Tips for Diabetes and Blood Sugar: Minted Fruit Kababs recipe

Minted Fruit Kababs - Dr. Neal Barnard
Minted Fruit Kababs - Dr. Neal Barnard

WASHINGTON, March 24, 2014  – Low-glycemic-index foods, such as lentil chili with a leafy green salad, sweet potato burritos, and baked ziti with steamed broccoli, won’t cause a spike in blood sugar, which can be a problem for people with high triglycerides, diabetes, or weight problems. Controlling your blood sugar means choosing foods that steady your blood sugar. Beans, green vegetables, fruit, and whole grains help prevent blood sugar dips that can lead to cravings.

But it can be hard, particularly if you have a busy week ahead of you.  Simple ways to maintain a plant-based diet, increase your metabolism and control your blood sugar levels include:

  • Cut up cantaloupe chunks and store sliced vegetables in the fridge for easy access to a healthful snack.
  • Set a large fruit bowl out on your kitchen table so apples, bananas, and oranges are easy to grab if you’re in a hurry.
  • Cinnamon adds flavor for oatmeal and desserts. It turns out this spice is also good for healthy blood sugar, too. As little as 1/2 teaspoon of ordinary cinnamon each day can reduce blood sugar levels by 18 to 29 percent. You can use cinnamon as a topping for oatmeal or as an ingredient in pumpkin, butternut squash, or lentil-spinach soups.
  • Fiber fills you up without filling you out. Fiber means plant roughage. It’s found naturally in beans, vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. It naturally lowers cholesterol and will help you feel full. Instead of calories, count grams of fiber. Adults should aim for 40 grams of fiber a day. (The average American consumes about 15 grams of fiber each day.)

People who follow a low-fat, plant-based diet experience a boost in metabolism, by about 16 percent, after every meal. Over the long run, this equates to a big calorie burn. Celebrity advocates, including Beyoncé, Russell Simmons, and Bill Clinton are great examples of people who continue to reap the health benefits of plant-based foods.

Minted Fruit Kebabs

Makes 4 kebabs (4 servings)

Fresh fruit makes a striking appearance in these antioxidant-rich kebabs. Enjoy them for a refreshing, light dessert!

8 red or green grapes

4 large strawberries

4 1-inch-square cantaloupe chunks

4 1-inch-square honeydew chunks

4 1/2-inch-thick slices peeled kiwi

4 1-inch-square watermelon chunks

1/4 cup orange juice

2 teaspoons fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint leaves

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

4 10-inch bamboo skewers

Thread 1 grape, 1 strawberry, 1 cantaloupe chunk, 1 honeydew  chunk, 1 slice kiwi, 1 watermelon chunk, and 1 more grape onto a skewer.  Repeat with the remaining fruit and skewers. Place the finished skewers in a shallow container.

In a small bowl, whisk together the orange juice, lime juice, mint, and vanilla. Pour the marinade over the fruit kebabs, cover, and chill for at least 30 minutes (or up to 3 hours) in the refrigerator before serving.

Per serving (1 kebab): 35 calories, 0.6 g protein, 8 g carbohydrate, 7 g sugar, 0.2 g total fat, 5% calories from fat, 1 g fiber, 5 mg sodium.


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Recipes from Power Foods for the Brain by Neal Barnard, M.D.

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