Quinoa cookies sweetened with applesauce topped with almond and coconut flakes make a decadent treat ! These all natural quinoa cookies are moist, chunky and melt in mouth delish ! Would you believe they are diabetic friendly ? Of yes they are ! They are Low GI ( Glycemic Index ) quinoa cookies courtesy of protein rich quinoa and the almonds. I am participating in World Diabetes day hosted by Carolyn from “ All Day I Dream About Food“. Diabetes is very close to my heart. I had gestational diabetes with both my babies and having been told by the doctor’s that I will develop diabetes some day. Mildly borderline diabetic is what my Dr called it. Blame it on my strong family history ! Fortunately, being a dietitian I know how to juggle my diet around so my sugars stay steady. I also know how it feels to want a cookie and some treats sometimes. One of the reasons I created a category of ‘ reasonably healthy desserts ” on my blog ! This cookie is a safe treat for diabetics. It is low GI and protein packed and can be substituted for 1 diabetic exchange. If you want a slightly sweeter cookie add some agave nectar or stevia . These are the only safe diabetic sweeteners in my opinion. Agave nectar has calories but it is a Low GI sweetener so deemed safe. I also used a little cinnamon in these quinoa cookies. Cinnamon is a spice that is said to help control blood glucose levels, so what better place to use it than in a diabetic cookie ? It tastes really good ! My kids loved it ! You have to make it, taste and see for yourself !
A note about quinoa
Quinoa is an ancient grain that is becoming hugely popular especially with vegans and those who eat gluten-free. Quinoa provides all 9 essential amino acids, making it a complete protein. Quinoa is a gluten-free and cholesterol-free whole grain and is almost always organic. It is also high in fiber. When cooking quinoa use a proportion of 1 :2 quinoa to water. It swells to four times its size when cooked , so 1/4 cup raw quinoa will give you one cup cooked quinoa.
Nutrition Wise !
Apart from all the goodness in quinoa , this cookie is nutrient dense bursting with healthy fiber courtesy of the oats and the healthy fat from coconut. The combination of complex carbohydrate, protein and healthy fat make this a low GI ( glycemic Index) snack. Great for diabetics and anyone really !
Please stop by Caroline’s blog. She has a nice sweet giveaway !! A beautiful blue KitchenAid Stand Mixer, courtesy of Swerve Sweetener and a lot of great tips for diabetics !! Help celebrate World Diabetes Day and pass the Dream along !!
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If you’re a diabetic or pre diabetic you’ve probably been advised by your doctor or dietitian that you need to eat snacks in-between your meals. If there’s anyone in this world who has to keep an eye on what they are eating, it’s got to be a diabetic. Snacks have to be a part of your daily routine. If you do not eat snacks and just stick to 3 meals/day your blood sugar will spike which is not good for you. Snacks help prevent spikes and balance your blood sugar. This is especially important if you have type 1 diabetes.
Now, what do you snack on ? Just like meals, snacks should be a combination of fat, protein, and carbohydrates. Aim for one that consists of 15 to 30 grams of carbohydrates and 100 to 200 calories (depending on your meal plan and medication). A combination of carbs and protein is better than just carbs. For example : 4 wheat crackers with cheese ( about 120 calories) is better than 4 wheat crackers ( 80 calories ) because of way it hits your blood stream. The second choice with cheese although higher calorie will hit your blood stream at a slower rate making it a more diabetic friendly snack than plain wheat crackers.In this case low-calorie is not the best snack. Slightly higher calories balanced with all three nutrients is better. Combining a protein and fat with a carbohydrate is possibly the best snack you can eat as a diabetic. If you can’t do all three nutrients at one shot, at-least do two. Combine a fat and carb or a protein and carb.
When You combine carbs with protein and fat it makes the carb low GI ( Glycemic Index). The glycemic index (GI) is a numerical system of measuring how much of a rise in circulating blood sugar a food triggers–the higher the number, the greater the blood sugar response. So a low GI food will cause a small rise, while a high GI food will trigger a dramatic spike. Diabetics should aim for low or medium GI meals and snacks.
Check out these great low GI snack combos. Great for anybody !
Cottage cheese and fruit
Great and yummy protein, fat , carb combo with a boost of calcium.
Milk + Protein powder + fruit or low sugar chocolate syrup make a great diabetic snack !
Hummus with whole grain chips or veggies
Healthy hummus with olive oil and chickpeas with whole grain chips or veggies would make a great snack !
Low fat yogurt and fruit
Creamy unsweetened low fat yogurt with fruit will make a yummy snack. Sweeten with stevia if needed.
whip up some yogurt, protein powder and fruit for a healthy carb protien combo
Half a turkey sandwich
1 slice of whole grain bread with turkey, lettuce and tomato or your favorite trimmings. Use low fat mayo and skip the cheese unless you want a heavier snack.
