What to Eat Wednesday: Diabetic Blood Sugar & French Toast

Delicious french toast casserole that won't impact your diabetic healthLiving with diabetes can often mean giving up on your favorite recipes, those comfort foods we all just need to indulge with sometimes.

As a Houston podiatrist, I take diabetic health very seriously—I know the devastating effects unmanaged blood sugar levels can have on your feet.

Types of Blood Sugar Struggles: Highs and Lows
When you have Type 2 diabetes, you need to worry about rising blood sugar levels. Certain external factors can make your blood sugar rise too high. Some major influencers are: 

  • Eating too much
  • Getting sick
  • Not taking your meds
  • Getting stressed out 
  • Physical Pain
  • Avoiding exercise

When you have Type 2 diabetes you also need to worry about your blood sugar levels dropping. Factors that can lead to low blood sugar include: 

  • Drinking alcohol
  • Not eating enough
  • Getting too much exercise
  • Taking too much insulin

If your blood sugar levels drop too low, you may start to shake, sweat and feel dizzy. You should check your blood sugar levels if you are diabetic and experiencing any of these symptoms.

Why Control Matters
Controlling diabetes matters for so many reasons. When you have good control of your disease, you'll feel better, have more energy, and stave off dangerous complications like nerve and kidney damage, not to mention heart attacks, strokes and blindness. They key to good control is normal blood sugar levels, so it's important to check your levels frequently, and practice good habits--including sticking to a healthy diet and exercise program. 

One key to a proper diabetic diet is counting carbs--most diabetic women need to take in 35-45 carbohydrate grams at each meal. Men need 45-60 grams, depending on their height,w eight and build. While it's important to get in those carbs, food combinations matter, too. Carbs that you eat in combination with fiber will go a long way towards keeping your blood sugar levels in check, as fiber can keep levels steady while also clearing out cholesterol and other build-up from your blohood vessels. Basically, a win-win situation!

Recipes for Success

As a podiatrist who regularly checks in on diabetics' foot health, I know the importance of diet. I know how crucial eating right can be, and I know it's critical for diabetics to carefully track their food intake and make sure they're staying in balance. 

But I also care about my patients’ happiness, and don’t want them to walk through life feeling deprived. With that in mind, I’ve devoted hump day to sharing better-for-you diabetic recipes that can let you keep eating the foods you love without sacrificing your feet.

Today’s installment: French Toast Casserole, courtesy of the American Diabetes Association.

Serves 6

Ingredients

Cooking Spray
6 slices whole-wheat bread (lowest sodium available), halved lengthwise

1 1/2 cups fat-free milk 

1 1/2 cups egg substitute

2 Tbsp light brown sugar

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1 (15 oz) can light fruit cocktail, drained

2 Tbsp honey

1 Tbsp light tub margarine (make sure it is trans-fat-free)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly spray an 8-inch square baking dish with cooking spray.
  • Place bread halves with the crustless sides touching the bottom of the pan and the crust sides resting on the slice beneath them. The slices should overlap slightly. Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together milk, egg substitute, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Pour over bread. Using a spoon, press down bread to soak up milk mixture. Spread fruit cocktail over bread, drizzle with the honey and dot with margarine, using a tsp.
  • Bake for 55 minutes-1 hour, or until the center of the casserole is set (doesn’t jiggle when gently shaken.) Let cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting.

If preparing ahead of time, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 10 hours. To reheat: uncover, put cold casserole in cold oven, set temperature to 350 degrees F, and bake for 1 hour 5 minutes - 1 hour 10 minutes, or until the center is set. Let cool at least 10 minutes before cutting.

Dr. Andrew Schneider
Dr. Andrew Schneider is a podiatrist and foot surgeon at Tanglewood Foot Specialists in Houston, TX.
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