Noodles can be a tricky food for people with diabetes since they are high in carbs, a carbohydrate that impacts blood sugar levels. Traditional pasta, rice noodles and spaghetti can all cause blood sugar spikes, making them a no-go for many people with diabetes. However, shirataki noodles are a fantastic option for those looking to reduce their carb intake. They have a low glycemic index, meaning they won’t cause a rapid rise in blood glucose. Whole-grain pasta can also be a great option since it contains more fiber which slows the absorption of carbs into the bloodstream. When preparing a pasta dish, it’s essential to take into account the number of carbohydrates in the dish and adjust the serving sizes accordingly. By being mindful of carb intake and choosing lower-carb noodle options, people with diabetes can still enjoy noodle dishes without negatively impacting their blood sugar levels.
A healthy diabetic diet focuses on whole grains, fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Foods high in saturated and trans fats added sugar, sodium, refined grains, and fatty meats should be avoided because these can contribute to weight gain, obesity, diabetic complications, and other diseases like cancer, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
Noodles are a type of grain. Federal dietary guidelines recommend making at least half of all grains whole grain. Whole wheat, brown rice, quinoa, and barley are types of whole grains. Whole grains contain more vitamins, minerals, and fiber than refined grains because they are less processed. MayoClinic.com says fiber slows sugar absorption, which can improve blood sugar levels. Fiber can also help lower cholesterol, increase satiety and improve digestive health. Easy-to-find whole-grain noodles include whole wheat or whole-grain pasta, quinoa pasta, and brown rice noodles.
The American Diabetes Association says to control portion size by making 25 percent of your plate grains or starch. Diabetics that use the diabetes exchange list can consider 1/3 cup of cooked noodles or pasta one serving or one starch exchange. 1/3 cup of whole wheat pasta has approximately 58 calories, 2 grams of protein, 12 grams of carbohydrate, 1 to 2 grams of fiber, and less than 1 gram of fat. It is also a good source of iron, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin E, and B vitamins.
Diabetics can make healthy choices when ordering noodles away from home. Order boiled or baked noodles and avoid those that have been fried or stir-fried. The latter are cooked using a lot of oil, which increases calories and fat. Avoid pasta in cream or butter sauce and order tomato sauce instead. Cream and butter are high in saturated fat and cholesterol, which can increase blood cholesterol and triglycerides and contribute to heart disease. Garnish pasta dishes with hard cheeses like Parmesan, Asiago, or pecorino romano; these are lower in fat than mozzarella and cheddar and more flavorful. Eat a sensible portion by sharing a main dish, ordering a noodle appetizer as a main dish, or eating half of what is served and packing the remainder for another meal.
Keep noodles healthy by serving them with other nutrient-dense foods. Incorporate an assortment of colorful vegetables into hot or cold pasta, serve Asian noodles over a bed of steamed greens, and substitute regular ground beef with ground chicken for a healthier version of spaghetti and meatballs. Dried or fresh noodles are both nutritious but avoid noodles that have been previously deep-fried because they are higher in calories and fat.
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