I never dreamed that I would someday be writing about recipes, not to mention healthy recipes. As a former cattle rancher, my diet over the years has been of the meat and potatoes genre. To me, a recipe was simple: Only turn a steak one time when grilling. Then along came my diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes, and things changed. Suddenly I was faced with a radical change in the foods that I now needed to consume. OK, I had been told to watch my cholesterol, and I suppose I made a half-hearted attempt. Now, however, a degree of seriousness now pervaded my consideration of dietary choices.
Now I was faced with the prospect of losing some of my favorite foods: French Fries/Steak Fries, Mac and Cheese and other casseroles, and even my old stand by favorite succotash (corn and lima beans) might even need a second look. Enter dietary swaps or dietary trades. These are food items that you may substitute for old favorites, and hopefully provide a reasonable trade for your previously enjoyed culinary delights.
Those who find themselves in the same situation as I do may find the following descriptions of dietary trades beneficial.
French Fries Trade-off:
French fries, God love ’em, are capable of raising your blood sugar higher and faster than straight glucose ingredients are. I have found that sweet potatoes, when prepared properly, make a very tasty substitute. First, peel the sweet potato. Then slice it just as you would if slicing a white potato into steak fry shapes. Spray with a Pam or similar virgin olive oil spray, or lightly toss in virgin olive oil. Bake at 425 degrees for about 20 minutes, turning the pieces over half way through. Experiment with different seasonings.
Lima beans and whole kernel corn mixed with 2/3 limas and 1/3 corn has always been my favorite “vegetable”. In and of itself, this side dish is really OK, however I have experimented with a substitute that is even more in line with diabetes driven diets. The corn may be replaced with a sautéed summer squash. Dice the squash into small pieces, and sauté with your choice of seasonings. If you are a pepper person, add diced yellow pepper as well. The limas may be replaced with the (in)famous soybean. I’ve never liked soybeans, based solely on my rejection of soy substitute meats. Sorry, my old cattle ranching days rearing its ugly head, I guess! Anyway, soybeans contain fewer carbs and more protein than your old buddy lima beans. This mixture is actually quite tasty, and again experiment with your seasonings. By the way, this dish really looks very similar in color to your succotash.
Mac & Cheese Trade-off:
You have to be kidding, right? A substitute for Mac & Cheese, that staple of the table? This was perhaps the one trade-off that I did not want to even try. Ready for this? Replace half or all of the macaroni with cauliflower. You heard me, cauliflower. Steam the cauliflower and then chop it up into small pieces. Using a low fat mac & cheese recipe, replace half or all of the macaroni with the prepared cauliflower. Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until the top starts to brown slightly. Season with salt and pepper or salt substitute, and then add parmesan cheese when ready to serve. Play around with this, and you might find like I have that this is really a delicious dish. Throw a little drained tuna in before baking to make a complete main dish casserole.
I admit I like to cook. My new dietary guidelines have pushed me in the exploration of alternate seasonings as well as alternate food items. If you are on a diabetic driven diet, try these recipes. I can vouch for each one.