Courtesy of Marissa Minderler, Dietetic Intern, USC Leonard Davis Gerontology
reviewed by Andrea Guastamacchio, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Torrance Memorial
34 million Americans are currently affected by diabetes. An additional
88 million Americans have prediabetes, which can progress to Type II diabetes
if left unmanaged.
March 23rd is Diabetes Alert Day and aims to bring awareness to these conditions and to the fact that committing
to dietary and lifestyle changes can improve blood sugar and reduce risks
of complications from diabetes.
Let’s start by looking at ways you can initiate changes in your diet by
personalizing your plate. Personalizing your plate involves customizing meals to fit your nutritional
wants and needs. Perhaps it’s preparing foods to enhance flavor,
looking for ways to reduce additional salt and sugar, or making substitutions
that can replace dairy and minimize gluten. Maybe you’d like to
experiment with “Meatless Mondays” and start incorporating
more plant-based meals. Below are suggestions on how to personalize your plate:
Tips to personalize your plate:
For reducing sugar: add cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg or enhance sweetness of vegetables by roasting
with olive oil and balsamic vinegar
For reducing salt: add bright, bold and fresh ingredients lemon or lime juice, basil, rosemary,
cilantro, curry, dill, smoked paprika
To increase spice: add chili, cayenne pepper, black pepper or jalapeno
When substituting dairy: try plant-based milks like almond milk, soy milk, or oat milk
To minimize gluten: choose buckwheat, sorghum, or quinoa
To incorporate plant-based proteins: include tofu, tempeh, hemp hearts and beans
Another excellent way to make healthy changes to your food choices is to
modify favorite recipes by adjusting some of the ingredients that may
negatively impact diabetes. Take for example the traditional fish taco.
Most often the traditional fish taco is beer battered and fried, served
on a corn or flour tortilla, topped with cabbage, and drizzled in a white
creamy fish sauce. While it may make your taste buds dance, it is laden
with processed carbohydrates, fat, and sodium that are not as beneficial
for your body as your taste buds may make you think. Modifying this recipe
can yield a more healthful version of a fish taco that provides quality
nutrients and removes some of the processed ingredients that can spike
Below is the recipe for a
Salmon Lettuce Wrap with a Ginger Lime Slaw. The salmon provides healthy Omega 3 fatty acids that have been known
to defend against cardiovascular disease, vitamin D3 for bone health and
immune support, and protein for tissue repair. The ginger lime slaw contains
ginger and garlic, both of which are known to offer immune boosting benefits.
Research has shown that ginger has strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory
properties, making it a big defender against cell damage. It may also
assist with insulin sensitivity and blood sugar regulation. Garlic has
been known to have antiviral and antibacterial properties and may even
help reduce LDL cholesterol.
Salmon Lettuce Wrap with a Ginger Lime Slaw Recipe
Diabetes Alert Day, we invite you to personalize your plate with simple modifications that
can still delight your taste buds while also positively impacting your health.
For more information on our Outpatient Diabetes Education program,
If you have questions or are interested in learning more techniques to
help build a healthy and nutritious lifestyle, contact one of our specialists with the
Diabetes Self-Management Program located in the
Torrance Memorial Specialty Center, 2841 Lomita Blvd., Suite 335, Torrance or our
Registered Dietitian Nutritionists at the
Outpatient Medical Nutrition Therapy Office.