HOME > Chowhound > Special Diets >

Discussion

Help - no-chew diabetic foods?

My poor husband has an abscess... he got antibiotics this morning but he can't chew anything. Any brilliant ideas for diabetic-suitable no-chew foods to give him? Especially things that aren't sweet! I bought some special low-carb protein drinks and the usual sugar-free pudding, icecream and applesauce. Plus he always has Dannon yoghurt (their 80 calorie greek yoghurt tastes great and has less than 10 carbs in a serve.) I'm going to guess that the no-chewing is going to last all week, and he can't just eat sweet stuff...

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. Broth is the obvious, savory liquid choice - maybe with small noodles or pieces of tofu that will slide down without chewing.

    1. Maybe cottage cheese? It certainly doesn't require chewing, and even the full-fat (4% milkfat) kind counts as a lean meat/substitute under the ADA's exchange list system. Another possibility is baby food -- although I must admit (having had to resort to such after some surgery) that there's a reason babies spit out the stuff sometimes.

      1. A cream based soup? Particularly like a seafood bisque, perhaps, that would be liquid and mostly fat and protein.

        1. I've been cooking for my elderly dog (that's another thread). I boil chicken, cook rice or potatoes or frozen corn, MW broccoli, spinach or peas. FP the whole batch, add some oo (you could use butter) and some salt. It's about the consistency of oatmeal and honestly, with the salt and oil tastes pretty darn good. No chewing, just swallowing. For your husband, you could add some cheese. The skies kinda the limit on this. May not look very pretty but it gets the job done. And it's temporary.

          1 Reply
          1. re: c oliver

            I forgot to mention that I use chicken broth.

          2. The food processor/blender/immersion blender is your friend here.

            Blitz whatever it is his diet allows and he really likes into mush. If you need to, add flavorful compatible liquid and/or fat as c_oliver above suggests.

            Yes, the texture will be terrible (but right for his temporary need) but the taste should come through and remind him of better times to come.

            If you don't have one, consider a pressure cooker. masha suggested broth (a great idea) but most folks think of "broth" as this nasty insipid stuff that comes in cans or boxes. Toss a couple of pounds each of the cheapest meat you can find (not offal) and allowable veggies in a PC, barely cover w/ water, process for 1 hour (on high if you have a choice), strain and serve.

            It'll be strongly flavored, high in protein and delicious.

            Don't worry about tossing the solids as they'll have given up all flavor and nutrition to the broth. The cheaper the meat, the more flavor.

            16 Replies
            1. re: littauer

              Oops, I'd intended to suggest no organ meats; backs, necks, etc. are perfectly fine. Yes you can get the same result by cooking for hours but who has the time or can stand a hot kitchen in August?

              Ooh, babette, chawan mushi! Nice!

              As to diabetic food, it's hard for an outsider to know as there are so many strategies for coping with both types of diabetes. As a type 2 I avoid most carbs but there is a limited subset that aren't a problem in my body. Others use drugs that help them cope and may have differing reactions to varied carbs.

              My nephew, a type 1 chef, can eat pretty much what he wants as long as he can predict how much insulin to balance it with. Of course, prediction ain't easy early on so many new type 1s avoid things that may cause big swings in blood sugar.

              1. re: littauer

                I'm assuming that OP and her husband are clear on that aspect. And we're just offering things that they can tweak to suit his diet.

                1. re: c oliver

                  Yeah... we know how much carbohydrate he can tolerate - we try to keep it about 20g a meal, because too much lower than that makes him feel way too deprived - he LOVES his low-carb bread, yoghurt etc. He felt up to eating a low-carb tunafish pita last night, but his poor cheek is swollen this morning so it's back to the 'diabetic breakfast drink'. Just hoping the antibiotic is working! btw, sadly I have no food processor OR pressure cooker. I do have a blender and a hand-held stick blender thingy if we get desperate... for now he really only wants semi-liquids that don't need chewing at all. Thinking of putting the frozen chicken thighs into the crockpot to make him extra-rich chicken broth...

                  1. re: Kajikit

                    Your blender should work fine. Maybe smaller batches. With plenty of broth the things I mentioned require nothing other than putting in mouth and swallowing :) But if he just wants liquids then it's moot, isn't it?

