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Diabetic Entrée

Diabetic Entrée is a dish that forms either the main course (as in the U.S.)  of a Diabetic meal or in classic/formal dining (as in the UK), the dish that just precedes the main course or in between two principal courses of a meal.  According to French usage, it marks the 'coming in' or 'entrance' to a meal, characterised by a distinctive dish served at the beginning of a main meal.   A diabetic meal should be carefully planned and executed to provide the correct balance of nutrients and to ensure that the individual in no way feels deprived. Therefore an ideal diabetic entrée, when served in controlled portions, should provide the appropriate nutrients without causing any untoward elevation in blood sugar levels. It should come as a promising start to a great meal ahead.

 

Features of a Diabetic Entrée

 

There are several considerations that go into making a good diabetic entrée, some of them are-

  1. As diabetics are on a calorie restricted diet, each course may be pre-assigned a certain number of calories within which the item must be prepared.
  2. Glycemic index rating of different foods must be taken into account.
  3. Carbohydrate composition of foods used must be taken into account. Carbohydrate and sugar intake should be within strict limits. Those foods with more of complex carbohydrates (fibre-rich foods) that have lower calorie-density must be selected instead of those with higher simple sugar content.
  4. Number of servings of food from various food groups should be determined. 
  5. Fat intake must be checked as Diabetics are usually overweight and need to work on losing weight for better sugar control. Use of only lean meats, skin-less poultry or fish in moderate quantities is allowed.
  6. All types of vegetables with focus on green leafy vegetables are suggested.
  7. Whole-grains, cereals, legumes, pulses, beans which provide a feeling of satiety even in small amounts, are encouraged for use.
  8. The medium for cooking may be rice bran oil, olive oil, soy bean oil in limited amounts which are excellent sources of unsaturated fats.
  9. Herbs, spices and condiments can be used to make dishes flavourful while imparting healthful benefits.
  10. Type of fruit and numbers allowed is limited.
  11. Protein-rich foods like whites of eggs, soy products and low fat dairy products may be used.
  12. The cooking process employed should bring about minimal nutrient loss and attempt to retain maximum freshness and sensory characteristics.

 

Careful portioning and thoughtful usage of ingredients can result in the development of interesting diabetic entrée recipes such as –

 

  • Herbed Lemon chicken
  • Lentil cottage cheese pie
  • Mushroom and artichoke with glazed orange and ginger sauce
  • Tofu stir-fry
  • Tarragon chicken with carrot and leek sticks
  • Baked cajun-spiced fish with bell pepper salsa
  • Salmon pin-wheel salad
  • Cabbage rolls stuffed with garden vegetables and sundried tomatoes

 

These are just some examples of recipes which can be served as Diabetic Entrees, preparing them in a diabetes-friendly manner, considering all the dietary restrictions and portion control methods. 

 

Benefits of Diabetic Entrée

 

  1. It is possible to create diabetic entree dishes under 15 g of carbohydrates by following the guidelines.
  2. Majority of these recipes are high on protein and complex carbohydrates that provide a feeling of satiety keeping diabetics satisfied for longer, preventing them from reaching out for unhealthy options in the main course.
  3. Using different ingredients offers variety and breaks monotony, thereby bringing the feeling of satisfaction at the end of a wholesome meal and reducing any feelings of deprivation.
  4. With the goal being, to try and maintain the blood glucose levels as close to normal as possible, throughout the day, a small course like an entrée will help to kick-start the digestive action and also help to regulate blood sugar levels.
  5.  Exercising caution in timing and planning all courses of the meal will help diabetics to maintain a more acceptable level of blood glucose leading to greater success in management of diabetes.

 

Trivia

 

Rarely sugar-substitutes like Splenda or natural versions like Stevia may be incorporated into the recipes but it is advisable to not become too dependent on them.