Diabetes Diet #3: A Summer Grill Menu

Diabetes Recipes:

Grilled Vegetables
Grilled Tofu
Grillled Bread
Grilled Peaches

Diabetes Cyber Kitchen Takes To The Backyard…And the Road

Summer is a volatile season. Its winds and wings reach out over our bodies and spirits. During the dog days of blistering heat ….. moods swing, and appetite languishes. Who ‘s hungry in the midst of 99 degrees muggy, humid, vaporous heatwaves? But, when summer is bright and clear ….. with happy sunshine days and magical, balmy nights ….. all is right with the world and the appetite. Still, in summer, our taste buds make seasonal changes, turning to fresh, colorful, exciting, easy to cook, easy to eat foods As diabetics, certain meal and mealtime requirements must be factored into the mix of summer eating. But, not to worry. Put on your sandals or flip-flops and come outside with me for a trip to local farm sheds, produce stands, and fisheries for some good shopping, simple preparation, and fabulous eating.

If you don’t already know where to go for fresh summer foods, check local newspapers, the Parks department, Chamber of Commerce, or simply ask neighbors who have lived in the area for some time. This kind of precious information gets around since farmers and fishermen are all over the country showing off their catch of the day and beautiful tomatoes, corn, peaches, and berries. Once you’ve found your sources for fresh foods, find a little spot outdoors, to set up a grill. Now you are ready to prepare yourself BG friendly meals, that will both nourish and delight. I bought a tabletop grill for $5 in Walmart last week and have been using it every evening on my back doorstep. As you try this simple type of cooking, you may find yourself becoming a healthy grill king or queen….. tongs in hand, basting your way through lazy hazy days of summer. Don’t forget to check Recipe Central for a few easy tips, recipes, and methods for backyard grilling.

Summer is also about traveling and vacations. When traveling with diabetes it’s good to make a “to-do” list that may insure a stress-free, fun-filled, healthy trip. Some diabetic friends who are frequent travelers offered great tips and hints that I pass on to you so that this summer …… traveling will really be a vacation.

  •  Laura Laria learned to carry small boxes of raisins and packets of peanut butter or cheese crackers to ward off low blood sugars, and growling hunger, during airplane delays she experienced on one too many occasions. These snacks are n especially helpful when airport food stands are not yet open, or, have closed shop for the night.
  • Steve Donahue reminds us about time change adjustments for insulin regimens and pumps clocks. You may arrive across the country or overseas and wonder why your blood sugars are acting up. Remember to make time adjustments.
  • Dana Hariton has learned to carry saltines at all times. You never know where or when you’ll be stuck without food. Saltines don’t need refrigeration, are light to pack, and will stabilize blood sugar without ruining your appetite. Dana also warns about hidden carbs and sugars in many foreign foods. Her advice is to always carry plenty of extra strips and test often.
  • Brad Saks packs a jump rope and checks local TV for exercise programs to get in a workout while on business trips.
  • Linda McClure warns to beware of foreign bugs. Carrying a prescription from your doctor for an antibiotic can save your life in the event you are struck by one of those ne’er-do-wells while traveling.
  • Bill King recommends making and following a simple plan. Visualize the travel event and plan for any and all potentials. King strongly suggests staying hydrated by drinking plenty of (bottled) water, as dehydration can cause problems with insulin sensitivity as well as false high bg readings..
Don’t Leave Home Without These
  1. Wear some form of ID notifying that you have diabetes. It can be a necklace, bracelet, insignia, pin, even a tattoo In addition to this, slip diabetes identification into everything you carry …. wallet or passport folder, suitcases, carry-ons, pockets, even your traveling companion’s pockets. The American Diabetes Association prints ID cards as well as safe travel pamphlets.
  2. Remember the importance of access. Always carry insulin and/or pump supplies, test supplies, medications, and glucagon, on your person, along with a note from your doctor testifying you have diabetes.
  3. Be on the safe side. Carry extra prescriptions for medications needles/syringes and insulin.
  4. If you are going on an extended stay to a foreign country, check with the International Diabetic Athletes Assoc. (800 898-4322) for doctor listings in many foreign countries or, browse bestdoctors.com.
  5. Read up, or visit Internet sites, regarding your destination, so you can plan ahead and anticipate any possible problems. You may also check out some of the diabetes sites for travel tips …..The ADA site, www.diabetes.org, www.mendosa.com/diabetes.htm and, the great diabetesnet.com site you’re on right now.
  6. Remember to take care of any immunization shots certain countries require.
  7. Diarrhea is a common ailment that affects travelers, don’t forget to pack medication for that.
  8. Learn how to say “diabetes” in the language spoken in your destination country.
  9. Take shots in private. Think of the stress of trying to explain diabetes in a country where you don’t speak the language. You might find yourself stammering while a bevy of police hovers around to confiscate your syringes.
  10. Don’t even think about drinking the water! Your choices are bottled water or bottled water.

