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Laura Plunkett is the author of 'The Challenge of Childhood Diabetes: Family Strategies for Raising a Healthy Child'. For additional resources on eating healthier as a family, visit www.challengeofdiabetes.com.
I recently had the good fortune to come across two very good cookbooks for people with diabetes. The first is The All-Natural Diabetes Cookbook: The Whole Food Approach to Great Taste and Healthy Eating, by Jackie Newgent, RD, published by the American Diabetes Association.
This cookbook offers 150 all-natural recipes that use fresh, flavorful ingredients low in saturated fat and high in fiber and nutritional value. Because Ms. Newgent distrusts anything artificial, she sweetens her desserts with unrefined sugar, fruit, and honey instead of sugar-free products. Every recipe provides carbohydrate, calorie, fiber, protein, cholesterol, sugar and fat totals.
The recipes' carbohydrate totals range from 1 gram to 56 grams, so it's useful to keep in mind that not every recipe will be suitable for people who must avoid taking in too many carbs at one sitting.
In addition, the cookbook includes informative sections for the reader, such as "Achieving High-flavor Dishes Naturally," "33 Natural, No-Fuss Cooking and Baking Tips," and an extensive resources section.
It is available in bookstores nationwide and at http://store.diabetes.org for $18.95.
The second book is You CAN Eat That! Awesome Food for Kids with Diabetes, by Robyn Webb, MS. Ms. Webb has designed her cookbook to help parents prepare relatively healthy food that their children will eat. Her preface and introduction provide a basic understanding of diabetes management and nutritional guidelines.
Each simple recipe is accompanied by bright, inviting photographs and nutrition-per-serving information. With recipes such as "Cosmic Chili" and "Fat Blueberry Blast," even picky eaters are sure to be drawn to the kitchen.
There are creative ideas for home, lunch boxes, after-school snacks, picnics, and parties. Ms. Webb uses white flour, non-nutritive sweeteners, and processed foods such as Pillsbury pizza dough (1/6 of a package—65 grams—contains 31 grams of carbohydrates and 180 calories) to create flavors that kids will love. (Carbohydrate totals in all the recipes range from 1 gram to 45 grams.)
Her book can be ordered from www.Amazon.com for $19.95.
The philosophical differences between these cookbooks highlight the dilemma parents face when feeding their children. When my son Danny was diagnosed six years ago, he wouldn't eat anything with vegetables or whole grains, so I would have been better served by You Can Eat That. His blood sugars would have been high from the simple carbohydrates, but at least he would have eaten the meals.
In the intervening years, our whole family has adjusted to an all-natural whole foods way of eating, trusting that these are the best foods for a child with an autoimmune disorder. Now we would use The All-Natural Diabetes Cookbook because its emphasis on whole-grains and fruit as carbohydrate sources is likely to yield better blood sugar control and higher nutritional value.
Each parent will know which cookbook better suits the family's needs, and both books have wonderful recipes to offer.
Diabetes Health is the essential resource for people living with diabetes- both newly diagnosed and experienced as well as the professionals who care for them. We provide balanced expert news and information on living healthfully with diabetes. Each issue includes cutting-edge editorial coverage of new products, research, treatment options, and meaningful lifestyle issues.