Diabetes Blogs

Can Someone with Diabetes Cook for the Entire Family?

If you have diabetes, is it possible to cook for your entire family and satisfy all of them? If you are the parent or spouse of someone with diabetes, is it possible to cook food that serves their needs and you and the rest of your clan will still eat? It most definitely is, and I have the evidence to prove it.

Like so many other people with diabetes, I don’t live alone. I have a husband to feed every day. I entertain a fair amount. I can, and still sometimes do, fix food that I don’t eat. I just don’t put it on my plate. It doesn’t bother me too much to prepare food that I don’t eat. It just makes meal preparation, and that empty spot on the plate a little more stressful. Fortunately, I enjoy cooking, so making an extra dish for another person is fine. The person/ people in my life are worth it.

how to cook diabetic-friendly foodThe funny thing is that when I have to cook for a guest or a family member that is allergic to something, I don’t think twice about creating a special dish or leaving something out of the dish. Interestingly, when it came to me, I considered it too much bother to make something JUST for me. Aren’t I — we — worth the little extra effort?

My cousin Dean was a vegetarian and when he came to visit, I pulled a recipe out of my head and made an eggplant dish to “die for”. I am actually grateful that he gave me the opportunity to stretch my repertory. I always ate eggplant out, but seldom made it at home. Eggplant Lasagna sis now a staple in my diet. I make a huge batch of it and freeze it. It inspired me to go even further to make a showstopper of an appetizer, an eggplant Napoleon. (Rounds of roasted eggplant topped with roasted tomato, mozzarella cheese and drizzled with my favorite Greek olive oil infused with basil.)  

It’d be harder, I admit, to cook for the family if I had a kid around, as so many of you do. And for the parents of children with diabetes, it’s got to be tough to make both kid- friendly and diabetes-compatible dishes that allow them to feel…normal.

Although, I bet that anyone looking for family-friendly will win over a few fans by trying the following:

  • A mean pizza using Jospeh’s flax, oat, and whole-wheat pita breads (5g. net carbs per pita). I use their Lavash to make chips. Using Arnold Sandwich Thins works great for sloppy Joe’s or, as I like to call them, Untidy Tom’s, as well as for burgers. 
  • Mashed cauliflower that is so good I use it as a replacement for mashed potatoes. In fact, I seldom even get a request for the smashed spuds any more.
  • Oven baked fries. The smaller amount is satisfying enough, as long as I have a lot of something else (like skinny Slaw) on the plate.
  • Snow peas and snap peas. I was thrilled to find out that both are low in carbohydrates. I use them all the time to replace garden peas. (Same kind of flavor and far less carbohydrates). So this flavor still shows up on the table for me and my family. Naturally me being me, I spark it up with shallots and prosciutto. Prosciutto and peas, no matter what kind of peas, is a surprisingly fabulous side dish. You should try it (if you eat pork that is).
  • Cakes and tarts. Yes, even a birthday cake is in the cards. Try my Chocolate Pecan Cake for one, or a lemon or French Apple Custard Tart.
  • Good ole mac & cheese. Alas, there is no substitute — even from the blue box, the sight of a plate or bowl of this can send my resolve to stay healthy down the drain. My “Almost Mac & Cheese” using spaghetti squash, tastes almost as good.

Do you want me to lie to you and tell you that it is all good? I won’t do that. I still miss corn on the cob and French bread slathered in butter. So when summer is here, and corn is at its best, I treat (not cheat) myself to an ear. I may want more. but this is ok. As for French bread, my birthday and New Year’s breakfast serve as acceptable excuses for this treat. Both the corn and the bread show up on the table once in awhile, and knowing that sometimes I will have it makes all the difference.

The way I have found it works for me is to make what I can eat so appetizing to others that they and I don’t seem to miss the really few things I shouldn’t eat. For some things, moderation works fine. I still make potatoes, and if a dish really needs rice, I make a little to support the dish, and enjoy my “taste-lette.”

As I keep telling you, it gets better, it gets easier! And even the family will love all the creative new things you can make. Remember you can still take the gang out to dinner and usually find something on the menu that works for your needs.

Enjoy, be happy, be healthy, be creative…and be Decadent! –w!

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