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***This is a sponsored post. I received a copy of The Diabetes Prevention & Management Cookbook by Johanna Burkhard and Barbara Allan, RD, CDE for purpose of review. All opinions expressed are my own. Now with that out of the way…***

I grew up with a grandmother with diabetes as well as a cousin with juvenile diabetes. It was something that was all around and I didn’t think too much about it. When I was 19 and diagnosed as hypoglycemic (low blood sugar) and told that it was a good bet that in 30 years or so my pancreas might give out and I’d swing over to diabetes (hyperglycemia), I also wasn’t all that shocked.

[It hasn't happened yet, by the way, but my endocrinologist does check my fasting glucose every 6 months when he checks my thyroid levels (just in case anyone was prone to worry).]

Back then, I was told to follow a “diabetic diet” by my gp, as the two disorders were treated the same, with low blood sugar not quite as worrisome but still meddlesome. You know that scene from Steel Magnolias? I’ve been there a few times. This directive also caused me some other issues because using the diabetic substituted was doing more harm than good for my system. These days there’s no such thing as a diabetic diet, but there are guidelines when it comes making healthy choices that will minimally impact your blood sugar level, which is where a book like The Diabetes Prevention & Management Cookbook can definitely come in handy.

It’s not just a cookbook, the first half is a primer on what diabetes is and ways to live with the diagnosis. It also deals a lot with strategies for those with pre-diabetes that can help avoid escalation of blood sugar/insulin imbalances. There are sample meal plans and guides on appropriate-calorie snacks to help maintain stability without putting on weight. Of all the many books I’ve read over the years about nutrition and diabetes in particular (a lot of my own journey with low blood sugar has been dependent on self-study), I’ve found this to be both comprehensive and easily understandable book on the subject, breaking it down into 10 steps for the prevention and management of diabetes.

Whether you’re diagnosed or predisposed to diabetes or not, the majority of the recipes are good, solid food for anyone. As is our usual practice, we dove into the cookbook portion of the book and made several of the 150 recipes and enjoyed every one of them.

Creamy Tuna Pasta Bake (p.300) and Parsley Baby Carrots (p.325)
Creamy Tuna Pasta Bake (p.300) and Parsley Baby Carrots (p.325)

Creamy Tuna Pasta Bake

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C)
  • 13- by 9-inch (33 by 23 cm) glass baking dish, sprayed with vegetable oil cooking spray

Makes 8 servings

1 Tbsp canola oil
4 cups sliced mushrooms
1 cup sliced green onions
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups low-fat (1%) milk
1 cup Low-Sodium Chicken Stock (p.204) or low-sodium or no-salt-added ready-to-use chicken broth
3 tomatoes, seeded and diced
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
3 cups penne or spiral pasta
4 cups broccoli florets and chopped peeled stems
2 cans (each 6 oz/170 g) water-packed light tuna, drained and flaked
1 cup fresh whole wheat bread crumbs
1 cup shredded light Gouda or Cheddar cheese

  1. In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, green onions and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until softened.
  2. In a bow, whisk flour and 1 cup (250 mL) of the milk until smooth. Whisk in the remaining milk. Add to pan, along with stock, and bring to a boil, stirring. Boil, stirring, for 3 minutes or until sauce thickens. Remove from heat and stir in tomatoes, Parmesan, basil, pepper and salt.
  3. In a large pot of boiling water, cook pasta for 7 minutes or until almost tender. Add broccoli and cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until pasta is al dente and broccoli is bright green and still crisp. Drain and chill under cold running water. Drain well and return to pot. Stir in tuna and sauce. Spread in prepared baking dish.
  4. In a bowl, combine bread crumbs and Gouda; sprinkle over top.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes or until topping is golden and center is piping hot.

Nutrition info per 1 1/2 cups (375 mL): Calories 333, Carbohydrate 42g, Fiber 5g, Protein 25g, Fat 7g, Saturated Fat 3g, Cholesterol 26mg, Sodium 472mg

Food Choices: 2 Carboydrate, 2 Meat & Alternatives, 1/2 Fat

We cut this in half, of course, and left out the mushrooms and broccoli (both being High-FODMAP vegetables), but with them this is easily an all-in-one meal. Maybe add a green salad if you’re looking to round out the plate a bit. I remember not agreeing with their method of making the sauce, so used the standard sauce protocol of starting with a roux (from the oil and flour) and then whisking in the liquids a little at a time. Were I the one writing this recipe, I also would have put the pasta as step 1, and started step 2 with “Meanwhile…” but that’s just armchair editing. This was a wonderful take on the the standard tuna noodle casserole–comfort food that doesn’t have to be done away with when you’re making healthy choices.