We can’t take a vacation from our diabetes, but, like packing up for the kids, we can make a checklist, and pack up for diabetes. By planning ahead you’ll be free to enjoy the pleasures of a vacation without worry or stress.

Healthy Grilling and Happy Travels, from Judith’s Cyber Kitchen

TIP….. grill more than what you need for 1 meal. I usually load up the grill with as many veggies as fit without overcrowding. Grilled leftovers are great the next day. A grilled vegetable and mozzarella sandwich on focaccia bread, or cold grilled chicken nested atop a big green salad, with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a big squeeze of fresh lemon or lime juice, elevates lunch to another level cooking note …..In recipe instructions, the big T stands for tablespoon, and the little t stands for teaspoon.

Diabetes Recipes
Grilled Vegetables (2 Servings)
Grilled Vegetables For Two :
1 T. each fresh chopped herbs: basil, parsley, thyme, chives
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
Optional salt and a few grinds of fresh black pepper to taste
2 T. Olive oil
1 ear fresh corn, medium sized
1 zucchini, 1 yellow squash, sliced into 4 long strips
1 large Vidalia, Walla Walla or red onion, cut into rings or wedges
1 bulb fennel, cut into wedges
1 small eggplant, cut into rounds

  1. Prepare grill to medium-high heat. Combine herbs, garlic, and oil in a large bowl.
  2. Toss with vegetables. Begin grilling onions and fennel. Turn after 5 minutes, then move to side or back of the grill and place remaining vegetables on the hot spot.
  3. Keep an eye on the grill. You want grilled, not charred, vegetables. Turn the fire down if need be. And don’t forget to turn and move things around so they cook evenly. When they are done, place them in a warming spot on the grill while cooking the tofu and bread.

Tip: I place vegetables on foil or a grill grate so they don’t fall into the fire. You may want to spritz a dose of olive oil spray on foil, so veggies don’t stick.

Nutrition Value (half serving): Calories: 215 calories, 15 grams fat, 3 grams protein, 17 grams carbs, 4 grams fiber

Note: calories and fat come from the oil. You may reduce the amount if you prefer, or if you are trying to lose a little weight.

Grilled Tofu
Tofu, AKA fermented soybean curd, or bean curd, is a custard-like substance that usually takes the form of white sponge-like cakes of varying weights, thickness, and firmness. Besides contributing protein…. tofu is known as “meat of the fields”, it contains calcium, vitamin E, iron, and substance to dishes. Tofu has the ability to willingly absorb flavors and the elusive quality of comforting the spirit. When grilled it develops a crisp outer crust and remains creamy and smooth inside. Marinades seduce tofu’s innocence by tempting it
with bold flavor.2 cakes tofu, about 7 oz each
6 sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil
1 large tomato, small dice
1 clove garlic, minced
1 quarter cup chopped fresh basil leaves
Grated zest from 1 lemon
1 quarter cup of water
2 T balsamic vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

  1. Put all ingredients in blender or food processor and coarsely blend. Be sure you don’t puree or overmix, you want to keep some texture and rough consistency.
  2. Cut the tofu into triangles, squares, rectangles, or any shape you like. Marinate the tofu in the tomato mixture for at least an hour, or up to 2 days. The longer you marinate, the stronger flavors develop.
  3. Spray the grill with olive oil spray and grill for 1-2 minutes per side.

Nutrition Value (1 tofu cake): 86 calories, 5 grams fat, 8 grams protein, 2 grams carbs

Nutrition Value (1 oz marinade): 21 calories, 1 gram protein, 5 grams carbs, 1 gram fiber

Grilled Bread
Cut slices of a French baguette or Italian country bread into 1 half-inch slices to prepare for grilling. Grilled bread can be as simple as a slice toasted on a grill, rubbed with a piece of fresh garlic, then sprinkled with a bit of good olive oil, or, it can soar to the heights of a sublime wild mushroom ragout. The potential is limitless. Since summer tomatoes are at their best now, here is a simple elegant grilled bread to enjoy in season.

3 plum tomatoes, seed and diced
1 large clove garlic, minced10 basil leaves
1 half T. Olive oil
Pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 T Balsamic vinegar
4 slices bread
1. Combine all ingredients except bread. Marinate in a bowl for a half hour.
2. Grill bread on both sides. Top each slice with about 1 t of topping.

Nutrition Value (1 slice, 1 tsp. topping): Calories: 70 calories, 3 grams fat, 2 grams protein, 10 grams carb, 1 gram fiber

Grilled Peaches
A medium, 2, and 1 half-inch diameter, 6-ounce peach claims 60 calories and 15 grams of carbohydrate. To grill a peach or any other fresh fruit ….. simply cut into wedges and flip right on the grill. The heat of the grill will release natural sugars and cause the fruit to begin the caramelization process. Grill for about 2 minutes per side.

You can enhance the sweetness of fruit by splashing with a few drops of aged balsamic vinegar. Other good grilling choices are pineapple, plum, nectarine, banana, mango, and cantaloupe.