October 1, 2023

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Healthy meal tips for type 2 diabetes

Discover heart-healthy recipes and grocery tips with Victoria’s chef Dan Hayes and Cart2Table

Heart health and a healthy diet go hand-in-hand. While nutrition is important for all, it is especially critical for those living with type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes, where the body has trouble regulating blood sugar because the body can’t properly use the insulin it produces or their bodies aren’t able to produce enough insulin. However, with healthy practices, including exercise and a heart-friendly diet, you can manage the condition with simple changes to your lifestyle. 

In fact, some meal changes might even broaden your horizons to dishes and cuisines you may not have considered! With summer being a busy time full of social gatherings, travel and other events, you may think navigating nutritious eating might be tricky.   

Luckily, Victoria’s classically trained French chef Dan Hayes, in partnership with Cart2Table, can help empower you to maintain a healthy lifestyle throughout the season with delicious heart-friendly recipes, grocery advice and diabetes management tips. 

Mediterranean eating

Chef Dan is passionate about Mediterranean-inspired dishes and believes it’s how we should be eating, focusing on fruits and vegetables; whole grains; legumes; and lean proteins. 

“For me, the philosophy of Mediterranean food is light, fresh, clean,” he explains. “It’s about eating reasonable portions of a wide variety of delicious and nutritious foods. Everything in moderation. Get the best quality you can afford, sit down, slow down, and enjoy it.”

Heart-healthy cooking

Chef Dan Hayes. Photo via Cart2Table.

Chef Dan imparts his teaching philosophy through his virtual cooking school, The London Chef. Hosting six virtual cooking classes monthly, Chef Dan conducts one-hour long cooking classes where students make three or four things that come together as a meal.

Through his partnership with Cart2Table, Dan will be hosting a cooking class this fall, where readers can learn more tips and tricks while he cooks delicious and heart-healthy type 2 diabetes recipes. 

“Healthy food doesn’t need to be expensive, time-consuming or complicated,” reveals Chef Dan. “I like to make cooking cool, fun and easy. If you learn the techniques, understand the methods and develop true cooking skills, preparing a healthy meal is fast and easy. High-quality ingredients full of flavour are key, and local is best.”

He continues that easy food swaps can help make your dishes diabetes-friendly. Like “Dan’s Filet-O-Fish” recipe, with smoky yam wedges instead of fries. Cart2Table offers an extensive list of ingredient substitutions on its website to make things that much easier. 

“Skip the sugary white hotdog bun at the BBQ,” suggests Chef Dan. “Instead, eat the wiener, corn, and salad, and carry almonds to snack on.”

Diabetes-friendly grocery shopping

“It’s important to make cooking part of family life,” says Chef Dan. “Involve your kids in the shopping process and make it fun. Go grocery shopping and then figure out what you’re having for dinner—see what’s on offer, what looks fresh.”

Shop the outer aisles of the grocery store first, and look to diabetes-friendly superfoods like dark leafy green vegetables (spinach, kale, collard greens), berries (strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries), fish (salmon, trout), beans (kidney, black beans), and milk and yogurt: low-fat items with no added sugar.

Also, choose whole grains over refined grains such as whole grain bread or crackers, brown or wild rice, quinoa, oatmeal, barley, nuts (almonds), and seeds (chia seeds, flaxseeds, hemp seeds). Consider healthy proteins like shellfish, poultry (chicken, turkey), eggs, and tofu.

“I really enjoy creating healthy recipes for Cart2Table and hopefully helping people along the way of how it’s possible to have great food that fits in well with their dietary requirements.”

For diabetes-friendly, heart-healthy recipes and more, visit cart2table.ca.