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Cook's Corner

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If you go
What: YMCA of Greater Fort Wayne Diabetes Prevention Program
For information: 260-918-2148 or go to www.fwymca.org/diabetes_prevention.php
Diana Parker | The Journal Gazette
Susan King, left, and Kathy Wehrle encourage people to eat healthy meals such as OK Oatmeal with Strawberries and Almonds.

Diabetes experts tout balanced meals

– Thirty percent of Americans have diabetes and don’t even know it, says Susan King, Parkview Community Nursing diabetes educator.

Citing a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, by the year 2050, 1 in 3 people will have Type 2 diabetes. Ethnic groups have higher odds: 1 in 2.

“Almost 26 million people have it. I think the push is on the prediabetes. Above 20 years of age, 79 million Americans have diabetes,” King says.

Thus the message dietitians are sending is to eat balanced meals, which include healthy proteins, grains, vegetables and fruit.

“The (OK Oatmeal with Strawberries and Almonds) – the studies show the soluble fiber helps with blood sugar control. It’s a slow release into the bloodstream. Almonds give you a little bit of protein. Phytonutrients are in lots of plant foods like the berries. It’s a powerful fruit to include.

“(For the) salmon recipe – we encourage people to eat fish twice a week. White beans, you can have your starchy carbohydrates with your meal,” says Kathy Wehrle, a registered dietitian with Parkview Live.

“And this is something you can’t get in a vitamin,” adds King.

Wehrle says diabetics about 20 years ago would buy products such as diabetic cookies. But she says people are being encouraged now to eat more plant foods, including fruits and vegetables.

“The standard remains: Stay away from saturated fats, fatty meat, animals fats and use of the healthier plant oils like olive oil, canola, even avocados, nuts and seeds,” she says.

In addition to watching one’s fat and sugar intake, sodium and carbohydrates need to be monitored, too.

“Look at balanced carbohydrate counting,” Wehrle says. “It’s what the educators are teaching.”

Wehrle also says that better carbohydrates choices include those with soluble fiber.

“My plate is half a plate of vegetables with 1/4 meat and 1/4 starchy,” King says. “For every 1,000 calories, you’re suppose to have 14 grams of fiber. Most Americans don’t get that.”

When first diagnosed with diabetes, many people become overwhelmed about what to cook. Wehrle suggests going to the American Diabetes Association website, www.diabetes.org, for healthy recipes.

“I think if someone is diabetic or prediabetic, the diet is what everyone in the house eats; so if the adults in the house adopt a healthy lifestyle and eat healthy by focusing on fruits and vegetables, it (becomes) a lifestyle, not a diet,” King says.

OK Oatmeal with Strawberries and Almonds

1 cup gluten-free rolled oats

2 cups water

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup raspberry fruit spread

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

2 cups strawberries, quartered

1 ounce slivered almonds, toasted

Combine oats, water and salt in a medium pan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes, uncovered. Remove from heat and let stand 2 minutes. Place the fruit spread in a small microwave-safe bowl and cook on high setting for 15 seconds or until slightly melted. Remove oats from heat and stir in the extract. Spoon equal amounts of the oatmeal in 4 bowls. Top with 1 tablespoon fruit spread, 1/2 cup berries and 1 tablespoon almonds. Makes 4 1/2 cup servings.

Greek Salmon and Veggie Packets

Cooking spray

1/4 cup lemon juice

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon fresh oregano, minced

1 teaspoon salt (optional)

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 medium zucchini, thinly sliced

1 medium onion, thinly sliced

1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and sliced into thin strips

4 (4-ounce) salmon fillets, skinless

2 teaspoons olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray 4 8-by-8-inch sheets of aluminum foil with cooking spray. Set aside. Combine lemon juice, garlic, oregano, salt (if using) and pepper in a small bowl. Set aside. Place 1/4 of zucchini, onion and bell pepper on each sheet of foil. Top each one with a salmon fillet. Pour 1/4 of lemon juice mixture over each salmon fillet. Top with 1/2 teaspoon olive oil. Bring foil sides up on both sides and seal. Place on baking sheet and bake in oven for 20 minutes. Makes 4 servings. Safety tip: Be careful when opening the foil packets because the steam can burn you.

Cod on Roasted Pepper and White Beans

Fish:

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

4 (about 5 ounces each) fish fillets such as cod, rinsed and patted dry

1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

Beans:

1/4 cup water

1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added navy or Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained

16 pitted kalamata olives, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup diced roasted red peppers

2 medium garlic cloves, minced

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary or to taste

1/8 teaspoon salt

In a small bowl, combine the paprika, 1/4 teaspoon of salt and black pepper. Sprinkle both sides of the fillets with the paprika mixture. Heat 1 teaspoon of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook the fillets 4 minutes, turn and cook 3 minutes or until opaque in center. Meanwhile, bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat in a medium saucepan. Add the remaining bean ingredients. Cook 1 to 2 minutes to heat through. Remove from heat, cover and let stand while fish is cooking. To serve, place equal amounts of the bean mixture in each of 4 shallow soup bowls or rimmed dinner plates and top with the fillets. Makes 4 servings.

Cook’s Corner is a weekly feature. If you know of someone to be profiled, write to Cook’s Corner, The Journal Gazette, P.O. Box 88, Fort Wayne, IN 46801-88; fax 461-8648 or email dparker@jg.net.

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