Diabetes – Making Your Carbs Count!
Over 9 million Canadians are living with diabetes or prediabetes. Eating well and being physically active help many people manage or prevent diabetes. Let’s take a closer look at carbohydrates – the nutrient in many foods that influences our blood sugar levels.
Carbohydrates provide energy and raise blood sugar levels. Carbohydrates are found in many foods including grain products, vegetables and fruits, milk and alternatives, meat alternatives (beans and lentils), and snack foods. People living with diabetes can still eat foods that contain carbohydrates. With that being said, it is important to pay attention to the amount and type of carbohydrates you eat. The right amount and type of carbohydrate for each person depends on medications, body size and level of physical activity.
Carbohydrates consist of starch, sugar and fibre. Fibre does not raise your blood sugar level, but starch and sugar do.
Sugar can be added to food by a food manufacturer, such as in a candy bar, or can be found naturally in foods such as fruit and milk. The World Health Organization recommends limiting added sugars (free sugars) to no more than 5% of calories – that’s about 25g or the equivalent of 6 teaspoons of sugar. In addition to sugar added in food preparation or by a food manufacturer, other examples of added sugars include maple syrup, molasses, brown sugar, white sugar and honey. When baking or preparing foods, using dried fruit, bananas or fruit purees, spices like nutmeg and cinnamon, and vanilla or almond extracts can add sweetness naturally and replace sugar.
Starches are the type of carbohydrate found in grains (cereals, rice, pasta), some vegetables (corn, potatoes) and legumes (lentils, beans). Starches cause blood sugar levels to rise, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t eat them.
Fibre does not raise your blood sugar level. The two types of fibre include insoluble and soluble. For people with diabetes, soluble fibre may help manage blood sugar levels as it helps slow the sugar being absorbed into your blood. Soluble fibre is found in foods such as fruits and vegetables, legumes, barley, and oats. Insoluble fibre helps promote regularity and a healthy digestive system. The Canadian Diabetes Association recommends that people with diabetes consume 25-50 g of fibre/day. Adding more fibre to your diet can be as easy as choosing whole vegetables and fruit instead of juice, choosing a high fibre cereal with at least 4 grams of fibre per serving, adding pulses (lentils, beans) to your recipes, and incorporating nuts and seeds into your snacks.
If you have diabetes, eating regularly throughout the day is important for managing blood sugar levels. It is recommended that you eat three balanced meals each day at regular times, and to space meals no more than six hours apart. A healthy plate for a meal should have at least two different vegetables making up half of the plate, with one quarter of the plate made up of grains and starches, and the other quarter being a meat or meat alternative. In addition to this healthy plate, one serving of milk and alternatives and one serving of fruit completes the meal.
Here’s a delicious and diabetes-friendly meal idea to inspire you to try something new with chickpeas. It is sure to be a new favourite!
Geneviève Ledoux is a Registered Dietitian with Provigo Le Marché in Kirkland.
Contact Geneviève Ledoux by phone at 514-826-4280 or by email at Genevieve.email@example.com
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Take advantage of it! We deliver every Tuesday from 10am to 6pm. For more information, please contact the customer service at Provigo Le Marché Kirkland: 514-426-3005.
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½ cup (125 mL) PC Memories of Marrakech Whole Wheat Couscous
1 can (540 mL) PC Organics Chickpeas, rinsed and drained
¼ cup (50 mL) PC Sliced Sweet Roasted Red Peppers , drained
2 green onions, chopped
¼ cup (50 mL) roughly chopped fresh mint
Juice of 1 lemon
1 egg white
2 tbsp (25 mL) PC Blue Menu Just Almonds Almond Butter – Smooth
6 PC Thins Whole Grain Round White Buns
1 large tomato, sliced
4 leaves lettuce
- Place couscous in heatproof bowl or small saucepan. Cover with 1/2 cup (125 mL) boiling water. Cover and let stand for 10 minutes.
- Place chickpeas, red peppers, green onions, mint, lemon juice, egg white and almond butter in food processor. Pulse on and off until mixture is blended but still chunky, scraping downside of bowl as necessary. Scrape mixture into large bowl.
- Uncover couscous and fluff with a fork. Add to chickpea mixture and mix well. Divide into 6equal portions. Form each portion into a patty 5-inches (12 cm) across and 1/4 inch (5 mm) thick.
- Heat large nonstick frying pan over medium heat. In batches, cook falafel patties for 5minutes per side or until crisp and starting to brown. Serve on buns with tomato and lettuce. Serve with PC Blue Menu Raita, if desired.
Chef’s tip: For a delicious sauce alternative to PC Blue Menu Raita, place 1 cup (250 mL) PC All Natural 1% Yogurt in a sieve lined with a paper coffee filter. Place over bowl. Place in refrigerator to drain overnight. Discard liquid. Transfer drained yogurt to a bowl; stir in 1 tsp (5 mL) PC Blue Menu Smooth Almond Butter, 1 tsp (5 mL) PC Louisiana Hot Sauce and a pinch of salt.
Serves 6. Per serving: Calories 420, Fat 7g, Carbohydrate 72g, Fibre 9 g, Protein 17g
Recipe source: www.pc.ca