Healthy Grilling Tips
Who doesn't want to enjoy the nice weather by spending time outdoors and cooking out? Some people with diabetes may find that cookouts may be a challenge when it comes to managing their diabetes and blood sugars. With tables full of food to graze on, controlling portion sizes and making healthy choices may be difficult. And unfortunately, many favorite foods to grill are high in carbohydrates, sodium, and fat and may leave you with high blood sugars. Below are ten tips to consider for a healthier grilling season:
1. Plan ahead
Just like with any event, planning ahead makes this easier. If you are not the host, volunteer to bring a healthier dish, so at least you know there will be some better choices available.
2. Skip the sauce
It’s hard to imagine a BBQ without the BBQ sauce itself, right? Whether you marinate your chicken in sauce or serve on the side for dipping, it is very easy to go overboard. Beware of hidden calories, carbohydrates and sodium in sauces and marinades. Instead try coating with some olive oil and fresh herbs and seasonings.
3. Choose lean protein
Fish, skinless chicken, or lean ground meat are good options. Portion sizes should often be the size of your palm or about 3-4 oz.
4. Choose low carbohydrate side dishes
Buns, corn, baked beans, coleslaw, potato or pasta salad, it's no wonder these foods may increase your sugar.
Eating just one may not spike your blood sugar, but consuming several at the same meal certainly can. Try low carb side options such as a green salad, grilled vegetables, deviled eggs, or shrimp cocktail.
5. Go bunless
An average bun is around 30g/carbs, so you can eat your burger without the bun, use only half, or try a slider to help cut back on some carbohydrates. You can even try in a lettuce wrap.
6. Grill Fruit
Try grilling up some watermelon, pineapple, mangoes or peaches for a sweet topping to your salad, as a side, or even a dessert.
7. Opt for 0 calorie beverages
Sweet teas and lemonade are a few popular summer beverages, but they contribute to excessive calories and carbohydrates. Instead, make a pitcher of water and sweeten naturally with some fresh fruit. Try lemon water, cucumber, or berries to add some flavor!
8. Avoid the dessert
Beware of the carbohydrates that often lurk in our favorite summer sweets such as ice pops, water ice and ice cream. Instead, try to fill up on more low calorie and low carbohydrate food.
9. Load up on the veggies!
Try grilled vegetables, vegetable kebabs, a side salad, and don’t forget to top your burger with some lettuce and tomato.
10. Bring your blood sugar meter and medications with you
If your medication is supposed to be given pre-meal, make sure to bring this with you and continue to take as instructed. Remember to avoid leaving medications such as insulin, or diabetic devices in the sun or extremely hot temperatures!
Wishing you all a Healthy Grilling Season :)
What aspect of diabetes management do you struggle with most?