Fruit and Cheese
Easy to carry around snack with good protein, fat and carbs.
Low fat cheese and crackers
Whole grain crackers and low fat cheese. Easy to carry this snack around.
Veggies and Dip
Crisp raw veggies with a low fat dip. Mix some yogurt or low fat cream cheese into dip to make it protein dense.
Trail mix of nuts with some fruit
Make your own trail mix with a healthy blend of nuts, dried fruit in the ratio of 3:1. Nuts and dry fruit are high calorie so only have 1/2 cup.
Protein bars or granola bars
Aim for bars that have a good dose of protein and fiber and make sure they don’t go above 150 calories/ bar. Go for natural bars with no added sugars.
Peanut butter with bread or crackers.
1 slice of wheat bread with a tsp PB or some wheat crackers with PB make a low GI delish snack.
High Protein muffins with no sugar added
Make your own muffins by mixing in a cup of ricotta cheese and swapping sugar for fruit or agave nectar.
A hearty bean salad drizzled with some olive oil gives you the perfect carb, protein fat combo ! Added bonus, you get tons of fiber and antioxidants too !
Soy or Edamame
Edamame drizzled with some olive oil or roasted tofu with nuts make a nice low GI snack
These are just some ideas ! Get creative. Mix some low-fat protein, Healthy fat and complex carbs and make your own healthy diabetic friendly snack combinations !
I’ll admit when I heard about the ‘Sugar Blocker’s Diet” where you can eat carbs like pasta and dessert and still have good sugar levels I was intrigued. So I read about it and am convinced that it’s quite sound ! This diet was developed by Rob Thompson, MD, a preventive cardiologist who used it to obtain control over his own diabetes. I like the principles so much I want to follow it myself. I am not diabetic yet, but have a strong family history ( both parents and grandparents) and had gestational diabetes with both my kids. As a result I do monitor my sugars and try to keep my weight under control. This is actually a great diet for anyone who’s diabetic, borderline diabetic, has a strong history or just want to prevent sugar spikes. It has 7 principles which I am going to describe very briefly, but if you want more details and recipes, you may want to buy the book. If you are already diabetic and on a plan , I would recommend you check with your physician. You can however follow the principles of the diet. They’re super easy and simple to follow.
Step 1 : Have a fatty snack 10 -20 minutes before your meal:
When you have a healthy fat snack before a meal you reduce after meal blood sugar spikes. You also remain full longer. Fat slows the digestion of any food ingested, so it will cause a steady spike in your blood glucose levels similar to fiber. Amt – a handful of nuts or 1/2 an avocado, 1 tbsp of peanut butter, 1 tbsp of flax oil, 1 tbsp of coconut oil or 1 tbsp of nut butter. Any of these should do the trick. A piece of cheese is alright too, but it cannot be low-fat cheese.
Step 2 : Start your meal with a salad:
The fiber in salad soaks up starch and sugar and carries it out of your system with minimum absorption. The trick is to get some high fiber vegs in your salad like beans, peas, vegetables with skin etc. If you cannot eat a salad eat some peas, beans or raw veggies. Fiber is an effective sugar blocker. As it passes through your intestines, it swells like a sponge and traps sugars from food and pulls it through the intestine.
Step 3 : Dress your salad with vinegar:
Vinegar is a magic ingredient which slows the breakdown of starch into sugar and lowers the Glycemic Index (GI) of a meal. The reason for this is the high acetic acid content which deactivates the enzyme amylase which turns starch into sugar. You can use vinegar in your salad as dressing, or add it to olive oil and use it as bread dip. You can just squirt it over veggies or any dish. It adds flavor to food. You can also just add a tsp to glass of water and drink it. Any kind of vinegar would have the same effect, but Apple cider vinegar actually tasted quite good with water and has some other benefits as well.
Step 4 : Eat vegetables that are lightly cooked or steamed:
When you eat partially cooked vegetables you digest them more slowly thus helping to block sugar. Eating raw is even better, but lightly cooked or lightly steamed veggies with a crunch to them are good too. A good tip is to roast or grill veggies.
Step 5 : Include protein with your meal:
When you eat protein with a meal you will not secrete as much insulin. A serving of protein eaten with a carbohydrate can reduce the subsequent blood sugar spike by 50 %. I experienced this myself when I had gestational diabetes and I was monitoring my sugars. I went to a veggie buffet and ate to my heart’s content ( healthy veggie food) and checked my sugars. They were quite high. Another time I had desert as part of the meal, but I had a nice piece of salmon in the meal and my sugars were fine. I always tell my clients if there ‘s one thing you must do as a diabetic, please eat protein with every meal. If you’re a vegan, it can be challenging. Read my post on getting optimum protein power from veggie sources.
