So, we actually don’t mean for you to “balance your bowls” on your shelves or in your cabinets. This month we are all about balance as it relates to nutrition. November is National Diabetes Month; a time dedicated to the education and awareness of a condition that affects millions of Americans.
In the past, diabetic diets we’re very restrictive and focused on eliminating sugar to control blood sugar (glucose) levels. However, we now know that all foods fit and balancing carbohydrates, protein, and fats in daily meals and snacks is key to preventing spikes and sudden drops in glucose. A flavorful bowl is the perfect way to incorporate all the components of a balanced meal that promotes steady energy and proper diabetes management.
Begin to build your bowl with a base of fueling carbohydrates. The fiber found in whole grains including brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat pasta, and oats promote steady energy. As compared to refined grains like white rice, pasta, and bread which have been stripped of their fiber, vitamins, and minerals, whole grains are more slowly digested and gradually increase glucose levels. Skip the sugar crash and choose to make half your grains whole. Additionally, legumes such as beans and lentils are a high fiber alternative to whole grains. Packed with iron and plant powered protein, legumes can be featured in a variety of bowls from Mediterranean to Indian inspired.
Add protein to the carbohydrate source and begin to balance out the bowl. Protein, aside from maintaining muscle mass and other structures in the body, promotes satiety and does not cause sudden spikes in blood sugar. When choosing a source of protein opt for lean choices, or those that are not high in heart unhealthy saturated fats. Simply prepared chicken breast, turkey, and lean cuts of beef (anything with loin or round in their name) are a carnivore’s top choices. Fish such as shrimp, tuna, or salmon are protein powerhouses and don’t forget plant sources including soy products such as tofu and tempeh or legumes and nuts.
Finally, fats add filling flavor to your balanced bowl. Pick plant sources of fats that have been found to have positive impacts on heart health Drizzle the bowl with olive oil or top it with creamy avocado slices. Sprinkle chia seeds, walnuts, or sunflower seeds to add crunch and a dose of heart healthy Omega 3 Fatty Acids. Fatty fish including tuna, salmon, and sardines are also rich sources of Omega 3.
Don’t forget to add color, vitamins, minerals, and additional fiber by mixing in brightly colored vegetables and fruits.
How will you fill and balance your bowls this month?