2. Make vegetables the star of your bowl
To make your bowl more diabetes-friendly, just add color – from veg, that is.
Specifically, focusing your pasta dish on non-starchy, naturally low-calorie vegetables increases the amount of food and adds vitamins and minerals, says Smithson.
“Non-starchy vegetables are very high in fiber and contain very little carbohydrate, which means less of an effect on blood sugar,” says Anderson-Haynes. She recommends filling about half of your plate or bowl with options like kale, collard greens, arugula, broccoli, asparagus, cucumber, spinach, carrots, or mushrooms.
3. Skip the creamy sauce in favor of an oil or tomato based sauce
Like other “white” foods to replace in your diet (think: white bread, white rice and yes, white pasta), ditch the white sauce when cooking a meal more suitable for diabetes.
As Anderson-Haynes notes, traditional cream-based sauces tend to contain more saturated fat and sodium than other options. “People with diabetes have a higher risk of heart disease, so choosing heart-healthy foods that are low in sodium and fat is imperative,” she says. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), foods high in saturated fat can increase cholesterol levels in the blood, which can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. Meanwhile, too much sodium in your diet can increase your risk for high blood pressure – one of the main risk factors for heart disease, notes the AHA.
Smithson suggests choosing sauces made with olive oil and fresh garlic, both of which offer potential heart health benefits.
Olive oil, for example, contains a type of healthy fat known as monounsaturated fat. This type of fat can help lower cholesterol, a waxy substance that is beneficial in small amounts, when traded for less healthy fat sources like butter, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
These effects are supported by research. For example, a study of nearly 100,000 healthy men and women found an association between replacing a tablespoon (tbsp) of butter or margarine with an equal amount of oil. olive and a 5-7% lower risk of heart disease after four years. Although drawn from a large number of participants, the study relied on self-reported questionnaires, which can leave room for error. The results were published in the March 2020 issue of the journal. Circulation.
Meanwhile, research suggests that allicin, a natural compound in garlic with antioxidant properties, may have a positive effect on blood sugar. A review published in September 2017 in the journal Food and Nutrition Research found that a supplement form of the herb significantly reduced fasting blood sugar within one to two weeks. Researchers looked at nine randomized controlled trials involving a total of 768 people with type 2 diabetes who took between 0.05g and 1.5g of garlic. Most of the trials included fewer than 80 participants and lasted only 12 weeks. That said, research has looked at the daily use of garlic supplements, finding better blood sugar control in two weeks, as well as 24 weeks in people with type 2 diabetes. It remains to be seen if any. Similar results apply to raw garlic consumed with an occasional bowl of pasta.
Remember: Olive oil provides healthy fats, but it’s still high in calories (124 calories per tablespoon), so practice portion control. Use half a cup of olive oil and 4 to 5 cloves of garlic per pound of cooked pasta, suggests Smithson. Divide the sauce evenly between each serving of pasta (typically one-third of a cup of cooked noodles equals 1 serving, according to Smithson).
Red pasta sauces like marinara or classic tomato are other great options, “because they are overall lower in fat and calories” than cream-based sauces, explains Jana Mowrer, RDN, MPH, CDCES , a nutritionist based in Fresno, Calif. Just stick to a serving of one-half to three-quarters of a cup, she adds.
When buying a packaged red sauce, choose a jar that has no added sugar and ideally no more than 15g of carbohydrate and 140 milligrams (mg) of sodium per half-cup serving, says Mowrer.
4. Experiment with vegetarian noodles
If you can’t handle the wheat, or want to cut down on carbohydrates in your pasta dish even more, try making noodles from vegetables. If you don’t have a spiralizer or mandolin – two kitchen utensils used to spiral produce by hand – you can use a vegetable peeler. Simply take the peeled vegetable strips and place them in boiling water for 20 seconds, then transfer the noodles to a bowl of ice cream, Smithson says. “To make preparation easier, it’s good to buy veggie spiral noodles,” she adds.
As long as they’re not made from squash or sweet potatoes, which are starchy, vegetable-based spirals will be the lowest-carb option, says Smithson. Plus, vegetarian noodles are generally lower in calories, while providing plenty of vitamins and minerals.
A cup of cooked zucchini spirals, for example, only has 27 calories and 5g of carbohydrate, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), while a cup of cooked whole grain spaghetti noodles from the Barilla brand. contains 180 calories and 39 g of crabs.
That same serving of zucchini also offers 23.2 mg of vitamin C, making it a great source, and 476 mg of potassium, making it a good source.
Peppers, broccoli, carrots, and beets are other good low-carb vegetarian noodle options.
RELATED: 7 fruits and vegetables you can spiralize
5. Practice portion control
Paying attention to portion sizes is essential for enjoying pasta when managing type 2 diabetes. “The goal is to keep blood sugar levels from rising too much,” says Mowrer.
Portions of food – especially in restaurants – are much larger today than they were 20 years ago, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Numerous studies have shown that people eat more food when they are given larger portions and that they use more food when they have larger serving bowls and spoons, note the authors of one article. research published in Advances in Nutrition. With these increasing portions, more carbohydrates and calories.
“When consuming pasta, it’s important to include other food groups and control portions, aiming for about a quarter of carbohydrate, half a veg and a quarter of lean protein on your plate per meal. », Explains Mowrer. The CDC recommends using a 9-inch dish (about the length of a commercial envelope) to take the guesswork out of portion control. Some companies, like Livliga, sell plates and bowls that indicate the ideal amounts of certain foods to eat for a given meal.
The exact number of carbohydrates to aim for depends on factors such as age, gender, activity level, and any medications you’re taking, explains Mowrer. As a rule of thumb, she recommends that people with diabetes aim for 30 to 60g of carbohydrate per meal. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends working with your CDCES to determine your carbohydrate goal.
6. Introduce lean protein
By combining a source of protein with a high-carbohydrate dish like pasta, you can prevent a rapid spike in blood sugar (and then a crash), says Smithson. This is because proteins are slower to digest than carbohydrates.
Plus, adding protein will make your pasta more satisfying, which can keep you from overloading your plate with carbohydrates, says Anderson-Haynes.
Go for a lean protein source like grilled skinless chicken, ground turkey, or tofu. These foods tend to contain less saturated fat and sodium than red meat or processed meats like bacon, according to the ADA.
RELATED: The Best and Worst Foods to Eat on a Type 2 Diabetes Diet
seven. Take it easy on the cheese
Pasta and cheese form a dynamic duo. And while people with diabetes don’t have to say goodbye to this delicious ingredient, moderation and choosing the right type are two keys to keeping your bowl healthy.
Performing portion control here may be an adjustment. Believe it or not, a single serving of cheese is only 1 oz, which is about the length of your thumb from tip to base, according to the CDC. Do your best to go for that inch-sized portion, advises Mowrer.
When it comes to diabetes-friendly cheeses, choose white cheeses like mozzarella or parmesan, which are lower in fat and lower in calories than other options. Mowrer suggests grating them to increase portion sizes. One ounce of low-fat, partially-skimmed mozzarella, for example, contains 70 calories and 4 g of fat (2.5 g of saturated fat), according to the USDA.
Limit or avoid fatty cheeses like ricotta. One ounce of Hyvee brand whole ricotta contains about 50 calories and 3.5g of fat, of which 2.25g is saturated fat, according to the USDA.
Low-fat and low-fat cheeses can also be good options. A “light” version of ricotta, for example, offers 30 calories and just 1.5g of fat (1g of saturated fat).