It’s hard to believe the holidays are here again: a time to celebrate with family and appreciate all that we have time to eat… and eat, and eat. The holidays can be difficult for anyone trying to maintain a healthy diet, but for diabetics, over-indulging can be a serious health risk. Author and chef Lourdes Castro has collaborated with Novo Nordisk to educate individuals about conscious eating and effective diabetes management.
“Cooking for diabetes is no different than cooking healthy,” she said. “It is important to use natural and fresh ingredients.” According to the Centers for Disease Control, there are over 29 million people living with diabetes and 13 percent of them are of Hispanic descent.
Chef Castro has worked with Novo Nordisk to assist in the development of Cornerstones4Care, a groundbreaking online support program for diabetics. “It is a great resource,” she said. “There are tips, videos, and recipes for people in both English and in Spanish.”
Cornerstones4Care allows diabetes patients to plan when and what to eat with handy menu planners, suggests physical activities, offers weight trackers, and helps users keep track of their medications and monitor their blood sugar. The program also offers a Diabetes Health Coach, a 12-week program education and management program.
Castro has also curated an array of recipes perfect for holiday meals and entertaining. You download her cookbook for free through Novo Nordisk and enjoy all of her healthy creations.
“My favorite is the caramelized squash and watercress salad,” Castro said. The salad is mixed golden Calabaza squash (which is popular in the Caribbean), roasted until it is sweet and buttery. The squash is tossed with peppery watercress to make a hearty salad.
When it comes to healthy eating, chef Castro recommends using a lot of mixed greens. She suggests adding one of your favorite ingredients to the greens for a flavorful dish that’s lighter on calories.
Other recipes from the cookbook include garlic-infused pork tenderloin with onion citrus mojo and a dark chocolate espresso tart. Both recipes are easy to make and have easy-to-read nutrition information.
Chef Castro’s top tips for a healthy lifestyle? Stay hydrated — “when you drink a lot of water it will make you feel full.” Don’t skip meals, embrace seasonal vegetables, use mixed greens in cooking, and “have fruit with an edible skin (like apples) because they are high in fiber.”
According to Castro, “it’s all about offering healthy and delicious foods.”