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How to Prepare Healthy Diabetic Meals Quickly

written by: Tricia Edgar • edited by: Diana Cooper • updated: 3/21/2011

Preparing healthy diabetic meals quickly can seem daunting. The key is to stock your pantry and your fridge with foods that work for diabetes. Look for low carbohydrate and low glycemic food choices that incorporate plenty of fresh vegetables.

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    How to Prepare Healthy Diabetic Meals Quickly

    Fast, easy and good on the blood sugar? Keeping blood glucose values in check and eating right can be hard at the best of times, but when you are trying to make a fast meal it can seem impossible. The key to eating well with diabetes is to stock the pantry with items that work for your diet.

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    Stock a Pantry for Healthy Diabetic Meals

    Begin your meal preparation as you get your groceries. Stock the pantry with foods that are low in carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are found in grains, fruit and many other types of food. Since carbohydrates raise your blood sugar, eating food choices that are lower in carbohydrates is a sensible choice for people with diabetes. However, diabetics who have high cholesterol or kidney disease should be wary of low-carbohydrate choices that are high in saturated fat or protein. With the exception of the root vegetables, most vegetables are excellent for your health and contain few carbohydrates. Calorie King has a good outline of the carbohydrate counts of different fruits and vegetables.

    The glycemic index is also a consideration for people with diabetes. This index measures the relative impact that a carbohydrate has on someone’s blood glucose values. Carbohydrates differ in their impact. When choosing carbohydrate-rich foods, turn to foods that are lower-glycemic, such as squash and yam.

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    Healthy Breakfast Ideas That Are Ready Quickly

    Breakfast can be a hurried meal, but it is important to start the day with a hearty breakfast to avoid eating too much in the middle of the day. A fruit smoothie is easy to prepare the night before. Place low-carbohydrate vegetables like celery and kale in a blender with some unsweetened yogurt. Add sweet fruit like blueberries, and add low-carbohydrate fruits like strawberries and raspberries. The next morning, blend it all together.

    Boiled eggs keep well in the fridge overnight. They are a very low-carbohydrate start to the morning. If your cholesterol levels are high, go easy on the number of eggs you eat.

    Most breakfast cereals act very rapidly on the blood sugar, causing spikes and crashes. Instead, go for whole grain hot cereals that contain high amounts of fiber and flax. These cook in a matter of minutes on the stove top.

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    Healthy Diabetic Lunch Ideas

    If you love sandwiches, they are certainly a fast lunch option. However, white bread can be terrible for blood glucose values. Look for whole grain, high fiber breads that have under 20 grams of total carbohydrates per slice. Remember that fiber values above 2 grams should be deducted from the total amount of fiber. Add a protein-based spread to the sandwich.

    Salads and fruit salads are simple to prepare the night before and can even come from leftovers from the day before. Just store the salad in the fridge without dressing. Add sliced meat and nuts. Avoid adding dried fruit to the salad. If you’re having a fruit salad, avoid fruit salads that contain syrups and avoid large quantities of high-glycemic fruits like pineapples, bananas and mangoes.

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    Prepare a Healthy Dinner Quickly

    A traditional meat and potatoes diet does not work for people with diabetes. However, if you love meat and potatoes, you can easily move to a meat and steamed vegetable diet. This is very low in carbohydrates. Lean, pre-cooked meats are a good choice for a meal on the run.

    If you feel the need to have more carbohydrates, microwave a sweet potato or yam. These are quite low-glycemic, which means that they do not spike your blood sugar. You can also add a slice of whole grain, high fiber toast.

    A stir fry with fresh vegetables, tofu or meat is an excellent and fast choice for dinner. Stir fries are versatile and can be combined with sauces from many different parts of the world. Add a Thai sauce one night and an Indian curry the next.

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    Healthy Diabetic Snack Ideas

    If you are on a set dose of insulin or on pills, you need to eat a snack between meals to make sure that your blood glucose does not go too low. You also need to eat frequently if your blood glucose values tend to spike and then drop precipitously after eating, a condition called reactive hypoglycemia. These snacks should include a protein and fat and a carbohydrate. The carbohydrate raises your blood glucose and the fat helps the body use the carbohydrate slowly, preventing a fast rise in blood glucose.

    Good snacks for people with diabetes include unsweetened yogurt, a piece of fruit and a small handful of nuts, or half a whole grain, high fiber sandwich or crackers with a protein-based spread.

    It can be hard to prepare healthy diabetic meals quickly. Add in specific food requirements and you have a recipe for stress at meal time. Create a pantry that is full of healthy options, and meal times become quicker and easier.

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    References

    Calorie King. http://www.calorieking.com/

    The Home of the Glycemic Index. What is the Glycemic Index? http://www.glycemicindex.com/