Step 6 : Have a glass of wine with every meal:
The reason is that your liver will not produce as much glucose. This is one of the principles of the diet and while the reason for it seems quite sound, personally I would recommend a resveratrol supplement on a regular basis and the glass of wine as a dinner drink . If you’re alcohol sensitive, you could just take the resevertol supplement. Be mindful of cocktails made with sweetened mixers etc. Wine should always be taken with the meal and never alone for diabetics and check with your physician before you try this.
Step 7 : Eat Sweets as dessert only ( after the meal)
When sweets are eaten on an empty stomach, the sugars race directly into your bloodstream , but when eaten at the end of the meal they do not get absorbed as much and cause more steady spikes in blood sugar levels. If the dessert had some protein and fat in it, it will cause even less spikes. Cheesecake, milk based puddings and frozen yogurt are good choices.
Please note : These principles are a guide and are not in any way to replace the diet you may have been placed on as a diabetic. If on a regular diet you may want to check with your physician before making any changes. You can however follow these steps , esp Steps 1, 2 , 3, 4 and 5 to help keep your sugars steady while following your regular diet. Everyone basically will benefit from most of the steps in the sugar blocker’s diet !
Continuing with the A- Z Blogging Challenge and am blogging the letter S. Ah! my chance to rant about sugar substitutes or artificial sweeteners. Do I use sugar substitutes ? Yes ! I do and here’s why . I have a sweet tooth and cannot pass up dessert so I get a fair amount of sugar from those decadently delish deserts that you just can’t use splenda for In addition I guzzle about 5 cups of tea and 2 shakes a day. If I used sugar for my shakes and teas as well, add an additional 500 calories to my day. I would bloat!! So for my shakes and teas I rely on sugar substitutes, BUT I have done some research to make sure am only licking the sugar substitutes that are safe. Before I go in to the safe ones , let me give you my scoop on the ones I do NOT use.
Sugar Substitutes that are dubious ( to me )
Saccharin commonly marketed as Sweet N Low. Deemed safe in small quantities according to FDA. Some studies show it to be a carcinogen. If saccharin is even a weak carcinogen, that’s enough to scare me. I have enough history of cancer in my family. You can’t control stuff that happens in life, but I like to play safe and whether its just been tested on mice or men, I would rather stay away.
Aspartame – Commonly marketed as Nutra- Sweet and Equal. Aspartame accounts for over 75 percent of adverse reactions to food additives reported to the FDA. These include Headaches/migraines, dizziness, seizures, nausea, numbness, and muscle spasms. I myself have experienced headaches which disappeared when I let go of Equal in my diet, so that’s a good enough reason for me to steer clear of it.
Splenda – Marketed as splenda is very natural tasting and tastes like sugar. i consider it safer than the above two, but will not trust it in larger quantities. It was after all stumbled upon when searching for a pesticide and has a similar composition to DDT. It is fairly new and has not been tested on people for several years to see if it is safe, so the reality is that we are the guinea pigs for Splenda. Another reason I would prefer plain sugar to splenda. I do occasionally have a diet coke though but do not deem it safe for my copious amounts of tea and shakes
Sugar substitutes that are All Natural and Safe
Stevia : I am big fan of Stevia. It has been around for centuries and been used extensively by the Japanese and we have yet to see any side effects. The only problem is : unlike Splenda it does not taste exactly like sugar. It’s a cultured taste and takes some getting used to. I find the liquid version works great for teas and smoothies. The powdered version works for baked goods. I’ve never tried that but people who have said it works great.
Agave Nectar : This is not a calorie free sweetener, but for all purposes has been deemed safe. If it’s not calorie free, what’s the point of it ? Agave nectar has a lower Glycemic Index (GI ) than sugar or honey, thus making it a good sweetener for diabetics and anyone in general. GI is the rate at which food hits your blood sugar levels. It is also very strong, hence 1/2 a tsp would be sufficient where 1 tsp is required. To read more about Agave Nectar, click here !
If you need recipes using Stevia and Agave Nectar click here ! This is neat website by one of my buddy foodie bloggers who developed this site for people who want to cut artificial sweeteners out of their diet. It has many fabulous recipes using Stevia and Agave Nectar
To read more in my A- Z Blogging challenge, click here and check back tomorrow to read my post on the letter T. I am blogging a delish recipe for home made Tangy Tangerine Bubble Tea !
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