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It’s a fact: Our kitchens may be getting larger and more elaborate, but we’re cooking less often in them.
In the last decade, the proportion of dinners coming from a takeout counter or grocery freezer section has increased by 24 percent according to food-industry researchers at the NPD Group, and it’s likely to overtake homemade meals made within five years.
It used to be that people managing diabetes had a difficult time finding convenient prepared foods that met their needs. But now there are more options for convenient, healthy foods.
Forget about that aisle with all the expensive, nasty-tasting “diabetic” products. There are healthy options in every aisle of the grocery store:
Beverages: For summer sipping, Nestea Sugar-Free is a refreshingly good choice. If you love hot cocoa, Nestlé Hot Cocoa offers sugar-free, no-sugar-added and fat-free with marshmallow versions. These hot cocoas contain carbohydrates and need to be worked into your meal plan.
Frozen Foods: Keep a variety of tasty frozen meals on hand for lunch at the office or those nights you don’t want to deal with cooking or stopping for takeout. Lean Cuisine offers entrees ranging from sesame chicken to pepperoni pizza. All are low in fat and calories. Frozen yogurts, low-fat ice creams and juice bars are delicious low-fat treats.
Snacks: Low-fat chips come in a variety of flavors. So do rice cakes and pretzels. In moderation, these can be great options.
Deli / Takeout: The takeout counters of many supermarkets offer an array of prepared meals from sushi to meatloaf and mashed potatoes. Many offer heart-healthy entrees and salad bars. When considering an entrée, ask the takeout counter clerk for nutrition information, how the food was prepared and the serving size.
Produce: Don’t forget prepackaged salad mixes and low-fat dressings in pouches for a salad on the go. It’s easy to grab a piece of fruit to round out your meal.
Many products are making health claims lately. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. It’s important to look at the Nutrition Facts label and consider the product’s total carbohydrates, fats, saturated fat, calories, nutrients and serving size. How does it fit into your overall meal plan?
Fast food chains are offering healthier options to the fatty burger and fries, which typically add up to around 1,000 calories per meal. The ground rules of good nutrition still apply at the drive-thru window — limit your fat and carb intake, watch the salt, eat a variety of foods and eat a reasonable portion. Most chains offer nutrition information for their products online or you can ask the cashier before ordering.
Here are some tips for making the right choices:
There are more convenient options than ever available for eating a healthy diet on the run. Remember, you can eat the foods you love in moderation as part of a healthy, varied diet. For more information about food exchanges, eating out and making smart choices, visit the American Diabetes Association’s web site at www.diabetes.org.