June 8, 2010

Cooking and Cookbooks – Diabetes Style

For people with diabetes, most look for carb count and fiber content. They think that maybe cookbooks with diabetic in the title are the answer. Most soon find out like I did that this route is not the answer. Many, if not most, have recipes that are not friendly to people with diabetes, most are too high in carbohydrates. These cookbooks masquerading as diabetic friendly exist for one purpose only. That is to extract money from unsuspecting newly diagnosed people with diabetes and their families. Unlike the Sears-Roebuck catalogs of old, they do not have a dual usage.

There are many websites that have good recipes, but many do not have the nutritional information with them. Some do, but often take much research to find them. I am aware of some of the diabetes forums that have a library of recipes. Some have nutritional information, but not the number of servings. Some have now gone the extra mile and made it possible to calculate the ingredients for varying servings. Two forums that have recipes with nutritional information and servings number are dLife and diabetes daily.

People should not overlook cookbooks that have been around for many years. Betty Crocker's Cookbook, ninth edition and later have the nutrition and servings number with each recipe. Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook copyright 1996 and later has the nutritional information and includes the servings number. I have found these two cookbooks to be invaluable and have used them to approximate the nutritional value for some of the recipes in the older editions which I find to be healthier. While the older recipes often use ingredients sometimes not available on today's grocery shelves, most are available.

Another cookbook now available today is The Taste of Home Cookbook. Be sure to read the guidelines printed on the copyright page for how the nutritional data is calculated. I have tried to ask questions, but their editors have not felt it necessary to answer my emails. There may be other cookbooks that have the nutritional information and servings number; however, these are the only cookbooks in my collection that do.

When I use a recipe, I try to use those for two or three servings, realizing that I will need to cut that in half for me and possibly even more.  That makes a recipe that says serves two a recipe serving at least four or six.  I always plan on freezing a portion for use later.

There are more resources available to help you today than even ten years ago, so don't become discouraged and let denial get in your way of eating healthy for control of your diabetes. Alan Shanley, an outstanding blogger from Australia has some excellent pointers for people new and old to diabetes. Get started by following him here – be sure to follow his links to more information.  When a fellow blogger has excellent information, I don't like reinventing the wheel, so I will always recommend reading them.

There are other ways to determine the nutritional value. Here are a few sites to assist you.  On these sites you will need to join to be able to use their information.

1.Site one - There is a cost to join this site
2.Site two - I believe this one is free
3.Site three - This one is free

There are many nutrition and calorie calculators available on the web, just use caution and realize that you will not be 100% accurate as they all read from the same nutritional database and you may be off +/- 20%. Use your search engine and get started by typing in “nutrition calculator”.

And there is always the best way, using your meter to determine the serving size for you. And always follow the rule of what works for one person may not work for you.

If you don't like bland foods, check out my post of May 30, 2010. There will be more.

2 comments:

Brenda F. Bell said...

The nutrition labeling method I've seen on foods imported from Europe and the Middle East is to label for 100 g; you calculate up or down from there based on the weight of what you consume. As a person with a digital scale, I like this method better than the American method -- especially when a 454 g (1 lb) can is marked for a 250 g serving, with the can having "about 2" servings. (Or maybe it's a 500 g can marked for "about 2" 8-oz (227 g) servings...)

Some foods don't freeze well and should be consumed the next day (or with a friend); others need to be consumed at the time they are made.

Livestrong.com has a free version of "My Daily Plate", including "My Plate D" which also tracks blood glucose. These are available from the desktop. If you want to use the mobile Web app to log food while away from home, you then need to upgrade to paid membership. Also, the iPhone, Blackberry, and Android-specific versions of Livestrong require an additional fee.

Bob Fenton said...

Thanks Brenda for your input. There is always more and I make no claim to have exhausted all resources, so I appreciate others thoughts.