Images by Sabrina Raygada
The holidays are a wonderful time to celebrate, be thankful for and enjoy memorable times with family and friends. Unfortunately for many, it also becomes a time for overeating and weight gain.
Carbohydrates are one of the main components of holiday dinners and desserts. Individuals with diabetes need to watch their intake because the body turns carbohydrates into glucose, eating carbohydrates makes blood sugar levels rise which can cause damage to one’s organs, nerves, blood vessels.
Hyperglycemia is the term used for when the blood glucose level is too high due to the body not properly using or producing the hormone insulin. Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas that allows the body to use glucose from carbohydrates that will be used and stored for energy usage.
Insulin lowers the level of glucose in the blood. It's made by the beta cells of the pancreas and released into the blood when the glucose level goes up. Individuals with type 1 diabetes rely on insulin to control their blood sugar levels. It is important that individuals with diabetes to be aware of their food selection and how much they are consuming to avoid health consequences, as this can influence their insulin needs.
Peru is a country known for its delicious fusion of superfoods that have been incorporated in traditional dishes. Quinoa is a Peruvian superfood that has been consumed for thousands of years by the ancient Incas. Quinoa is a source of plant-based protein and contains all nine essential amino acids. Fun fact- quinoa has a rich fiber content in which can help reduce LDL cholesterol levels. Quinoa is specifically a grain that consists of vitamins and minerals. “Quinoa has a superior nutrition profile consisting of high starchy carbohydrate content, and several minerals and vitamins such as K, Ca, Mg, P and Fe, and is rich in linoleic acid ” (Galanakis, 2019). Linoleic acid is a polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acid, it is beneficial for the human body.
Portion control over the holiday season is important and can allow an individual with diabetes to enjoy the holiday while maintaining their blood glucose level.
I have listed out a few recipes that incorporate quinoa whether it is mixed or on the side. These recipes are not only delicious but have been modified for individuals with diabetes, who face difficulties during the holiday season.
I present to you a few healthy holiday recipes with a Peruvian twist!
Lomo Saltado with Quinoa
1 lb Beef tenderloin or chicken
3 cloves garlic
1 green chili
2 tsp oregano, dried
3 tbsp parsley
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 cup quinoa
1 tsp black pepper, ground
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tsp ground cumin
*with a side of brown rice or quinoa
Papa a la huancaína
½ cup aji amarillo paste (capsicum baccatum)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup evaporated milk
4 soda crackers (whole wheat)
8 oz. queso fresco (fresh white cheese)
Sauce served with:
Iceberg lettuce leaves
6-8 yellow potatoes, boiled and peeled
4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and cut in slices
Parsley sprigs (optional)
Picarones (Sweet potato Dessert)
2 cups of water
1 ⅔ cups (250g) sweet potato
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp aniseed
2 tsp sugar
½ tsp instant yeast
¼ tsp salt
1 ½ (225g) all-purpose flour
Vegetable oil (for frying)
*when combined and fried into a doughnut shape, let it sit for 10 min on a plate covered with a paper towel to absorb oil.
Ingredients for Syrup
2 tbsp water
2 tsp molasses
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground aniseed
Chicken Cau Cau
1 pound skinless chicken
2 sprigs spearmint
⅓ cup olive oil
½ cup red onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tablespoons ají amarillo paste (or 2 fresh ají amarillo, processed)
½ teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
Salt and pepper
4 tablespoons spearmint, chopped
4-6 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
1 cup green peas or any choice of vegetable (optional)
Served with a side of brown rice or quinoa
Galanakis, Charis. (2019). The Role of Alternative and Innovative Food Ingredients and Products in Consumer Wellness. Academic Press.
Bellemare, M. F., Fajardo-Gonzalez, J., & Gitter, S. R. (2018, August 23). Foods and fads: The welfare impacts of rising quinoa prices in Peru. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0305750X18302419.
Petrie, John., Guzik, Tomasz., Touyz, Rhian. (2018). Diabetes, Hypertension, and Cardiovascular Disease: Clinical Insights and Vascular Mechanisms. Canadian Journal of Cardiology. Pages 575-584.
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