Tip of the Week: Adjusting Recipes

By GabbyPA Latest Reply 2015-03-10 18:25:03 -0500
Started 2011-08-26 10:32:50 -0500

Let's face it, cooking now is a huge part of what you do. Counting carbs, cutting fats and more. Before being diagnosed with diabetes, you probably didn't think too much about the recipes that you chose. Now it is a big factor and it can be intimidating.

First, don't throw away a favorite recipe just yet. There may be ways you can adjust it to be more diabetic friendly. Recently I have seen a few members post their "out of the box" moments in this regard and that is encouraging.

Here are some things you can replace in a tried and true recipe to make it better for you, and maybe even the whole family.

Starchy grains: If a recipe calls for rice you can do a couple of things. You can use quinoia in place of rice 100% or cut it by 50% with grated cauliflower. Barley is also lower on the glycemic index, so maybe try mixing that in there instead. Also, there is wild rice. It is a great addition to your dish. I make a pilaf with multiple grains, lintels and chopped nuts. It has great flavor and is loaded with fiber and good fats that help balance out the starch of the grains. http://www.diabeticconnect.com/recipes/15-cou...

Pastas: High fiber brands such as Dreamfields work great for some people. Also whole grain or whole wheat pastas. You still have to be mindful of the amount you are eating so keeping it separate from the recipe instead of mixing it all together will help out as well. Also there is a magic vegetable out there known as the spaghetti squash. Yes, it has cabs, but it also has fiber and is very versatile. Again, if your roast it instead of boiling it, you will bring out the best it has to offer. http://www.diabeticconnect.com/recipes?query=...

Potatoes: White potatoes tend to give us the most trouble, so try using sweet potatoes. Don't let the name deceive you. They are easier on your levels than you think. Again, some cauliflower can take the place in many recipes. Roasted, cauliflower can add a great richness to your recipes. http://www.diabeticconnect.com/recipes/320-ro...

Breads: We all hear about eating whole wheat. But perhaps you may want to try whole grain instead. There tend to be less added sugars in them. There are also some that contain extra fiber and that helps reduce the affects of the carbs. http://www.diabeticconnect.com/recipes/1912-l...

Sugary sauces: Who doesn't love bar-b-q sauce or sweet and sour? Why not make your own and use less sugar in them by making them with stevia, agave or even some molasses? When you are cooking sauces, avoid the corn starch and use arrow root instead to thicken it. And again, if you use these as side condiments, instead of mixed into the recipe, you have better control over how much you eat. http://www.diabeticconnect.com/recipes/3645-s...

Deserts: Boy is this a huge topic! There are a lot of helpful things out there such as fat free and sugar free mixes that can get you started. Using sour creams and cream cheeses in the deserts help as well to give you back some of the texture that artificial sweeteners tend to take away. There are also ways to make things like peanut butter and oatmeal cookies without flour or sugar. Wow! Talk about low carb.http://www.diabeticconnect.com/videos/1377-co...

Fried Foods: My husband loves fried foods. It is hard some days to say no. I have learned to use panko bread crumbs and bake the fish or chicken. It comes out great and they come in flavors. Now that is still a carb, but if you serve coated meats with salads and low carb veggies such as steamed green bean or cauliflower, you should be just fine. I also toss my cut sweet potatoes or carrots in a bit of olive oil and seasonings to serve "fries" with a meal. So have the hamburger patty with home made fries and you can enjoy the summer foods just like everyone else. http://www.diabeticconnect.com/recipes?query=...

It does take some experimenting and trust me, not all of them work out so well. But that is part of it all. Learning how to substitute to keep your glucose levels down and your family happy.

What are your tips for substituting in your recipes?

12 replies

Pegsy 2015-03-10 17:06:19 -0500 Report

I can't do pasta. Whole wheat or Dreamfields pasta have the same effect on me as any other pasta.

I was told that smooth skinned potatoes, such as the red ones, don't raise glucose like russet potatoes do. I've tried this and if I keep the portion small (about 3 oz.) I don't spike. Also, I can get away with about 1/2 C of brown rice now and then. Quinoa will spike me like pasta or rice unless I keep the portion very small. I am thankful that I can have these things now and then but I am sure not to have them often.

