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Diabetes Myths and Realities

by Linsa Gassenheimer

When the American Diabetes Association (ADA) updated its nutritional guidelines in January, 2008 to reduce the amount of saturated fat per meal, my friend with diabetes said, “does that mean I have to give up my steak?”

Lots of people have been asking me similar questions.  There are about 20.8 million children and adults in the United States who have diabetes and an astounding 54 million people who are pre-diabetic.  What these people want to know is what’s on the list and what’s off. 

According to the ADA, people with diabetes have the same nutritional needs as anyone else.  One problem is there is so much information available; it’s hard to tell what is myth and what is reality.  I will be writing a series answering this question.

First:  Saturated Fat:
So, what’s the answer to my friend’s steak question?  You don’t have to give up steak or pork or veal.  You can have the foods you like; it’s the cut of meat and the portion that’s important. Look for cuts that say loin – tenderloin, sirloin. These are the leaner cuts.

So, what’s for dinner? Here’s a quick meal based on ingredients that you can pick up in your local supermarket and assemble in just ten minutes at home.  This is a one-pot meal from Mix ‘n’ Match Meals in Minutes for People with Diabetes.


Beef Skillet Supper
Sirloin steak remains juicy and tender in this quick meal.

Helpful Hints:

  • Washed, ready-to-eat shredded cabbage can be found in the produce department.
  • Steamed or fresh Chinese egg noodles is displayed in the refrigerated produce section of the supermarket. Fresh angel hair pasta can be used instead of Chinese noodles.
  • Look for trimmed snow peas in the produce section. Use trimmed green beans or other green vegetables if snow peas are not available.
  • Prepared minced garlic is called for in the recipe.  Two large garlic cloves, crushed, can be used instead of the minced garlic.

4 teaspoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup water
4 teaspoons ground ginger
4 teaspoons sesame oil, divided use
8 ounces sirloin steak, fat removed, cut into 1/2-inch strips
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 pound fresh or steamed Chinese egg noodles
4 cups washed, ready-to-eat shredded cabbage
1/4 pound trimmed snow peas (about 2 cups)

Mix garlic, soy sauce, orange juice, water and ginger together.  Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add steak strips and saute 1 minute, turn and cook 1 minute.  Remove to a plate and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Add the sauce, egg noodles, cabbage and snow peas to the skillet. Bring to a boil and cook 3 minutes.  Return the meat to the skillet and cook 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining 2 teaspoons oil.  Makes 2 servings.

Nutritional analysis per serving: 495 calories, 155 calories from fat, 17 g total fat, 3.1 g saturated fat, 95 mg cholesterol, 765 mg sodium, 54 g carbohydrate, 7 g dietary fiber, 15 g sugar, 37 g protein.

Shopping List
8 ounces sirloin steak

1 bottle light (low-sodium) soy sauce
1 bottle sesame oil
1 container ground ginger

1 bag washed, ready-to-eat shredded cabbage
1/4 pound trimmed snow peas
1 small jar minced garlic (4 ounces or less)
1/4 pound steamed or fresh Chinese noodles

Staples: Orange juice, salt and black peppercorns
1 small carton orange juice (4 ounces needed)

Each person responds differently to foods.  If you have diabetes, it’s best to talk with a diabetic educator to help you establish dietary guidelines.  



Linda's website is www.DinnerInMinutes.com.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the businesses in question before making your plans.

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