Truth: food choice is a constant challenge for Type 2 Diabetics. After my diagnosis, I met with a nutritionist who nixed my habit of eating fatty salads, ones I previously thought were healthy. From the lettuce to the toppings, my choices were off. So after much discussion, she taught me how to build a better salad, a bowl of greens well suited for people managing Type 2 Diabetes.
1. Choose a dark leafy base.
Iceberg lettuce is a popular salad choice in the United States. Yet, this vegetable has minimal nutritional value. (Why it’s so cheap!) Instead, opt for a dark green leafy bed of lettuce. Spinach and arugula are high in vitamins A and K, two nutrients that help your body fight disease. See: How to Choose the Healthiest Salad Greens
2. Limit cheese to one tablespoon.
Cheese tastes good because this food is full of fat. Since fat contributes to weight gain (an underlying risk for Type 2 Diabetes), you want to minimize this substance on your salad. Add only a tablespoon of your favorite cheese and go heavy on other non-fat toppings.
3. Top your salad with non-starchy vegetables.
Starch is a carbohydrate that spikes glucose levels. As a Type 2 Diabetic, you already understand that starch in the form of bread isn’t a healthy addition to salad. Yet, you probably aren’t as smart concerning starchy vegetables (corn, green peas, acorn squash). They too spike glucose levels. With this in mind, for your salad, select non-starchy vegetables such as cucumbers, radishes and peppers. See: List of Non-Starchy Vegetables
4. Add two ounces of lean protein.
Protein slows down the body’s absorption of glucose. As a result, for a Type 2 Diabetic, adding protein to a salad is helpful. Be sure you bypass fried strips of chicken or steak. Although delicious, the added fat and starch is counterproductive to your overall health.
5. Go for a light vinaigrette.
Because of the lower amount of sugar and carbohydrates, a light vinaigrette is better for a Type 2 Diabetic than ranch dressing. If you’re hooked on the latter, try different brands of vinaigrettes until you find one that tantalizes your taste buds. Then, drizzle two tablespoons of this dressing over your salad. See: Best Italian and Balsamic Vinagrettes
Hungry? Type 2 Diabetics, the above tips can aid you in building a better salad. Use them and eat more of the green stuff, but in a way that supports your health.
For more on the topic of diabetes, read Type 2 Diabetics: Ways to Reduce Sugar in Desserts.
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