Cooking for Diabetic Guests

OK, you know the theory behind the diabetic diet and eating healthy. So, what do you do when you have a diabetic guest coming over?

Here are some quick and easy tips for Cooking for Diabetic Guests!

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What to Cook?

  • Make at least one dish with vegetables. It could be the main dish, a side dish, a salad, or just some roasted vegetables. Just avoid the starchy veggies (potato, yam, etc) for this dish.
  • Make at least one dish with a healthy protein. It helps to know what your guest can eat in terms of protein and of course, it also depends on what you can cook with! If you are unsure of their requirements, try to include a variety of sources.
  • Choose good carbs – whole grains or whole grain flours or vegetables. You could serve sweet potatoes, cauliflower “rice”, brown rice, quinoa, whole-wheat rotis, mixed grain rotis, millet rotis, whole grain breads, tortillas, or noodles.
  • Make a Non-Carb based dessert. If you’re up for making dessert, try something that is based on a vegetable (carrot halwa, carrot cake, bottle-gourd kheer, pumpkin pie, etc) or on a protein ( silken tofu based cheesecakes, mung bean payasa, chickpea flour laddoo etc). And keep the portion sizes as small as possible!
  • Make a savoury drink or serve the sweet drink and sweetener separately. Choose either savoury drinks such as buttermilk, jal-jeera, and salted lime soda over sweet drinks. If you have to offer sweet drinks serve the sweetener separately, so that it can be added as per preference. Keep the sodas and fruit juices away!
  • Avoid refined flours. There’s not much nutrition left in them and they tend to spike blood sugar levels, it’s a lose-lose situation.
  • Avoid refined sugars and sweeteners in the main course. Leave out the sugar, honey, and jaggery in non-dessert dishes, or if it has to be put in, do mention which dish has what sweetener when you set out your table so that your guest knows what to expect. In desserts try to use sweeteners other than refined sugar where possible.
  • Cook with healthy fats. Whether you are using avocados, coconuts, olives, olive oil, canola oil, safflower oil or any other healthy fat make sure you are using them in small quantities. Don’t deep fry things unless you absolutely have to, and then make sure there’s an alternative for your guest!

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How to serve?

  • Don’t plonk a pre-filled plate in front of your guest! It’s great that you’ve made a whole array of food, now just allow your guest to pick and choose what they want to eat.
  • Encourage, don’t compel! It may be part of your sense of hospitality and generosity to encourage your guest to have more, or try more dishes, but these days with so many different dietary requirements, allergies, and other concerns, it’s best to leave it up to your guest to decide when they’ve had their fill!

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You could follow these tips even when you’re cooking for guests whose dietary preferences you don’t know. Sometimes people don’t like to bother their hosts with their dietary requirements and so they may not tell you they are diabetic, or trying to lose weight. This is just an easy way to try to ensure that they have something they can eat without feeling uncomfortable.

Now, who’s up for Diabetic-Friendly Food Week? Starting today!

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