Almost nothing beats a big bowl of spaghetti, am I right? Warm noodles in a tasty sauce… it hits you right in the comfort-food zone. After being diagnosed with high blood sugar, you may think you have to say goodbye to pasta forever. After all, a single one cup serving of traditional pasta contains upwards of 43 grams of carbs! (And most of us are dishing up far more than one cup per “serving.”)
However, there is still hope for diabetic pasta lovers – zoodles (zucchini noodles!) Zucchini noodles are exactly what their name suggests: zucchini squash cut into thin, noodle shapes. This is done using an appliance called a “spiralizer.” Just drop the zoodles into boiling water for a few minutes, or sauté on the stove, until the noodles are cooked through. Simply add your favorite pasta sauce (check nutritional labels for added sugars), top with grated parmesan, and you’re good to go!
For diabetics (and non-diabetics alike) summer squash like green zucchini are an excellent addition to your diet. At just 19 calories per cup, zucchini contains half the calories of broccoli or Brussels sprouts. Zucchini is also low on the glycemic index, meaning its natural carbs are digested slowly, preventing blood sugar spikes.
This nutritional powerhouse doesn’t stop there! Squash vegetables like zucchini are full of phytonutrients, including vitamin C. One medium zucchini contains more than half of the daily recommended value of vitamin C! Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and immune booster. Vitamin C also lowers levels of sorbitol, (a form of sugar that can build up in the body and damage cells in your nerves, eyes, and kidneys.) One study also showed that Vitamin C is rapidly lost in the bodies of those with diabetes. This means diabetics need more Vitamin C than the average person in order to reap the benefits.
Zucchini is largely made up of water. This means zucchini is easily digested by the body, and can help with gut health. Combined with its anti-inflammatory properties, the essential nutrients found in zucchini lend it very well for helping with symptoms of IBS, leaky gut syndrome, even ulcerative colitis.
Zucchini also contains a good amount of fiber. Fiber serves many purposes for the body. It helps to regulate blood sugar, it prevents the absorption of cholesterol, and promotes gut health and regularity. All of these benefits are especially helpful for individuals with diabetes as it is crucial for them to control blood sugar, as well as, heart health.
The nutrients and fiber we discussed above are found mainly in the zucchini’s skin. So instead of peeling your zucchini before use, just give it a good scrubbing, leave the skin on and eat the whole vegetable, seeds and all.
You can also make “zoodles” out of other foods. Another favorite to use for alternative pastas is the sweet potato. High in several key vitamins, as well as magnesium and potassium, the sweet potato is also low glycemic, making it an excellent choice for diabetics instead of the traditional white potato.
You can also use your spiralizer to create veggie “fries.” Imagine – crispy sweet potato fries with a dusting of salt hot out of the oven. Yum! Simply trim the ends off the sweet potato, give it a good scrub, and stick it on your spiralizer. Toss the spirals in olive oil, salt, and pepper and bake them in the oven until hot and crispy. Same goes for turnip fries. Delicious!
It is possible for diabetics to enjoy their favorite feel-good foods like pasta (and fries) we simply have to get a little more creative. The foods you eat should taste great, make you happy, and keep your blood sugar stable. Zucchini “zoodles” definitely fit that bill! Check out this link to Amazon.com to start spiralizing and zoodling today!