Thyme-Roasted Chicken (p.268) and Ginger Brown Basmati Rice (p.311)
Thyme-Roasted Chicken (p.268) and Ginger Brown Basmati Rice (p.311)

This was the rice dish that took longer than the chicken I prepared in the pressure cooker. Both were quite tasty though the rice was a little softer than we usually prefer.

Sweet-and-Sour Pineapple Meatballs (p.255)
Sweet-and-Sour Pineapple Meatballs (p.255)

Loaded with vegetables, this dish starts with their Meatball recipes on page 254 (that makes 64 meatballs). If you make the full complement of meatballs you’ll use half of them for this recipe and be able to put the others away in the freezer for another use.

Shrimp and Vegetable Spring Rolls (p.196) and Asian Beef Noodle Soup (p.206)
Shrimp and Vegetable Spring Rolls (p.196) and Asian Beef Noodle Soup (p.206)

I won’t be adding spring-roll roller to my resume any time soon (those rice-paper wrappers are finicky, to say the least) but they made a very tasty accompaniment to this hot and flavorful soup.

Baked Cinnamon French Toast with Strawberries (p.176)
Baked Cinnamon French Toast with Strawberries (p.176)

We love having breakfast for dinner so much that I picked this French toast recipe for my birthday dinner this year. She bakes hers to cut down on the fat, but it took a while to cook. I probably could have done my usual and put them on the non-stick electric griddle and gotten the same benefit. Instead of the syrup or sugar that usually tops French toast, she suggests strawberry yogurt and sliced berries. This was rather inspired, frankly, and something I’ll be keeping in mind for the future.

Grilled Salmon and Romaine Salad (p.223)
Grilled Salmon and Romaine Salad (p.223)

The salad was good, but I wasn’t a huge fan of the dressing–too much parsley for me. It made a fabulous marinade for the salmon, though, so I think I’d just use it for that and make up a standard vinaigrette to dress the rest of the salad.

 

Parmesan Two-Potato Bake (p.338)
Parmesan Two-Potato Bake (p.338)

Another recipe that was fabulous but that I’d tweak a bit if I make it again, this called for alternating layers or white and sweet potatoes with all of the cheese and seasoning on top. While visually pleasing, it meant the potatoes below the top layer didn’t get the full benefit of flavor (and we all know white potatoes need all the help they can get), so I’d probably toss it all together before putting in the baking dish.

 

Leek, Potato and Kale Soup (p.217)
Leek, Potato and Kale Soup (p.217)

We popped this one into the crock pot one day and came home to a very nice soup supper on a cold, rainy spring day. They didn’t call for the shredded Parm but just about everything is better with a bit of cheese on top.

Chicken Shepherd's Pie (p.276)
Chicken Shepherd’s Pie (p.276)

Shepherd’s pie is another one of those comfort foods that is nice and reliable but can use an update from time to time. This one got a lift from ground chicken instead of beef, and I substituted chopped eggplant for the mushrooms usually called for. The sweet potato topping, though, was the real innovation and was a great choice. We’ll definitely be keeping this one in the dinner rotation.

Chicken Stir-Fry with Rice Noodles and Vegetables (p.273)
Chicken Stir-Fry with Rice Noodles and Vegetables (p.273)

Finally, this stir-fry was another favorite because it uses one of my favorite noodles. These rice noodles (also known as cellophane noodles or Mai Fun) only need a soak in hot water to become pliable and mostly cooked, and then a quick swirl in whatever sauce and flavorings that you care to add. Since snow peas are High-FODMAP, the substitution we went with was the safe green bean. Still got the goal accomplished, though!

Overall, if you’re looking for a guide to diabetes management, you could do far worse. Whether your doctor has mentioned you need to make a change or you have friends or family who you want to be able to cook better meals for when they come to dinner, The Diabetes Prevention & Management Cookbook can help you with those plans.


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