Persons with diabetes face a very high risk of developing heart disease. A diet low in saturated fat, about 16 mg a day, and sodium, no more than 1,500 mg daily, and rich in whole grains and non-starchy vegetables will help protect you against cardiovascular disease. Properly prepared, chicken noodle soup makes a healthy choice on a diabetes diet.
Choose whole-grain noodles for your soup, instead of noodles made of refined grains. Whole-grain food items make healthy diabetes choices because whole grains are rich in soluble fiber, a nutrient that may help stabilize your blood glucose levels, lower your blood pressure and reduce your low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. In addition, whole grains contain essential fatty acids, vitamin E and most of the B vitamins. Look for ingredient lists topped by 100 percent whole-wheat flour when shopping for noodles. Avoid noodles made from processed and refined grains, like those containing white or enriched wheat flour.
Lean Chicken and Broth
The healthiest protein sources are low in calories and saturated fat. For your soup, choose lean, skinless chicken breast over fatty cuts. Instead of chicken stock, try preparing your soup broth with low-sodium vegetable stock. Vegetable-based broths tend to contain fewer calories and less saturated fat than canned chicken broths. If you do choose a prepared chicken broth, look for a variety low in fat and sodium. Or make your own stock and skim all visible fat.
Non-starchy vegetables make healthy choices on a diabetes diet because they are particularly low in calories and carbohydrates. In fact, according to the American Diabetes Association, non-starchy vegetables should comprise half of all of your lunch and dinner meals. Many store-bought or restaurant-ordered chicken noodle soups skimp on vegetables. Get creative with your soup and add a variety of non-starchy vegetables such as carrots, celery, cabbage, mushrooms, zucchini, onions, pea pods and sweet red peppers.
To keep your chicken noodle soup low on the glycemic index, keep in mind some of the factors that tend to affect a food’s glycemic index score. The glycemic index provides a way to measure the effect of carbohydrates on your blood glucose levels. Refined noodles rank higher, and therefore more problematic in their effect on bloodsteam levels, than whole-wheat noodles on the glycemic index because they convert more quickly to sugar in your bloodstream. In general, the riper your vegetables are, the higher the glycemic index. Also, the longer you let your soup stew and cook, the higher the glycemic index. And if your soup contains processed food items, it will likely have a higher glycemic index than if you use fresh ingredients. For variety, replace the noodles in your soup with brown rice or wild rice.
- American Dietetic Association, Eat Right: Diabetes and Diet
- American Diabetes Association: Food and Fitness – Diabetes Meal Plans and a Healthy Diet
- MayoClinic.com: Nutrition and Healthy Eating – Dietary Fiber: Essential for a Healthy Diet, Nov. 19, 2009
- American Diabetes Association: Food and Fitness – Whole Grain Foods
- American Diabetes Association: Food and Fitness – Lean Meats
- United States Department of Agriculture Nutrient Database