In honor of World Diabetes Day and Diabetes Awareness Month, BCH hosted a “Cook with a Doc” education session to spread the word about how eating healthier is a powerful way to prevent or manage type 2 diabetes. The session included a Mediterranean Diet cooking demonstration.

Dr. Elizabeth Cruse, BCH’s Medical Director of Quality Improvement and Population Health, along with Dr. Kristina Anton-Schnell, of Spruce Street Internal Medicine, prepared a healthy and savory meal. They illustrated how healthful cooking and baking can be fun, simple and satisfying.

BCH Diabetes Education Program Quality Coordinator Kelly Moore-Lawyer, MS, BSN, RN, RD, paired the cooking demo with key facts about diabetes and the health benefits of the Mediterranean Diet.

Below are highlights from their session, as well as one of the recipes they demonstrated how to cook.

Mediterranean Diet Helps Control Blood-Sugar Levels

According to our “Cook with a Doc” presenters, research shows that a Mediterranean diet — which gets its name from the traditional eating and cooking patterns of people in countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea — can help stabilize blood sugar levels for people with type 2 diabetes.

The Mediterranean Diet is a meal plan the whole family can enjoy. It’s rich in fruits, vegetables, high-fiber foods, lean proteins and plant-based fats. Eating high-fiber foods, lean proteins and plant-based fats helps slow digestion and regulates blood sugars; consequently, your body will require less insulin to maintain blood sugar within healthy levels.

Elements of the Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean Diet emphasizes the following elements:

Foods to Eat

  • Fresh produce (vegetables & fruits)
  • Healthy fats (nuts, seeds, avocado and olive oil)
  • Legumes (beans, peas, lentils)
  • Whole grains (farro, quinoa, amaranth, bulgur, barley, buckwheat, brown or wild rice)
  • Fish
  • Lean dairy (yogurt, cheese)

Foods to Eat in Moderation

  • Full fat dairy
  • Eggs
  • Poultry
  • Red wine (1 glass/day for women, 2 glasses/day for men)

Foods to Rarely Eat

  • Red and processed meats such as sausages, hot dogs, etc.
  • Refined grains such as white bread, pasta made with refined wheat, etc.
  • Trans fats found in margarine and various processed foods
  • Refined oils such as soybean oil, cottonseed oil and canola oil

On the Menu: Multi-Seed Bread, Minestrone Soup and Harvest Kale Salad

On the menu for our “Cook with a Doc” was multi-seed bread, minestrone soup and harvest kale salad. You’ll find the recipe for the harvest kale salad below. For other recipes, download the PowerPoint slides from BCH’s “Cook with a Doc” session.

Following a Mediterranean Diet (e.g., eating an abundance of plant-based foods) and being active every day has been shown to prevent chronic illness, including heart disease and type 2 diabetes. For more information, including recipes, visit Oldways, a nonprofit dedicated to improving public health.