Diabetes Friendly Side Dishes Perfect For Summer Parties

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Don't be Afraid to Fill Up Your Plate with These Side Dishes

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When it comes to planning a party, food is usually the central focus. Let's face it - what we eat helps to bring together any celebration. In fact, it's not unusual to find party goers congregating around the food table. While it is wonderful to share meals, food planning can be stressful if you have diabetes or are trying to lose weight. It's important to know how to navigate the food table as well as contribute by bringing or making a healthy option. Whether you are attending a party or hosting one, filling up on these foods won't be as damaging to your waistline or your blood sugars. Try one of these 5 healthy side dish recipes this summer. 

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Tomato, Cucumber and Avocado Salad

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This combination of tomatoes, cucumber and avocado makes for a perfect salad that is low in carbohydrate, rich in heart healthy fat and full of flavor. Tomatoes are rich in vitamin C as well as lycopene. Some studies suggest that diets rich in lycopene can reduce the risk of prostate cancer. Tomatoes are also great to eat if you have diabetes - learn how and why you should incorporate them into your meal plan: Tomatoes and Diabetes. But, first try this recipe: The Not-so-Dumb Salad Recipe with Cumcumbers, Tomatoes, Onions, Avocado, and Balsamic Vinegar

Sources: 

Linus Pauling Institute. Carotenoids. Accessed on-line. July 3, 2015: http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/phytochemicals/carotenoids/ 

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Cauliflower with Herby Crumb Topping

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Cauliflower is the new "it" vegetables nowadays. Used as a substitute for potatoes and rice, cauliflower can take on many flavors and packs a huge nutrition punch. Cauliflower belongs to the cruciferous vegetable family and is naturally rich in fiber and potassium. Epidemiological studies suggest that high intakes of cruciferous vegetables can lower your risk for certain cancers. To make it even more appealing, 1/2 cup cooked contains only: ~15 calories, 0 g fat 2.5 g carbohydrate, 1.5 g fiber, 1 g sugar, 1 g protein. Try this recipe for a nutritious and delicious side dish: Cauliflower with Herby Crumb Topping 

Sources: 

Linus Pauling Institute. Cruciferous Vegetables. Accessed on-line. June 28, 2015: http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/food-beverages/cruciferous-vegetables

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Sauted Zucchini and Walnuts

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Zucchini is a popular summer vegetable that is great for grilling, sauteing or baking. Combine zucchini with walnuts and you have a heart healthy, fiber rich, low carbohydrate side dish that is crunchy and delicious. Walnuts contain plant-based omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Long chain omega-3 fatty acids, DHA and EPA can be synthesized from ALA. Research has shown that diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and may benefit those with Type 2 diabetes, especially those with elevated triglycerides. Try this recipe: Zucchini and Walnuts 

Sources: 

Linus Pauling Institute. Essential Fatty Acids. Accessed on-line: July 3, 2015: http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/othernuts/omega3fa/

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Pesto Asparagus

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Asparagus is naturally low in calories, sodium and carbohydrates, which is great for blood sugar and weight control. Asparagus is also rich in vitamin C and rutin, a flavonoid, which can help to strengthen blood vessels. Blood vessel health is important for people with diabetes as they are at increase risk of developing blood vessel disease such as athersclerosis and peripheral arterial disease. This tasty side dish is rich in heart-healthy fat: Asparagus in Pesto Sauce

Sources: 

California Asparagus Commission. Accessed on-line. July 1, 2015: http://www.calasparagus.com/ConsumerInformation/NutritionalInformation/index.html

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Cinnamon Spiced Almond Carrot Salad

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Many people with diabetes believe that they are not "allowed" to eat carrots because they are too "sugary." This is a myth. Carrots are a high fiber (~3 g in 1/2 cup) non-starchy vegetable rich in Vitamin A. Studies have shown Vitamin A rich foods are important for eye health. 1/2 cup cooked carrots contains ~6 g of carbohydrates. You'll also get your daily dose of Vitamin A in that small serving. This recipe is easy and tasty: Turkish Carrot Salad

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