Of all of the benefits of computers and a good internet connection, perhaps the best one is access to information. In the past, the distressing diagnosis of a new condition meant relying on a doctor or nurse for information, leaving you in the dark if they were not available. Now, with just the click of a mouse or the tap of a touch screen, detailed information and help is available whenever you need it.
This can be especially helpful if your condition is something that needs attention on a daily basis. Diabetes, for example, requires informed action every day and every time you open the refrigerator.
If you were born with Type 1 diabetes, you may be used to dealing with monitoring blood sugar and managing insulin, but if you have developed Type 2 diabetes, or are living with someone who has recently been diagnosed with either type, things can be a bit confusing. What can you eat? What is dangerous? Where can you find diabetes recipes? Can food help manage blood sugar, and how can you get all of the nutrition you need daily?
One of the best places to start for answers to these questions and a multitude of diabetes recipes is Pinterest. This online tool functions as a sort of bulletin board for websites. There are many Pinterest boards that specialize in diabetes recipes. Here are a few of our favorites.
Diabetic Living is a Pinterest board created by Better Homes and Gardens magazine. This is a great collection of diabetes recipes with over 2,400 pins in categories like Healthy Casseroles, Diabetic Snacks, and Healthy Eating. The Healthy Eating board is especially informative, offering tips and education on ways to improve your health with articles like “25 Power Foods For Diabetes” and “7 Healthy Cooking Methods For Diabetes.” This Pinterest board has something for all diabetic patients, including kids.
This Pinterest board from the Mr. Food test kitchen has 13,735 followers, with good reason. There is something for everyone on this page! For busy families, there is a whole section on healthy slow cooker recipes. For those with a sweet tooth there are apple-caramel crunch bars and apple hand pies right along with a board on light cakes and a recipe for chocolate chip cookies. There is pasta, pies, and pancakes. The choices are nearly endless!
The board on this list with the largest group of followers by far is Diabetic Connect. This Pinterest board offers its 16,750+ followers support, advice, and diabetes recipes. Whether you are newly diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes or have been managing Type 1 diabetes since childhood, Diabetic Connect is a great place to find support. Diabetic Connect also has a website that has active and involved forums and chatrooms to make connections with other diabetic patients who need support or have “been there, done that.”
Other websites with diabetes recipes
Pinterest is not the only place online to find diabetes recipes and nutritional guidelines that support people with diabetes. Another great site is Recipes for Healthy Living. This website not only gives great recipes for budget cooking and vegetarians, but it also offers one-day meal plans and diabetes recipes from featured cookbooks. With tools to calculate how many calories you should be consuming and food and kitchen tips, this site is also a great place to start if you are brand-new to cooking in general. Sign up for the e-newsletter to get new recipes, eating plans, videos, and more delivered directly to your inbox.
The Food Network is also getting involved in educating their viewers on eating with diabetes. Diabetes recipes from chefs such as Ina Garten, Claire Robinson, and Giada De Laurentiis make it delicious to cook for diabetes. If you are a foodie, diabetes doesn’t mean giving up delicious, gourmet meals. With a few tweaks and some mindful preparations, you can still enjoy the foods you love.
Once you know the general guidelines for eating with diabetes, the sites above can be very helpful in managing this condition without sacrificing good nutrition and taste. Here are some tips.
- Drink your coffee. A study from Harvard found that those who increased their coffee consumption by more than one small cup of black caffeinated coffee cut their risk of Type 2 diabetes by 11%. Be warned, though: adding milk and sugar negates the effect, and adults who drink more than 400 mg of caffeine a day run the risk of shortening their life span.
- Eat to lose the “sugar belly.” Products containing fructose (as in high-fructose corn syrup) contribute to weight gain around the middle. People with an “apple” shape store fat around their internal organs, and this has a high correlation to insulin resistance and diabetes. Cut out the added sugar, and watch your waistline shrink.
- Choose high fiber, complex carbohydrates over highly refined simple carbohydrates. Slow-release carbs like the kind found in brown rice (instead of white) maintain a steady blood sugar level and provide long-lasting energy. They are digested more slowly and allow the body time to absorb all of the nutrients it needs. Plus you stay fuller longer, which helps manage appetite and weight gain.
- Eat smart sweets. You don’t have to give up sugar completely. By eating strategically (i.e., not eating bread when you know you’ll want dessert) and monitoring the amount of sweets you eat throughout the day you will be able to include treats in your diet. Slowing down and eating mindfully, savoring each bite, will also help you to avoid eating too many sweets in one sitting. And be careful with artificial sweeteners. Some studies have shown that artificial sweeteners increase weight gain, and there can be other harmful side effects, too.
- Eat regularly. Don’t skip meals or snacks to lose weight. Blood sugar fluctuations can be harmful and, in some extreme cases, deadly. Keep a food diary to monitor what you eat and when and to note any reactions to food (or feelings before eating). Keeping a diary does not have to last forever, but it can be a helpful tool early in your diagnosis.
A diabetes diagnosis does not have to mean the end of eating deliciously. What are your go-to websites for diabetes recipes and tips for eating with the condition?
Image by pallavi_damera via Flickr