As a diabetic, it is important to always consider a proper diet and the right foods. With diabetes, different foods cause different reactions in the body, so keeping an eye on carbs and calories is a constant requirement. It isn’t just when you go out to a restaurant, it is every kind of food that gets tossed in the old cakehole.
For me, I have a lot more leeway than I did in May at the time of my diagnosis. Where my glucose was 370 and my cholesterol was 207, in August here those numbers average 100 and 89, respectively. I can expect that the times where I might not eat as I should, or am forced into worse choices by location or availability constraints, to see the next morning’s glucose results to be 15-25 points higher.
Diabetic meal requirements can be dramatically different between those with the disease, and I choose to shoot under the typical allowances. The American Diabetes Association and many other medical organizations suggest that 45-60 carbs for each meal is the sweet spot to maintain health and manage glucose levels. But I don’t want to manage diabetes, I want to come as closely as I can to beating it. Nothing will ever cure it, so the next best thing is to fight as hard as I can. So I have chosen mostly to keep my carbs down as much as possible, trying to stay under 30 grams if I can. I consider the 45-60 gram range to be a true maximum, the area where it is at least acceptable if I simply must choose meals that are abnormal.
We will keep restaurant foods off today’s menu, but we’ll discuss those tomorrow. This also is only part of my list of foods, I’ll write a second home foods article next week. While all of my diabetes articles are naturally linked and are important, the food ingredient posts may ultimately become the most helpful. Diabetic diets can also get pretty damn boring, and the foods listed below give a more controlled freedom with food choices.
Testing Various Types of Tortillas
We eat a lot of Mexican food in these parts, so finding a decent tortilla is important to my general love of food. Many tortillas average between 10g and 30g of carbs, and while the lower end is usually fine it can put a strain on the ingredients that go in the tortilla.
Earlier this summer, we found Ole Mexican Xtreme Wellness High Fiber Low Carb Tortillas at Walmart. and then recently at our local King Soopers, and they have been perfect for what we need. They taste good, something important of course. Nutritionally speaking they are excellent, having only 16g of carbs and 11g of dietary fiber. Net carbs, where you subtract the fiber from the carbs, are a mere 5g, which is extremely low carbs per tortilla and only 50 calorie each. That’s wonderful, and since tortillas can work with nearly any kind of meal they have become very important to my diet.
Oatmeal and Farina (Cream of Wheat)
Oatmeal is the old standby, mentioned nearly everywhere as being a healthy food. There is no exception for diabetics, oatmeal is a great way to start the morning and still keep the carbs and calories down. My morning bowl of oatmeal is only 16g of carbs and 114 calories, which is exceptional. It’s the second lowest of my typical morning meals, behind only two scrambled eggs and some strawberries. I keep all of the brown sugar and other sweets out of it, but I do add cinnamon for flavor. I miss my brown sugar, but I prefer that my feet not fall off.
Farina, mostly sold as Cream of Wheat, is a filling meal and is one meal (along with scrambled eggs) that I alternate with the oatmeal. Farina has more carbs, at 24g, but that is offset by the cup of milk it is made with. I get calcium and other minerals, which makes up a bit for the higher carbs.
There are quite a few popcorn choices on the market, and some work for diabetics better than other choices. Some are way too high in carbs, others taste like puffy cardboard. I’ve tried a number of them, but the one I found that works the best is Skinny Pop.
We have the individual size and the great big Sam’s Club-sized bag. The individual size is just 100 calories and only 9g of carbs, perfect for a quick snack. At only 9g of carbs, it also means that a snack later in the evening won’t have a huge impact on the next morning’s glucose test, but offers enough of a snack to keep things moving before bed.
I am told by my daughter that these are often referred to as “veggie fries,” which I can see. The rectangular straws look like colorful fries, and have a crispness to them. A serving size of 38 straws, each around 3″, makes for a nice snack or a side dish for a meal. 16g for that serving works nicely, providing a good sense of being full without overdoing it. Veggie Fries have a good flavor, though I prefer their Zesty Ranch flavor. The Sea Salt flavor is fine, but I’ve noticed during my diabetic summer that I’ve come to prefer more sharply flavored foods.
Clearly, dessert is usually off the table when you are fighting diabetes. No cakes or cupcakes. Only a small amount of chocolate (which we’ll cover in the next article). Few popcicles or ice cream cones. No muffins or cookies. Sigh.
But Outshine Bars are made with natural fruits instead of flavoring (and barely juice), and really fill a gap of frozen sweets missing in an ice cream-free environment. They taste good, have no added sugar, and usually have a lower carb count. Carb counts range between 15g and 19g of carbs, and 50-80 calories each. Outshine Bars are a good size too, a good snack size that neither completely fills you up nor too small to be insignificant.
Part Two: More Foods For More Meals
Later this week, the next edition of foods from home will cover other helpful foods. But, since I want to be helpful and not leave you hanging, below is a list of some of the things I’ll cover next.
- Fiber One Bars
- Kind Bars
- Dark Chocolate Pieces
- Almonds/Dark Chocolate Almonds
- Strawberries, Raspberries, Blackberries, Peppers, Pickles
- Explore Cuisine – Organic Black Bean Spaghetti Explore Cusine