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Michael Thrash, CEC, CCA, PCII and Levinia Clark, RD, LDN

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Diabetic Meals with Flair and Flavor

Posted by Michael Thrash, CEC, CCA, PCII and Levinia Clark, RD, LDN on Jan 20, 2016 10:00:00 AM

Healthy diabetic meals don’t have to be bland! While it’s true that sugar does make food taste delicious, there are other ways. These tips can help you add lots of flavor to low carbohydrate and low sugar meals, without compromising nutrition.

Spice it up!

Home_Delivered_Meals_LR-1.pngA simple way to add flavor to low carbohydrate and low sugar foods for diabetics is to familiarize yourself with your spice rack. Herbs and spices not only bring more flavor and complexity to foods, but can also add nutritional benefits. For example, cinnamon brings out the natural sweetness in many vegetables. Ginger is not only full of flavor, and like cinnamon, can add sweetness without sugar, but has been used to reduce nausea and improve circulation.

While a single spice added to your meal is delicious, spice mixes are even better. Sprinkle a spice mix (be sure it’s low in sugar and salt) over vegetables before roasting them, or on top of meat in place of sugary sauces.

Fresh herbs also pack quite a lot of flavor without adding carbohydrates. Chopped basil or parsley are at home in many a dish. Be sure to add fresh herbs close to the end of cooking to preserve the most flavor! You can also chop up fresh herbs and sprinkle them over a meal after plating.

Add a Bit of Acidity

A splash of lemon juice, a bit of tomato paste (unsweetened, of course), or a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar might be all a dish needs for a flavor boost. Adding a bit of acidity can enhance other flavors in a dish without adding any sugar or salt. Just a little bit of balsamic or champagne vinegar is sure to brighten up a salad, and a squeeze of lemon can completely replace the need for sugar in your tea!

Grab Your Crock Pot

Healthy_Meals_LR.pngWhile it’s certainly faster to grill or roast foods, slow cooking can add a lot of flavor to a dish. Many naturally occurring flavor compounds in vegetables and spices are destroyed at higher temperatures, so slow cooking your meals can ensure that these flavors are preserved. Additionally, slow cooking allows all of the flavors to blend together, creating a more complex dish. Sprinkle on some chopped fresh parsley to a slow cooked chili for an extraordinarily delicious meal that’s low in sugar.

Try Fermented Foods

Eating fermented foods like sauerkraut and pickles is all the rage, and it’s no surprise - these condiments can add a lot of flavor to a dish, without a lot of sugar. Mustard, relish, sauerkraut and even some brands of ketchup can be great low sugar flavor enhancers for your meal. Mustard also makes a great marinade for meats, with almost no carbohydrates per tablespoon serving! Of course, you should be sure to check the labels to be sure that no extra sugar has been added.

Healthy Home-Delivered Meals

Perhaps the easiest way of all to enjoy healthy, diabetic-friendly meals without added sugar is to order home-delivered meals that are tailored to diabetics. These meals are not only full of flavor, but are balanced to meet diabetics’ nutritional needs. Home-delivered meals take the stress out of planning and cooking low carbohydrate and low sugar meals, and can save quite a bit of time in preparation and shopping, allowing you to manage your diabetes with ease.

Looking for more information on diabetes and nutrition?  Read this article.

GA Foods’ meals are all DRI-compliant and low in sodium, fat, cholesterol, and sugar, making them suitable for individuals needing modified diets for diabetes and cardiac disease. For more information, click here.

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Topics: Diabetes, Healthy Home Delivered Meals

Low Sodium Cooking Tricks for Flavorful Food

Posted by Michael Thrash, CEC, CCA, PCII and Levinia Clark, RD, LDN on Jan 13, 2016 10:00:00 AM


Low sodium meals don’t have to be flavorless! Thinking outside the salt shaker can yield some results that are both healthy and delicious. Here are a few little flavor boosters that are perfect for any low sodium diet, and for those looking to reduce their sodium intake. 

Sodium Substitutes

It’s hard to talk about low sodium diets without talking about table salt substitutes. This option almost seems like cheating - the flavor of salt, without the sodium? There are many “light salt” and sodium substitutes on the market, if you’re not quite ready to part with that salty flavor. Of course, these substitutes don’t work for everyone and may not be the best option for a cardiac diet, so be sure to talk to your doctor before piling this stuff on your food.

Another downside of sodium substitutes is that while they might leave your food with a hint of saltiness, they don’t add any flavor. For full flavor in your meals without added salt, you might want to ditch the sodium substitute and look to the tips below.

Start with Aromatics

You may have noticed that many dishes start with a base of vegetables like onions, carrots, celery and peppers. These aromatics bring excellent flavor to dishes without adding any sodium at all. Garlic, ginger and lemongrass make a rich and flavorful base for a stir-fry, and sliced scallions and peppers will really make your salads sing! There are so many different flavor combinations to try, that you’ll never get bored. 

For a simple way to get started using aromatics in your cooking, try covering meat or fish with a layer of sliced onions before roasting or grilling. This will bring loads of extra flavor without adding any salt.

Low_Sodium_Meals.jpgAdd Some Herbs and Spices

After you’ve got your aromatic base going, the next step to adding flavor to your meals without adding salt is to give the old spice rack a whirl. Herbs and spices can add so much flavor to a dish, without extra sodium. Add spices to the dish at the beginning of cooking, so that the flavors all mix in together. Dried herbs can be added towards the end of cooking, and fresh herbs can be chopped up and used to garnish a cooked dish.

Fresh spices will add a lot more flavor to a dish, so check the expiration date! Once opened, spices should be used within six months of purchase for maximum flavor. With so many spice mixes available on the market, it’s easy to recreate any style of cooking in your home kitchen! Just be sure to read the label, as many commercial spice mixes will contain some sodium.

A Little Acidity Goes a Long Way

If you’re looking to add a lot of flavor to vegetables, seafood or poultry, citrus is the key! Squeezing a wedge of lemon over a completed dish enhances the flavors and adds a nice zing, and you can add even more flavor by slicing up citrus wedges and arranging them on top of the dish before placing it in the oven.

Citrus zest (the colorful part of the rind) is another flavor booster. Simply sprinkle zest over cooked meats and vegetables for a simple and delicious meal upgrade. Citrus zest is also a great addition to homemade salad dressings, and can brighten up desserts as well.

Sometimes all a dish needs to round out the flavors, is a bit of acidity, but not every dish works perfectly with citrus. When lemon juice won’t work, a tablespoon of tomato paste, a dash of wine or a bit of vinegar can really enhance flavors without adding sodium or too much sugar.

Healthy Home Delivered Meals

If constantly cooking nutritionally balanced, low sodium meals seems daunting, the simplest way to enjoy flavorful food on a low sodium diet is to have your meals delivered! You can have low sodium meals delivered to your doorstep that work perfectly with a low salt diet, and taste delicious. Plus, say goodbye to all of that meal prep, and cleanup is a breeze! Having low sodium meals delivered is a sure way to meet your nutritional needs, as the meals are created specifically with a low sodium diet and cardiac diet in mind. Full flavor and a perfect nutritional profile are just one simple step away!

If you'd like more information about low sodium diets, read this article.

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Topics: Chronic Disease Management, Cardiac Diet, Heart Disease, Sodium

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