                    1. re: Kajikit

                      You can make good shakes with a stick blender; Greek yogurt, a handful of berries, or heavy cream plus water (lower carb than milk) with sugar free protein powder with or without flavor, add some berries or frozen berry mix to his carb tolerance. He's going to need the protein for healing and for glucose control and energy.

                      I, too, would consider pureeing chicken but no spuds, corn, peas or rice... just the veggies you've learned won't spike him.

                      Hope he gets well fast!

                    2. re: c oliver

                      Yeah, that's why she asked for low carb, not potatoes, rice, peas and corn.

                      1. re: mcf

                        He's eating 20grams of carbs per meal, so can include some. Some rice, some potato aren't out of the question at all.

                        1. re: c oliver

                          Not diabetic foods for anyone, much less low carb, which is what the OP specified. Further, I might eat 20 gms of carb at a blowout meal, too, but at least half or more would be fiber, and all would be non starch, and nutrient dense. ETA: His glucose was high 400s til he cut out starchy carbs.

                          1. re: mcf

                            He eats 20 grams of carbs at every meal.

                            1. re: mcf

                              Actually, his sugar was 400 largely because he was drinking gatorade like there was no tomorrow, in the mistaken belief that he needed rehydrating and then he'd 'feel better'... that stuff is pure sugar!

                              1. re: mcf

                                Since you persist in giving medical advice, here's what the American Diabetes Assn. has to say:

                                "Myth: If you have diabetes, you should only eat small amounts of starchy foods, such as bread, potatoes and pasta.

                                Fact: Starchy foods can be part of a healthy meal plan, but portion size is key. Whole grain breads, cereals, pasta, rice and starchy vegetables like potatoes, yams, peas and corn can be included in your meals and snacks. Wondering how much carbohydrate you can have? A place to start is about 45-60 grams of carbohydrate per meal, or 3-4 servings of carbohydrate-containing foods. However, you may need more or less carbohydrate at meals depending on how you manage your diabetes. You and your health care team can figure out the right amount for you. Once you know how much carb to eat at a meal, choose your food and the portion size to match."

                                Again, husband and OP and his doctor should be making these decisions, not some anonymous person on a food website.

                                1. re: c oliver

                                  What matters is what your meter reads not what the ADA posts. And I can tell you from my experience there is nothing mythical about the anti-starchy food stance.

                                  1. re: Teddybear

                                    Got that right. Why would someone with a broken carb metabolism try to squeeze in nutrient impoverished, calorie dense starches?

                                    Maybe because they trust an organization (ADA) that recommended that diabetics include sugar in their diets when they found out it was no more damaging than starches, instead of recommending starch restriction.

                                    General Mills and Cadbury Schweppes were the two biggest sponsors at the time...

                                    SMH.

                                  2. re: c oliver

                                    Much has been written about the stranglehold the sugar, grain and drug industries have over medical recommendations coming from many official sources that are unsupported by objective peer reviewed science or clinical outcomes. Folks who follow that advice die sooner and have more complications, large trials have found, notably, ACCORD.

                                    Diabetic appropriate food is food that does not raise glucose nor produce an excessive insulin spike post meal and therefore does not promote diabetes or insulin resistance; those are protein and fat and non starchy carbs. Otherwise, it's just any other junk diet.

                                    You can't even induce diabetes in experimental animals without carbs, only by adding them. There's a lesson in that.

                                    1. re: mcf

                                      Chill out guys... It's well-known that different 'groups' take a different approach to managing diabetes, and the suggested blood-sugar levels/carb counts are very over-generous to put it mildly. It didn't take more than a day of reading online to decide that low-carb seems like the only really sensible way to go, but we don't go as far as you mcf, it's a personal decision. I'm not going to sit there counting carrot sticks unless it's absolutely essential, I just look at the labels and guestimate, and thusfar, my husband seems to be doing really well. If he wasn't, we'd be stricter, but since his sugar is still dropping gradually, we must be doing things the 'right' way for him! Haven't been to the 'diabetes education class' yet, we had to postpone it because of this whole tooth thing, but I fully expect them to recommend about twice as much carbohydrate as he's actually having, and I fully expect to continue to ignore those recommendations in favour of what's working! (because of his injured mouth I offered to go buy him some sweet potato for 'soft' food, but he didn't want me to. He says they're too sugary, and ultimately it's his decision...)

