If you are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes – for example, perhaps you have a close relative with diabetes – what are you doing to prevent it from showing up in your lifetime?

Bypass the meat to reduce type 2 diabetes risk

Vegetarian Meal Table Vegetarian Meal Table Vegetarian Meal Table

If you are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes – for example, perhaps you have a close relative with diabetes – what are you doing to prevent it from showing up in your lifetime? Well, keeping your waistline in good shape will help – stay trim. Avoiding a constant intake of sweet beverages will take stress off of your pancreas. Getting in a daily walk is important also. But research indicates another approach may be helpful in the prevention of type 2 diabetes. Here is more.

The study involved 2,332 middle-aged men who did not have type 2 diabetes. They were followed for 19 years, and during that time 432 developed diabetes. Of course the researchers looked at many factors, but they found that those who replaced animal proteins with plant proteins had a lower risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

What foods replaced the meats so that meals were meatless?

  • Grain foods: rice, quinoa, pasta, barley, cereals and bread
  • White and sweet potatoes
  • Dried beans and peas
  • Vegetables

Okay, so don’t worry that you need to move over to tofu-based meals but there are easy ways to have more vegetarian meals, eliminating processed and fresh meats, and thus perhaps reducing your risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

Breakfast Ideas

  • Hot cereal made with almond milk and topped with chopped nuts and berries
  • Nut butter and sliced bananas on a whole-grain English muffin
  • Assorted fresh seasonal fruits over Greek yogurt

Lunch Ideas

  • Homemade white bean- spinach soup with whole-grain crackers
  • Black beans and salsa rolled up in a whole-grain flour tortilla

Dinner Ideas

  • Lentil soup with cornbread
  • Stir-fry vegetables (onions, pea pods, peppers, mushrooms, etc.) over wild rice
  • Homemade marinara sauce over whole-grain pastas and tossed salad
  • Grilled mushrooms served on whole-wheat potato bun and oven-roasted broccoli
  • Bell peppers stuffed with brown rice, onions and diced zucchini

Recipes to try:

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About the Author

Rita Smith is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator. She's been working in the field of nutrition and disease prevention for more than 35 years and currently works at Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital in Charlottesville, Va. Each week, Rita provides nutrition counseling to clients who have a variety of disorders or diseases including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, gastroparesis and weight management. For these clients, food choices can help them manage their health problems.