Healthy cooking methods to minimize comorbidities associated with diabetes
- Many dairy products used in cooking and baking are high in fat. You can lower the fat content without compromising taste. Instead of whole milk, use 1% or skim milk, condensed skim milk, or fat free milk. Instead of sour cream, try low-fat or non-fat plain yogurt, buttermilk, or even low-fat cottage cheese (you may need to blend it first to make it smooth.)
To make a sauce that calls for cream or whole milk, use skimmed milk.
- Reduce the amount of sugar you use while baking. You can also substitute sugars and icing you use with flavours and spices like vanilla, cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg If you have to use sugar or artificial sweeteners, then use them in moderation.
- Choose carbs that have more fibre because they increases your satiety. When a recipe calls for “white” flour, “white” rice, or other refined grains, try substituting the white flour with whole wheat flour, brown rice, or other whole-grain flours or grain products. You can also use nuts such as almond or hazelnut (filbert) or you can mix several of these whole-grain ingredients together in the same recipe.
- It is possible to reduce the amount of salt used in a recipe, or skip the salt entirely when cooking and substitute it with spices, citrus and herbs or lemon/lime garlic, add flavour to the food.
Minimize your use of pickled foods; these foods are high in added sodium. If you cant help it, go for the low sodium or unsalted options. If possible, always go for fresh foods.
- When cooking meats,
- Avoiding direct exposure of meat to an open flame or a hot metal surface and avoiding prolonged cooking times (especially at high temperatures) can help reduce HCA (Heterocyclic amines) and PAH (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) formation which have been found to increase risk of some cancers.
- Choose only lean cuts of meat and skinless poultry
- Trim away any visible fat from the meat before cooking
- Choose low fat methods like grilling, baking, broiling, poaching, stir-frying, roasting, boiling, and steaming which tend to use less amounts of heat and oils. Minimize your consumption of deep fried foods
- Measure ingredients accurately
- Minimize consumption of processed meats like bacon ham, jerky, sausages, and hotdogs. Processed foods impact nutrient intake as they are typically low in fibre, micronutrients, and phytochemicals, yet high in unhealthy fats, sugar, and sodium
Avoid margarine or cream-based sauces on vegetables. For recipes that require use of butter, margarine, lard, and creams, replace these fats with vegetable-based oils.
Oils to use when cooking
- Good oils contain monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats that are key in lowering LDLs and increasing HDLs levels in the body. Over-heating (heating the oil past its smoke point) the cooking is not recommended since it results in the formation of free radicals that cause oxidative stress and induce damage at the cellular and molecular levels. To know that oil has reached its smoking point, you will notice smoke or fumes emanating from the oil. At this point the damage is done and it is best to discard the oil and use fresh oil with lower heat.
- Some of the healthy oils to use when cooking include olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil, soybean oil, sunflower oil, avocado oil, sesame oil and groundnut oil. The use of olive oil for cooking has been associated with reduced incidence of obesity and cardiovascular events, as well as cardiovascular and all-cause mortality as long as it is not heated past its smoking point. In case you want to minimize the risk, you can have it raw in salads.