                                      1. re: Kajikit

                                        I never expect anyone to go as low as I or anyone else does; I just think a request for diabetic specific foods means food that doesn't raise glucose, or it would just be any ole food. :-)

                                        There'd be no point suggesting another diabetic to eat what I eat. Using a meter to figure out what your spike foods are is the only sensible, objective way to create an individual's appropriate diabetic diet plan.

                                        So impressed that DH has taken the improvements and changes to heart. Fast healing!

                      2. cheesy polenta or grits

                        re-fried beans

                        You could make a savory custard like chawan mushi, or quiche filling. Crustless quiche with chopped sauteed spinach and caramelized onions?

                        1. Make a savory cold soup with coconut milk, spinach, avocado, and plain greek yogurt or soft tofu- blend until smooth.
                          Or use peeled seeded cucumber, spinach, the plain greek yogurt, lemon juice and salt/pepper.
                          Or blend really well cooked cauliflower with coconut milk, salt and pepper, whatever spices (curry, or some hot sauce), and soft tofu or cottage cheese

                          1. My first thought was Scrambled Eggs! Followed closely by "Creamed" vegetable soups (made by pureeing low carb vegetables and broth). Any seasonings will need to be tempered so they don't add acid to an already sore mouth. Ouch.

                            C.oliver has an excellent suggestion about pureeing softly cooked chicken with vegetables and broth (likely, you'll need to eliminate the rice) and I thought of pureeing chicken livers as well - a diabetic version of pate.

                            1. I put chicken thighs, onion, a chopped tomato and some sliced carrots in the crockpot overnight... the end result - melt-in-your-mouth chicken that John ate two plates of, no blending required. I'm doing to do a pulled pork loin the same way tonight, but I need to think of something we can have with it. There's a cauliflower in the fridge - maybe make roasted cauliflower tonight when it's cooler and reheat it in the microwave? (we live in Florida and our A/C isn't very efficient - if you run the oven during the day when the sun's out it can't maintain temperature, and then it can't cool the place down again until the sun goes down or it rains, whichever comes first!) Making vegetables no-chew seems to be harder than taking care of the meat... the crockpot breaks the fibers down beautifully but it turns veggies into MUSH.(I just got some sugar-free bbq sauce from the internet last week, so we can have 'proper' pulled pork...)

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: Kajikit

                                Pulled pork sounds like a great idea... cooked carrots tend to be a spike food for most, unlike raw, even with a relatively low carb count, but you know how to test that. Hope you like the bbq sauce you got!

                                How about rutabaga chunks, white turnip, summer squash in addition to cauli for lower carb/high fiber choices. Also celery root. I use turnip, celeriac and rutabaga in place of potatoes for gratins and stews, too.

                                1. re: mcf

                                  The pork was great... the sugar-free bbq sauce I found him at that netrition website is a success and I just boiled some green beans until they were soft. I generally avoid boiling veggies because so many of the nutrients go down the drain in the water, but it's the best way to make sure that the veggies are soft and easy to eat. I had some sweetcorn with mine, and hubby just had the beans with a little ranch dressing.

                              2. Agree on the soups. You can make some from scratch which will help keep the sodium count down. gazpacho, avocado, carrot, tomato soups or brothy soups work well.

                                Home made smoothies with yogurt for breakfast

                                1. A nice Indian red or yellow lentil dal would be really easy to slurp down and some of the spices might be healing for him.

                                  1. Mashed sweet potatoes? They're supposed to be low glycemic index, I think.

                                    1. Sort-of Gazpacho: Puree in food processor: peeled tomato, seeded green pepper, onion, and peeled cucumber. Add to canned tomato juice (I do 3 or 4 tomatoes, one pepper, one onion, one cucumber to 46 oz tomato juice). Season to taste with salt, garlic powder, cumin, and a couple of tablespoons each of olive oil and vinegar. Keeps 10 days in refrigerator. Very low-carb and a savory alternative to sweet drinks for one who can't chew.

                                      Or...just V-8.

                                      1. The Dreamfields Pasta was recommended by the Diabetic Association.

                                        4 Replies
                                        1. re: Linda VH

                                          It figures, the ADA advocate for corporate sellers, not diabetics: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/artic...

