(ARA) - We all want to eat a nutritious diet that helps reduce the risk of chronic diseases and manage cholesterol levels. The same holds true for diabetics; in fact, many of the guidelines for a balanced diabetic diet are useful for anyone who wants to stick to a healthful diet.
With all the refined sugars and processed carbohydrates found in today's grocery aisles and neighborhood markets, it's easy to see why anyone who is concerned about his or her health is intimidated by the idea of whipping up a healthy meal at home. Even though you have countless, long-forgotten cookbooks on your shelves and have visited various cooking Web sites, there aren't many recipes there that can offer you a healthful meal that won't send your blood sugar through the roof.
The American Diabetes Association recommends choosing whole grain, high-fiber foods and plenty of vegetables and fruits - the same foods that most people eat when they decide to follow a nutritious meal plan. Additionally, the ADA encourages diabetics to include "good" fats in appropriate portion sizes to reap the benefits of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, and omega-3 fatty acids. While many recipes might appear incompatible with nutritious diabetic eating, it's easier than you think to make them friendlier to a flavorful carbohydrate-controlled diet. Here are some tips:
Have a recipe that calls for a cup of sugar? Try cutting the amount in half and increasing the amount of spices in the recipe to amp up the natural sweetness.
Trying a recipe that asks for half a cup of butter or cream? Puree a medium-sized avocado in a blender or food processor and add more liquid to your mixture until you get the same creamy consistency.
The American Diabetes Association recommends avocados as a source of monounsaturated fat. Avocados have only 50 calories and less than 3 grams of carbohydrates per three-slice serving (or 1 ounce). The fat in avocados is two-thirds monounsaturated fat. According to the American Heart Association, mono- and polyunsaturated fats may actually help reduce cholesterol when consumed in moderation and substituted for saturated fat or trans fat in your diet.
Try incorporating avocados into your everyday meals to reap the benefits of nearly 20 vitamins and minerals and 1 gram of fiber per serving. By using appropriate amounts in pasta sauce, dips and garnishes for your favorite soups and salads, you can include avocados from Mexico year-round in your favorite dishes to add smooth texture and rich taste without putting your cholesterol levels at risk.
To get the best taste out of your avocado, buy avocados from Mexico ripe for immediate use, or firm for creating nutritious meals later in the week. Firm avocados will ripen to perfection when held at room temperature for one to three days. When they yield to gentle pressure, they're ready for the cooking to begin.
This holiday season, what better way to use your turkey leftovers than in a healthy, delicious sandwich? Try this recipe for a turkey sandwich with spicy avocado spread. For more recipes and ideas on how to incorporate avocados into your diet, visit www.theamazingavocado.com.
Turkey Sandwich with Spicy Avocado Spread
Makes: Four servings (1 cup of avocado spread)
2 fully ripened avocados from Mexico, halved, pitted and peeled
1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon chipotle hot sauce
8 slices whole grain bread, toasted
8 ounces sliced cooked turkey
1 large ripe tomato, sliced
1 cup alfalfa sprouts
In large bowl, mash together avocados, lime juice, salt and chipotle sauce. Spread on each bread slice. Top four of the bread slices with turkey, tomato and sprouts, dividing equally; cover with remaining bread slices. Garnish with sliced avocado, if desired.
Per serving: 355 calories, 22 grams protein, 16 grams fat, 36 grams carbohydrate
Courtesy of ARAcontent