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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This combination of tomatoes, cucumber, and avocado make 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. 

Sources: 

Linus Pauling Institute. Carotenoids.http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/phytochemicals/carotenoids/ 

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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. 

Sources: 

Linus Pauling Institute. Cruciferous Vegetables. http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/food-beverages/cruciferous-vegetables

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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. 

Sources: 

Linus Pauling Institute. Essential Fatty Acids. http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/othernuts/omega3fa/

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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

Sources: 

California Asparagus Commission. http://www.calasparagus.com/ConsumerInformation/NutritionalInformation/index.html

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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 contain ~6 g of carbohydrates. You'll also get your daily dose of Vitamin A in that small serving. 

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