                                          "In 10 people without diabetes, the Dreamfields pasta product we purchased did not result in an improved glucose excursion when compared with a commercially available traditional pasta product as would have been expected based upon the company's claim."

                                          In diabetics, it either spikes glucose exactly like regular pasta, and anecdotally, I and many others who've tested it repeatedly, it produces a very late (3-5 hours post meal) spike that lasts an extremely long time. So Dreamfields is as least as damaging as regular pasta in the best case, and much more dangerous in many.

                                          1. re: Linda VH

                                            Dreamfields works well for me (meter-tested) and tastes like real pasta, but the processing trick they use to decarb the pasta only works for so long once you hydrate it. This implies:

                                            1) For some folks the intestinal flora can process the starch after a while. This can mean gas and bowel discomfort. It doesn't change the meter reading but may make you give it up. Not a problem for me.

                                            2) Reheating or twice-cooking the pasta may make it act more like real pasta than low-carb. Certainly in my body mac/cheese or tuna-noodle casserole spiked the meter.

                                            They do make a no-cook lasagna noodle that was a success w/out a meter spike.

                                            1. re: littauer

                                              Dreamfields does not "de-carb" their pasta, it's as high carb as any pasta comes. They claim to have made it indigestible, refused/ignored requests from legitimate, independent researchers for their test data and their claims have not stood up to individual test meters in diabetics, much less normal, non diabetic test subjects.

                                              I undercooked Dreamfields to make it less glycemic than their cooking instructions, and tested it, as did many other diabetics I know, for hours post meal, starting in the first hour post meal. Unless you test for many hours after eating it, you don't know whether it's produced a spike or not. I know of one diabetic who could eat it without a spike (of dozens) and one for whom it caused a higher spike than normal semolina pasta.

                                              As I said, I cooked Dreamfields for about 6 minutes, had terrible results that I and many discovered by testing for several hours post meal, and also by symptoms that appeared post meal, just like regular pasta.

                                              1. re: mcf

                                                Your personal experience is greatly appreciated. I wouldn't have thought to check several hours post meal.

                                                For those looking for a few bucks from the Dreamfields class action lawsuit:

                                                Your claim must be filed online or postmarked no later than September 1, 2014.

                                                dreamfieldssettlement.com

                                          2. what about mashed potatoes and you could do a take on shepards pie with soft peas or pea puree and finely ground lamb mixed in.

                                            4 Replies
                                            1. re: Sandwich_Sister

                                              I believe that the OP is looking for low carb suggestions since her husband is diabetic. The potatoes plus peas is probably a bit high in carbs for his diet.

                                              1. re: masha

                                                ah yeah you are right, I forgot about that.

                                                1. re: Sandwich_Sister

                                                  Yep. sorry, potato and peas are both on the no-no list (so is sweetcorn, and sweet potato is dubious - we haven't tried it yet because he thinks its probably too starchy)... we eat pretty much any other vegetable except he hates squash. Shame because squash is so versatile and low-carb! But he can't stand the texture and high water content... He's eating normally again now, just with softer meats that are easier to chew.

                                                  1. re: Kajikit

                                                    I wonder if he'd find zucchini noodles tolerable if drained in a towel, then sauteed before adding proteins/sauce?

                                                    My husband is a squash hater, too, but he loves these, won't touch spaghetti squash, though. Also, eggplant makes a meatier sort of noodle; I use a Kuhn Rikon julienne peeler to make them.

                                            2. A little off-season but this way of making gazpacho should work for your situation. Puree in food processor: 4 large peeled tomatoes, 1 peeled cucumber, 1 medium onion, and 1 green pepper. Add the puree to a 46-oz can of tomato juice. Season this with a couple of tablespoons each of olive oil and vinegar; also add salt and cumin (don't omit the cumin!) and garlic powder, to taste. Keep tasting until you get it right. This makes a lot---about half a gallon---and it keeps in the refrigerator for at least a week and can also be frozen. Enjoy a cupful ice cold. (Note: to peel the tomatoes easily, put them in a saucepan with an inch of water and bring the water almost to a boil with the cover on then remove them from the burner so they don't cook. Slit the peel with a sharp knife and it will just slip right off.) This gazpacho fills the bill when you want something that is savory, low-carb, and doesn't need to be chewed.

                                              Also, V-8, which can be taken hot or cold.