As far as breads are concerned I have never heard about the difference between whole wheat and whole grain. I have to be extremely careful with bread.

GabbyPA 2015-03-10 18:25:03 -0500 Report

I was told also that cold potatoes make your levels react different than hot ones. So I have a ranch potato salad that I make and will have to try it again.

chrizty 2015-03-10 12:36:32 -0500 Report

I love to bake but the comment on cornstarch I have to ask baking powder is white any sub's out there

GabbyPA 2015-03-10 14:10:07 -0500 Report

There are no carbs in baking powder so I don't know for sure why you would want to substitute it? It is a leavening, so the only thing could be baking soda or possibly egg whites. But I have no idea how much to do.

I substitue corn starch because it's a starch. Most starches contain carbs and I am particularly sensitive to corn products. Plus, there are many times when a recipe calls for it, all you have to do to thicken up your gravy is cook it down a little longer. It doesn't always work, but I don't use much corn starch. There are other thickeners like arrow root, but they have carbs too.

Pegsy 2015-03-10 16:58:16 -0500 Report

I've heard that potato starch is a good substitute for corn starch but I haven't tried it yet. It has carbs but supposedly less than cornstarch.

Diaschm 2011-08-29 20:56:13 -0500 Report


GabbyPA 2011-08-31 12:52:28 -0500 Report

Vacations can be hard, but you know...a week off the wagon is never as bad as a week of abandon like we used to do. LOL!! I'm so glad you had a good time and getting back on board can be just as fun.

CassandraG 2011-08-28 21:42:08 -0500 Report

Cross Post

hill­walk­er Today at 7:47 pm

any one know about fried tubers i once fried parsnips and thought they were tasty
that was before diabetes snuck up on me debating trying rutabaga

Cass­andr­aG Today at 9:37 pm

Ok I had to work on this one…LOL I had no clue what a tuber was besides potatoes and carrots. Everything I read on tubers of any kind was stay away the starches and sugars, which = carbs, are not worth it. Then it got me thinking about ff-word (french fries). This is what I found, fried leeks. Leeks have a light onion flavor and a very light cucumber flavor. Now before you get your hopes up no deep frying. So put the cast iron away.

How to prepare leeks ( because I had no idea )
Cut off the fibrous root
If the dark-green outer leaves are very tough and/or spotty, remove them
Trim the ends of the remaining leaves
Cut the leek in half length-wise, then slice or chop
Place in a bowl of warm water and swirl around to help the dirt fall to the bottom
Take the leeks out, place in a colander, and rinse again. Don't just pour them into the colander as the dirt at the bottom of the bowl might get trapped in the leaves again.

Recipe for fried leeks
1 Leek
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp flour
salt and pepper to taste.

Pre-heat oven to 350
After you prepare the leeks in slices wash and dry them well. You do not want any water on them. Put the leeks in a bowl and pour the olive oil over them mixing until all are coated. Mix your flour, salt and pepper and pour in the leeks. Tossing until they are coated. ( me personally I would oil coat and then use a zip-lock bag to toss them in ) Place on a wire rack, single layer, and bake until crispy. 10-14 minutes

2 servings
Carbs 14g

In comparison I also plugged in the same recipe with a medium potato and it come back 26g of carbs. So leeks are on my grocery list. If anyone tried this before me please let me know.

Recipe Calculator

CassandraG 2011-08-27 19:11:41 -0500 Report

WOW some great and useful ideas… Glad to see them so my family does not have to suffer my EXPERIMENTS in trying to keep flavor and texture. I try to make sure at all meals to make only what is needed, in my family 3 servings, no left overs to pick on later. On the high carb items I cook the exact amount, measure before cooking, that way when it is done and I am starving I am not tempted for an extra bite. The dangers of being the cook…LOL

GabbyPA 2011-08-28 08:32:50 -0500 Report

Leftovers are dangerous that is true! I try hard to do the same as you and only cook enough for the meal. It also keeps stuff from filling up the fridge. LOL