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Houston nutritionist reveals 3 things people with diabetes should always have on their plates

Plus, how you can skip the sugar, but still add flavor to everyday dishes, like casseroles, muffins and more!

Mary Ellen Phipps is the registered dietitian nutritionist behind Milk & Honey Nutrition. She was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at 5-years-old. Now as an adult, she cooked up a real passion for turning classic comfort foods into healthier, low-sugar meals and snacks. She recommends including a plant-based fat, fiber, and protein to every meal. She believes this method allows people with diabetes to still enjoy some of their favorite foods that might otherwise be off limits. Here’s how Phipps makes those classic foods more nutritious.

HOUSTON – Mary Ellen Phipps is the registered dietitian nutritionist behind Milk & Honey Nutrition.

She was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at 5-years-old.

Since then, she’s always thought about food differently.

Mary Ellen Phipps, RDN shares healthy and easy recipe ideas to help manage diabetes and blood sugars. (Milk & Honey Nutrition)

Now as an adult, she cooked up a real passion for turning classic comfort foods into healthier, low-sugar meals and snacks.

“One of the great things we’ve learned in the last 10-20 years is that people with diabetes can enjoy food that is just as delicious as the foods those who don’t have diabetes can enjoy, we just need to be a little smarter about it,” Phipps said.

She recommends including a plant-based fat, fiber, and protein to every meal.

She believes this method allows people with diabetes to still enjoy some of their favorite foods that might otherwise be off limits.

Here’s how Phipps makes those classic foods more nutritious.

Breakfast: Blueberry Muffin

• A typical blueberry muffin from your local coffee shop has 30+g sugar, only 1g fiber, and about 5g protein.

• To ease the impact this muffin may have on our blood sugar, we can swap out traditional flour for options like almond flour and oat flour, reduce the sugar content, and make sure we include fresh or frozen fruit.

Recipe: Gluten-Free Blueberry Zucchini Muffins

Gluten-Free Blueberry Zucchini Muffins (Milk & Honey Nutrition)

• These blueberry zucchini muffins use almond and oat flour and a lot less sugar. We also pack in the produce with blueberries and zucchini to add fiber and other nutrients. Each muffin has only 8g sugar, 3g fiber and 6g protein.

Gluten-Free Blueberry Zucchini Muffins (Milk & Honey Nutrition)

Get the recipe HERE

Lunch: Sandwiches

• This is another example of a food that people often think is off limits for people with diabetes, but that’s just simply not true.

• We make sure we’re choosing a nutrient-dense high fiber bread and then pile on toppings that offer protein and plant-based fat, like this Avocado BLT.

Recipe: Avocado BLT

Avocado BLT (Copyright 2020 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.)

• And, we can serve it with a lower sugar fruit. The American Diabetes Association® recommends people with diabetes consume fruit (contrary to what you may read elsewhere).

Get the recipe HERE

Dinner: Casserole

• You may think casseroles are off limits, but again that’s just not the case!

Recipe: Chicken Fajita Casserole

Chicken Fajita Casserole (Milk & Honey Nutrition)

• Here we have a classic casserole type dish, but we’ve included chicken for added protein, swapped out some of the cream cheese for a lighter ricotta cheese, and use a combination of brown rice and higher protein quinoa.

Chicken Fajita Casserole (Milk & Honey Nutrition)

Get the recipe HERE.

Snack: Trail mix

• Traditional trail mix contains candies and dried foods that can really add up when it comes to the sugar content, and don’t really offer a whole lot nutritionally.

• So, all we need to do it switch up the ingredients a bit and make a trail mix that’s lower in sugar and higher in fiber.

Recipe: Popcorn trail mix

Popcorn Trail Mix (Milk & Honey Nutrition)

• Popcorn trail mix ingredients:

o Popcorn: fiber

o Walnuts: Plant-based protein and omega-3s

o Blueberries: fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, manganese

o Pumpkin seeds: fiber and plant protein

o Dark chocolate: antioxidants and lower in sugar

Phipps recommends building the trail mix in a mason jar for an easy snack on the go.

Popcorn Trail Mix (Milk & Honey Nutrition)

Get the recipe HERE.

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The information above was provided to Houston Life by Mary Ellen Phipps, MPH, RDN, LD. She’s the Owner/Registered Dietitian Nutritionist of Milk & Honey Nutrition, and the author of “The Easy Diabetes Cookbook.”

'The Easy Diabetes Cookbook' by Mary Ellen Phipps (Milk & Honey Nutrition)

About the Author:

Heather Kansteiner is a supervising producer for Houston Life. She has been part of the team since the show launched in 2016. She loves all things Houston and enjoys sharing what makes the city a great place to live, work and play.