Cooking a Diabetic Menu for a Diabetic Dinner Guest

Every host wants to serve something delicious to her guests. When one of your guests is a diabetic, it's a challenge to meet the dietary restrictions and still put together a lovely spread. Cooking a diabetic menu for a diabetic guest doesn't have to be difficult. With a few minor changes and substitutions, you can serve a healthy meal to all of your guests.

The diet plan of a person with diabetes must keep sugar and carbohydrate intake in control and he or she must be cautious about keeping fats and sodium to a minimum. A good diabetic diet is one full of fresh fruits and vegetables, low in fat and low in sodium.

General Guidelines for a Diabetic Diet

Cut down on sweets. Diabetes is all about blood sugar levels. When cooking for a diabetic guest, reduce the sugar in baked goods and desserts. You can safely reduce sugar by ¼ to 1/3 in almost any baking recipe without any significant difference. Substitute flour for the sugar you've removed. Don't substitute the sugar in yeast bread recipes. The sugar is needed for the yeast reaction.

Add cinnamon, nutmeg or vanilla to recipes to give the impression of sweetness without the sugar.

Watch the carbohydrates. Carbohydrates make blood glucose levels rise. A diabetic should be closely monitoring their carbs and should be able to choose how much carbohydrate-heavy food he or she should eat to balance a daily diet.

Most carbohydrates come from starches, fruits and milk. When cooking for a diabetic guest, don't include too many high-carbohydrate, starchy foods like noodles, pasta, potatoes and rice. Serve starchy foods as side dishes and let your guest decide how much he should have.

Keep it low-fat. Diabetes raises the risk of high blood pressure, a condition that is exacerbated by eating fatty foods. In cooking and baking for a diabetic, use nonfat yogurt instead of sour cream in recipes, replace milk or cream with skim milk and substitute eggs with egg whites. In some baked goods like muffins and quick breads, oil can be replaced in exact proportions with applesauce. In other recipes that call for oil, cut the amount by ¼ and use only good oils like canola or extra virgin olive oil.

Go easy on salt. Because of the link between diabetes and high blood pressure, use herbs and spices for flavor instead of salt when cooking for a diabetic guest. Use low sodium or unsalted ingredients as well. Don't omit salt in yeast breads because it controls the rising action of yeast.

Diabetic Recipes

Melon Salad: Combine three cups cubed cantaloupe and three cups cubed honeydew melon. Sprinkle with one tablespoon chopped mint leaves and one tablespoon honey. Toss gently to coat. Serves six.

Fruit Salad with Yogurt Dressing: Toss together two cups of sliced strawberries, one cup blueberries and two cups green grapes. Toss with dressing made from ½ cup plain fat-free yogurt, one tablespoon honey, one tablespoon lemon juice and ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract. Serves five.

Chocolate Mousse Pie: Bake a 9-inch prepared pie crust as per package instructions and allow it to cool. In a medium bowl, whisk a 1.4-ounce package of sugar-free, fat-free chocolate pudding mix with 1 2/3 cup skim milk. Fold in four ounces of fat-free whipped topping until blended. Spread mixture into pie crust and top with four more ounces of fat-free whipped topping. Sprinkle with chocolate chips.

Serving a Diabetic Guest Tips:

  • Serve the meal buffet-style, so your diabetic guest can choose how much of each dish to eat. If you serve him or her a plate with food already on it, he or she may feel uncomfortable about leaving certain foods untouched.
  • If you're serving alcohol, provide a snack that contains carbohydrates, such as fruit or crackers. Alcohol can lower blood sugar, especially on an empty stomach. A high-carb snack will help balance blood sugar.
  • Substitute Splenda or another sugar substitute in place of sugar in a recipe or simply cut the sugar down slightly.
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