Living with diabetes: 11 tricks for eating more veggies at supper

Dinner can be delicious without wreaking havoc on your blood sugar. Here are 11 tricks to getting more veggies into your evening meal – an important part of eating healthy especially if you have diabetes.

Living with diabetes: 11 tricks for eating more veggies at supper

1. Start with a simple salad

By starting with a salad you'll eat less of the main meal and take in more vegetables to boot.

  • Dress it with a splash of vinegar, lemon juice or an olive oil vinaigrette – not a creamy dressing.

2. Designate a "veggie of the week"

Pick one veggie that you'll use in all meals for the week.

  • If it's bok choy, add a handful to soup (homemade or canned) on Monday; sauté it with garlic and five millilitres (one teaspoon) olive oil on Tuesday; chop it small and add to spaghetti sauce on Wednesday; add it to a stir-fry on Thursday, and try it on pizza on Friday.

3. Go meatless once a week

You'll get more fibre and far less saturated fat.

  • Instead of meat lasagna, for instance, have vegetable lasagna using eggplant or a mix of veggies such as broccoli, carrots, peppers, mushrooms and zucchini.

4. Fill half your plate with veggies

If you want to see a nice full plate in front of you, fill half of it with non-starchy veggies. That means no potatoes!

  • Split the other half between a protein, such as roasted chicken, and a starch, such as 125 grams (a half cup) of brown rice. That will give you two servings of vegetables.

5. Serve the meal on a bed of greens

Simply steam some spinach, kale or Swiss chard on the stove, then put it on your plate and place your fish or chicken on top.

  • When you tire of dark leafy greens, get creative and make your "bed" of steamed snow peas, sugar snap peas or pea sprouts.

6. Eat a main dish salad weekly

Give it the works and go nuts with vegetables!

  • Keep it interesting by trying new ingredients, such as spicy hearts of palm or artichoke hearts from a can; sweet and juicy raw jicama slices; steamed broccoflower heads; nutty bean sprouts or sautéed varieties of exotic mushrooms.
  • Remember to include a protein, such as beans or grilled chicken breast.

7. Savour the sweetness of roasting

Bring out the sweetness of vegetables such as eggplant, onions, peppers, zucchini and summer squash by brushing them with olive oil, sprinkling with salt and pepper and roasting in a 200°C (400°F) oven until soft.

  • On the grill, lay firm vegetables such as eggplant, onions and peppers directly on the grill for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • For softer or smaller vegetables like sliced zucchini, tomatoes and carrots, use a metal grilling basket and grill for six to eight minutes.

8. Use veggies as fillers

Don't confine vegetables to the side of your plate. They can be used to add "volume".

  • Throw a couple of handfuls of frozen peas and carrots into your rice or couscous during the last five minutes of cooking.
  • Add chopped onions and spinach to meatloaf or hamburgers made with lean beef.
  • Stir chopped peppers and mushrooms into canned or bottled spaghetti sauce.

9. Steam veggies in broth

Instead of adding water to your steamer or pot, add chicken or vegetable broth.

  • You'll add flavour without the fat.

10. Save the water from steaming

After steaming your vegetables, pour the water into a covered jar and keep it in the fridge or freezer to use for broth the next time you make soup.

  • The antioxidants from vegetables help stave off complications from diabetes, including problems with kidneys and eyes.

11. Select sweet potatoes

Choose sweet potatoes over white; sweet potatoes raise blood sugar less than white ones do. Also, be sure to eat the skin for its fibre content.

These 11 tricks can help you eat more veggies at dinner – giving you a better foundation for battling diabetes.

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