By Layne Lieberman, RD
We all know it’s better to cook at home than rely on restaurants to satisfy your stomach and take care of your health. Restaurant chefs and cooks are trained to use salt, sugar, and fat to add flavor to most dishes.
Unfortunately, a lot of recipes—particularly ones that have been passed down from generation to generation—rely on these same unhealthy tricks. The good news is that even your most gluttonous go-to comfort food recipes can be altered to be healthier. It simply takes a few substitutions and healthy cooking techniques to do the job.
The food exchange lists were developed in the 1950s by the American Dietetic Association, American Diabetes Association, and the U.S. Public Health Service in attempt to simplify the strict and complicated diabetic diet. The idea behind the exchange lists was to provide an educational tool to diabetics and to help provide structure in meal planning. The key to controlling diabetes is to control your blood sugar/blood glucose level. This system does a great job of outlining what you can do to help yourself to control your blood sugar.
A major downfall to this system is cracking down the complexity in order to implement it into your daily life. Therefore, it’s recommended for individuals to meet with a Registered Dietitian (a certified diabetes educator is ideal) in order to fully grasp this diet and help individualize it to your life and needs. The dietitian will recommend a certain number of daily exchanges from each food group based on your individual needs. You and the dietitian will work together to decide the best way to utilize the exchanges in order to control your blood sugar within your target range. (more…)