If you have diabetes, should you stop eating bread, rice and pasta?
While everyone with diabetes and pre-diabetes benefits from eliminating processed grains – like white rice, cold cereals, white bread and certain snack foods – from their diets, some individuals benefit from avoiding whole grain products as well.
When you enjoy whole grains, you benefit from the bran, endosperm and germ, which include the fiber and nutrients that the grain stores. When you eat processed grains, you only consume the starchy center of the grain, missing out on fiber, oils and magnesium, which help you maintain good blood sugar control. Whole grains offer a slower conversion of starch to sugar, and they lower blood sugar and insulin levels after meals.
Barley is an excellent example of the many healthy grain varieties readily available today. It contains more fiber and nutrients than white and brown rice. Barley also has a low glycemic index and won’t raise blood sugar levels as much as brown rice after meals. Try our delicious Mediterranean Barley Salad recipe here.
Quinoa, amaranth and buckwheat are pseudo-grains that don’t seem to raise blood sugar levels as much as true grains. Quinoa makes a delicious pilaf or hot cereal and can be used in salads and soups. Cream of buckwheat cereal is an excellent option for breakfast.
Avoiding or reducing grains at meals can lead to improvements in health for some individuals. However, it is important to follow a healthy diet that is sustainable in the long run. Remember to check out our cooking videos and download our recipes at yrmchealthconnect.org. You can also follow us on Facebook at YRMC’s Your Healthy Kitchen. Your Healthy Kitchen is one of the many ways that Yavapai Regional Medical Center offers health education and support to the people of Yavapai County.
Mediterranean Barley Salad
Makes about 6 cups
- 1 cup hulled barley
- 3 cups water
- 1- 1½ pound eggplant, cut into ½ inch slabs
- ¾ pound zucchini, cut into ½ inch slabs
- ½ pint cherry tomatoes, cut in halves or quarters
- 1 pint white button mushrooms, wiped clean with a damp towel
- ⅓ cup sliced Kalamata olives, rinsed
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- Zest of one lemon
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup (optional)
- 1-2 big pinches of ground coriander
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ¼ – ½ cup chopped fresh mint
- ¼ – ½ cup chopped fresh basil
- Place barley and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and cover the pot.
- Simmer about 40 minutes, until barley is tender. Meanwhile, heat a grill to medium hot.
- Brush one side of the eggplant with 1-2 tablespoons olive oil and place the oiled side of the eggplant on the grill. Place zucchini and mushrooms on the grill. Cook until veggies have nice grilling marks on them. Turn veggies over and cook until tender.
- When cool enough to handle, cut veggies into bite-sized pieces and place in a bowl.
- Make dressing by combining 3 tablespoons olive oil, lemon juice and zest, maple syrup (if using), coriander, salt and pepper. Set aside.
- When barley is cooked, let cool slightly then add to vegetables in the bowl, along with the olives and dressing. Toss with the fresh herbs and serve at room temperature on a bed of salad greens.
PER 1 CUP SERVING:
280 CAL, 14 G FAT (1.5 G SAT FAT), 260 MG SOD, 34 G CAR, 9 G FIB
Article and recipe provided by Yavapai Regional Medical Center, YRMC HealthConnect, Your Healthy Kitchen at www.yrmchealthconnect.org.
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