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Why should you eat more vegetables with diabetes?

Sometimes, you don’t know which dietary advice to believe. What’s truly healthy? One thing everyone agrees on, at least, is that eating enough vegetables is crucial for your health. Vegetables are packed with vitamins and minerals while being relatively low in carbohydrates and high in fiber.

Fiber not only provides a feeling of fullness after meals and promotes good digestion but is also essential for your blood sugar levels. Meals rich in fiber help slow down the rise of your blood sugar levels. Consequently, vegetables are incredibly beneficial and important for people with type 2 diabetes.

The guideline recommends consuming 250 grams of vegetables per day, preferably even more. Most people don’t meet this recommendation, partly because dinner is often the only meal that includes vegetables. And then, 250 grams can be quite a lot! Therefore, in this blog, we provide 9 tips to help you eat more vegetables.

 

1. Half of your plate with vegetables

Half of your plate filled with vegetables is a good guideline and beneficial for your blood sugar levels! Whether you choose fresh, frozen, or canned vegetables, all are nutritious choices. Just make sure that canned or jarred vegetables don’t contain added salt or sugar.

2. Vegetables on your sandwich

Don’t limit your sandwich toppings to savory spreads; feel free to add some vegetables. Raw vegetables like lettuce, strips of bell pepper, cucumber slices, tomato, and avocado are always great choices. Consider grilled or sautéed vegetables like zucchini or mushrooms. They pair well with cottage cheese, dairy spread, tzatziki, or hummus. Alternatively, create your own vegetable-based spread, such as a beet-goat cheese spread, or puree grilled peppers, eggplant, zucchini, or other vegetables for a tasty topping on your bread or high-fiber cracker.

3. Egg and vegetables: an easy combo

With eggs and vegetables, you have endless possibilities. Leeks, carrots, onions, bell peppers, spinach, peas, mushrooms, tomatoes, or other (stir-fried) vegetables can easily be incorporated into an omelet. Stir-fry the vegetables with some herbs, pour two beaten eggs (optional with two tablespoons of milk) over them, and let it cook. Or make your own egg salad with boiled eggs, mayonnaise, herbs, and tomatoes, arugula, endive, celery, bell pepper, or other raw vegetables. Search for inspiration online! There are plenty of variations to explore.

4. Eat vegetables as snacks

You can enjoy vegetables as snacks without significantly affecting your blood sugar levels since they are low in carbohydrates. Try slicing a bell pepper in half and spreading it with cottage cheese, hummus, or (Greek) yogurt dip. Pair celery with 100% peanut butter or simply choose snackable vegetables like cucumber, tomato, radish, or carrot. Incorporating vegetables into your snacks helps you easily meet the daily recommendation.

5. Boost sauces with extra vegetables

You can easily add more vegetables to sauces like pasta sauce or curry; broccoli or cauliflower florets, bell peppers, zucchini, cabbage, carrots, pumpkin, green beans, onions, and leeks all work well. In fact, you can include almost any vegetable in a sauce. Serve the sauce as is or puree it until smooth. Just don’t strain the sauce, as that would remove the fiber (the skins), and your blood sugar levels might rise more quickly.

6. Include soup in your menu

Have soup more often. Not the processed, salty soups from cans or packets at the supermarket, but homemade ones. They are delightful as a snack or as a meal. The same principle applies to soups as to sauces. You can make soup from any single vegetable or a combination of vegetables. It becomes even richer in fiber and protein when you add meat, fish, or legumes. Good for your blood sugar levels!

7. Add vegetables to your smoothie

If you make smoothies with (Greek) yogurt or quark and fruit, try adding vegetables. (Frozen) kale, spinach, celery, bok choy, lettuce, or avocado can be easily mixed in. Although the fiber from the vegetables gets finely ground, it doesn’t get lost. It only happens when you strain vegetables or process them in a juicer. In that case, the fiber remains, and you miss out on its beneficial properties.

8. Salads as a meal or side dish

You can pack salads with vegetables! Have some raw vegetables with your lunch or dinner, or enjoy a meal-sized salad. You can build a meal-sized salad as follows:

– Base of lettuce or green leafy vegetables like spinach.
– Whole grain couscous, whole grain pasta, lentils, chickpeas, beans, quinoa, cold (sweet) potato, or brown rice added (note: these products contain carbohydrates, so be mindful of your portion size).
– Green beans, snow peas, grilled zucchini or eggplant, endive, carrot, broccoli, beets, red cabbage, cucumber, tomato, or any other vegetables you like.
– Chicken, shrimp, salmon, tuna, feta, mozzarella, blue cheese, egg, tempeh, tofu, or any other protein source.
– Topping of nuts, seeds, or seeds for a crunchy bite.
– Dressing

9. Replace (part of) mashed potatoes, brown rice, and pasta with vegetables

Pasta, rice, and potatoes are rich in carbohydrates. By replacing some of these ingredients in your meal with vegetables, you reduce the amount of carbohydrates on one hand and increase the intake of vegetables and fiber on the other. Think of lasagna with ‘sheets’ of zucchini, a mash with celeriac-potato puree, or a curry where you replace part of the rice with cauliflower rice. Good for your health and your blood sugar levels!

 

There are plenty of ways to eat more vegetables. Knowing this is step 1, but it’s much more valuable when you can see that it also has an effect on your blood sugar levels. This is motivating! Do you want to know if eating more vegetables affects your blood sugar levels and if it can help you lower them? Clear.bio can assist you. Check out the possibilities here.

 

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