Went back to one of my favorite childhood meals last night: spaghetti and meat sauce! While this was one of my favorite meals growing up, we didn’t have it as often as I would have liked. When I asked my mom why? She explained that because I had type I diabetes, spaghetti was hard because I could never have as much as I wanted.
There have been lots of changes to my diabetes care plan over the past 22 years, and with these changes has come a whole lot more flexibility. So, while it is easier to make these meals work, it is still important to make heart-healthy, carbohydrate-conscious changes to recipes. So, here is how we make spaghetti and meat sauce work:
1. Use whole wheat pasta, since the fiber helps decrease the rise in blood sugar
2. Choose a lower-sugar, lower-sodium pasta sauce, or even better: make your own! Add non-starchy vegetables for color, flavor, and vitamins and minerals.
3. Use low-fat ground beef or ground chicken/turkey and drain the fat as you cook.
4. Portion control! Keep your spaghetti with meat sauce to 1/2 of your plate
5. Watch the side dishes. Garlic bread is a common accompaniment to spaghetti, but remember that pasta and bread are both starches! I made a little side salad and edamame (soy beans). Even though edamame is a starch, it will not affect the blood sugar or Calorie-content as much as garlic bread because of the fiber.