get a fresh
container of Orange juice-just in case the blood sugar goes low. Also some hard candy.
Cit them in half longitudinally, paint them with bacon grease and roast them.
@Mason: While I am not usually a fish person, that looks awesome.
@Punchy: @Violet: I paid for a VPN subscription (vyprvpn) just to watch the Olympics and am streaming the excellent coverage from the CBC and BBC. It’s more than I can watch and was absolutely worth the money. They have a free 3 day trial if you want to try it.
If you want to try a tested riced cauliflower (works better than mashed, imo), this one’s tried and true: Riced Cauliflower Pila. Her cookbook – Well Fed – is the most-used cookbook in this Type 2’s household.
@Violet: Luge was on the late coverage. I am getting very little sleep. OTOH, I am happy for Julia Mancuso; I hope she does the tiara on the Super Combined podium. As far as the skating goes, my mom loves it; she was a good skater and really knows the sport. I ain’t going against my mom.
Fixteth. Most butchers aren’t trained in the cleaning and handling of fish. And yes there’s a difference.
pseudonymous in nc
Some things are just not worth the hassle because the portions have to be pretty small — pasta, white rice, often potatoes. But it’ll depend on what your buddy’s tolerance is. My guess is that he’ll have whatever emergency supplies he needs for hypos on hand (candy, protein bars, etc.) so don’t worry about that.
Having a kitchen scale or some measuring cups on hand is possibly going to be more important than the recipes.
I bet you could adapt a potato leek soup recipe using cauliflower instead of potatoes. Cauliflower makes a good potato substitute for mashed / whipped type of recipes. I made this with my 10yo the other day (she did most of the chopping and prepping!):
~ 2 lbs red potatos
Couple of stock cubes (vegetarian in my daughter’s case)
Whatever seasoning you have on hand.
Quarter stick butter
* Preboil ~ 1 lb potatos. Gonna need a 3-4 gal pot
* Drain, mash, blend, mix, whatever, just make it kinda smooth
* Dice leeks (use the green! Just discard the yucky stuff at the very ends and learn how to clean the sand out properly)
* Sautee leeks with butter. (Oil works here too)
* When close to sauteed, add in minced or crushed or chopped garlic, whatever is easy
* Add to potatoes, add in ~ 2 gals water, add stock cubes
* Boil, then simmer for an hr or so
* Blend or mix the concoction such that most of the leek is mushed (i used hand mixer)
* Add remainder of potatoes, diced
* Cook for 20 mins
* Add seasoning (some italian blend / herbs de province / whatever you have on hand, some salt and pepper to taste)
You could probably replace potatoes with fresh cauliflower and not change anything else.
Pollo al forno con limone
Chicken baked in lemon
(Italian-style aromatic salt – which you can use with anything
1/4 cup cooking/coarse salt
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
zest of one lemon
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary (although if you grind it fine, dried will work if you use more of it)
1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
half a bayleaf
Throw everything but the sale into a food processor (or a blender) and grind away, and then add the salt and grind briefly to mix.)
6 bone-in skin-on chicken thighs (because they taste better – legs will work, as will breasts)
1 lemon, thinly sliced, plus the juice of one squeezed lemon
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup of water
Season the chicken with one or two teaspoons of the salt, put it on a plate and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for two hours or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 425F. Take and ovenproof dish and layer the bottom with lemon slices. Heat a pan over moderate heat, add the olive oil and brown the chicken starting skin-side down. Brown on both sides for six minutes. Add the chicken pieces to the overproof dish, skin side up.
Add the lemon juice and the water to the chicken browning pan, boil it until it is reduced to a thick consistency (usually ‘coats a spoon’), scraping up any brown bits. That’s about four minutes total. Pour the sauce over the chicken in the baking dish, put the dish in the oven and bake 15-20 minutes, until the chicken is tender and the juices no longer run red with pierced. Pull it out of the oven, and cover with tented aluminum foil and let it stand for five minutes or so.
Cole, shouldn’t you just have some beefaroni that you can heat up with M1A! exhaust – just for the nostalgia effect? Of course you won’t eat it; that would be cruel.
Fair enough. I get my trout from the local Central Market or HEB (TX chain that owns Central Market) meat counter.
I know these were for John, but thanks guys. Just found out a relative has been diagnosed and has been looking for good recipes to try.
@YellowJournalism: Don’t send my beefaroni idea to anyone about whom you care.
Google “diabetic recipes.” The internet wins again.
Although, diabetics are not all alike and have different restrictions. You might just want to ask him what his are.
@Mason: That’s where most folks get it. But they’re usually kept in separate sections & someone is trained on the fish.
@Yatsuno: Do they all learn to throw it?
After a few drinks, you’re gonna decide, for nostalgia’s sake, to have nothing but MREs.
Is there a hospital or decent medical clinic in town? Bet they have scads of pamphlets or booklets of recipes.
If not, the college’s infirmary/medical center may have some (or can direct you as to where in town to get them).
@NotMax: Cassidy’s advice at the start was right, Ask the dude.
Susan K of the tech support
I have never gotten around to making mashed cauliflower, but thanks to the folks at Cooks Illustrated (this California soul called them “the east coast guys” because one of their taco recipes was ZOMG too funny), I have a new relationship with that food.
Clear all the green leafy bits. Cut head oncauliflower into 8 wedges (each narrow edge is part of the cauliflower core)
Preheat oven to 475°
Cookie sheet. Lined w foil. Lay 8 wedges upon it. Kosher salt, sprinkled. drizzle olive oil (2 T). Flip cauliflower, repeat w moar salt and another 2T OO.
Cover w moar foil to seal. In oven for 10 mins. To steam, so they say.
Remove top foil. Then continue in oven on same side for anther 8-12 mins, till ZOMG awesome brown on bottom. Flip those wedges. Repeat another 8-12 mins. Browned in the other side.
Give thanks to that French dude named maillard who talked of the reaction foods have in circumstances like these and the favors which emerge.
THIS WILL CHANGE YOUR RELATIONSHIP TO CAULIFLOWER.
Well, if you are anything like me.
@Susan K of the tech support: Ooo, I’ve done something like that. I’ll have to try the covered/steam bit first. I usually finish with a grating of Parmesan and some fresh ground pepper. It’s great.
Diabetic folks vary. Some go low carb; some are on insulin or regular doses of blood sugar meds so that they really need to eat more or less like normal people. Asking is best, especially because if you go super-low-carb, well, it can make it seem like you’ve just turned them into their medical issue, if you see what I’m saying.
But meatloaf is good and tasty; oven roasted potatoes are a bit better than mashed (mashed release their sugars really fast, whereas more-whole potatoes release them *somewhat* slower – but potatoes are kind of like nature’s homemade white bread). Other than that – a good healthy set of not-too-starchy veggies is never bad for anyone. (Unless, you know, it’s bad for someone. Which I suppose is possible, especially after I said “never bad for anyone”. Reality is a stone cold bitch sometimes, ain’t it?)
@YellowJournalism: Net has loads of sites with diabetic recipes. As a type 1 that uses an insulin pump I agree with the people who tell you that portion control and carb counting is the key to sugar level control .when reading labels you check the total carbs not just sugar.,as all carbs will convert to sugar.
So get you a good carb counting list that gives you the number of carbs and serving size of many foods, you can even get the count for fast food and cafe foods. Starchy foods are ok as long as you control portion size
@NotMax: Internet is loaded with recipe sites that include diabetic recipes.
@Susan K of the tech support:
Grilling cauliflower works also. A little OO or what I use, sesame seed oil, rubbed on the cut up pieces and then on the grill they go. A little salt and pepper and you are good to go. I hate brussel sprouts but cooked this way they aren’t all bad. So is zucchini or most any small squash.
Roast some veggies. It’s easy, lazy and delicious. Instead of making mashed cauliflower (too much work), get some good fresh extra virgin olive oil (2012-2013 California harvest) and toss with cauliflower and nutmeg. Roast at 450 degrees for 20-30 minutes (until it starts to brown a bit on the edges – for me I like something between brown and char).
If you want to make a wonderful winter soup, roast cauliflower and quartered onions as above, then puree with chicken stock and whole milk. Make sure that you get some good brown on roasting the cauliflower and the onions – it adds some umami & sweetness. Don’t forget the nutmeg, but be judicious. Too much can be way too much, but just a bit makes it magic.
@Botsplainer: I’ll eat brussel sprouts every which way but raw. I suppose even raw if you shaved them fine and put them in a salad.
One more…since you mentioned green beans. Get some fresh green beans, tip them and blanch them and put them in an ice-water bath. Then make a vinaigrette with lots of dijon mustard (assuming that you can get it home and find it again and a bit of fresh lemon juice and good EVOO. Dry the beans on a towel and toss them with the vinaigrette. This will be your go-to green bean recipe, I promise. Toasted sesame seeds are a nice addition too, blah ones if you are feeling like being fancy.
Anything you can do with a potato, you can do with a sweet potato, and it should be okay for a diabetic as long as you don’t do something stupid like add brown sugar. Mashed sweet potato with lots of butter tastes awesome.
Cheryl from Maryland
My husband went from a 9.5 Hemoglobin A1C (diabetic) to a 5.5 Hemoglobin A1C (normal) in a year following these rules.
1) No bread; 2) No potatoes; 3) No rice; 4) Drink only water; 5) Eat yogurt every day; 6) Avoid proteins which include binders (meatloaf, things dipped in flour, etc.); 7) Snacks either low fat part skim cheese sticks or unsalted nuts (peanuts; pistachios; tamari almonds). So, meals like roast chicken with parsnips and carrots, grilled flank steak with avocado and pink beans, shrimp with avocado and salad, crab louis (crab with salad and hard boiled egg). Lunch is often tuna salad without bread but lettuce.
If you want something like potatoes, roast parsnips tossed in olive oil and rosemary, mashed sweet potatoes, or follow all of the recipes above for mashed cauliflower. The cauliflower really is good; his doctor told me okay to add butter and cream, so it is delicious.
He was looking at insulin shots, and the doctor gave him time to get it together. I have never seen a doctor so happy. My husband also lost 30 pounds in a year without exercise (he tore a tendon in his foot that year as well).
Douglas Wayne Wieboldt
@drkrick: Sweet potatoes (preferably small) are usually OK if they are stable – low glycemic index, tasty and filled with nice vitamins and minerals… Pairs well with Steak, Pork or Chicken! A nice salad, and fruit & cheese for dessert…
If they are having problems managing sugar, just think High Protein and you can’t go wrong.
if you’re making meatloaf, you’re halfway to meatballs. so, make a little extra loaf stuff, roll em up, fry em up, bake to finish.
get a ham. lasts forever, and everyone loves ham.
Check out the low carb sites for many excellent recipes, most of which will be very good for diabetics.
@Cheryl from Maryland: That sounds like a smart eating plan. What does he do for breakfast?
Someone mentioned agave – agave is sugar. I don’t know why it has a reputation for being fine for diabetics, but it isn’t. It’s just a different kind of sugar, but sugar nonetheless. Stevia is fine healthwise, but has a strong aftertaste that some people don’t like.
That recipe for slow cooker pork paprikaah from Serious Eats is the bomb. Just don’t have the pasta.