As people have spent more time at home, many have rediscovered the simple joy of home-cooking and stumbled upon a secret weapon for health at the same time. By making smart, intentional decisions from breakfast to dinner and every meal (and drink) in-between, they are supporting strong bodies.

A heart-smart eating plan is especially important as Wales has the highest prevalence of diabetes in the UK. We are all likely to know someone affected.

According to DIABETES UK, last year, an additional 10,695 people were diagnosed with diabetes. almost 210,000 people in Wales are now living with diabetes. This is 8% of the population aged 17 and over – the highest prevalence in the UK – and the numbers are rising every year. This is the first time over 200,000 people have been diagnosed with diabetes in Wales. Around 90% of these people have type 2 diabetes

Estimates suggest a further 65,501 people in Wales have type 2, but have not yet been diagnosed. This means almost 275,000 are living with diabetes in Wales. A further 580,000 people in Wales could be at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. This is the most devastating and fastest-growing health crisis Wales is facing.

If current trends continue, 311,000 people in Wales could have diabetes by 2030.

Diabetes costs the NHS in Wales approximately £500m a year, which is 10% of its annual budget. Around 80% of this is spent on managing complications, most of which could be prevented.

It’s not only us here who are facing this huge problem. In the USA for example, more than 30 million people are living with type 2 diabetes who are at double the risk for heart disease and stroke compared to those without diabetes, according to the American Heart Association and American Diabetes Association’s Know Diabetes by Heart initiative. When managing diabetes and heart health, building a consistent eating plan with the right balance can be a powerful tool.

Healthy eating provides benefits for the whole family whether members are managing existing health conditions or not.

This recipe for Baked Parmesan Chicken is packed with 30 grams of protein in each serving yet delivers only 280 calories. For a tasty way to increase vegetable intake, try pairing the no-sugar chicken dish with Green Beans with Mushrooms and Onions.

A key to feeling your best begins with the first meal of the day. Start the morning on a nutritious note with this Ham and Broccoli Frittata – a low-sugar, low-fat, low-calorie alternative to traditional fat- and sugar-laden breakfast foods. With this recipe, you’re setting yourself up for a healthy day and getting the energy you need to live it to the fullest.

Find more recipes and learn more about managing the connection between diabetes and heart health either go to DIABETES UK or, the tema in America who have given us these recipes at KNOW DIABETES BY HEART.

These recipes are terrific. Really easy to make and packed with flavour. They do have American measurements in places, but we have a CONVERSION CHART at the bottom of the page.

Baked Parmesan Chicken

Recipe courtesy of Know Diabetes by Heart
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 18 minutes
Servings: 4 (3 ounces chicken per serving)

  • Cooking spray
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/3 cup finely crushed, low-sodium, whole-grain crispbread
  • 1/3 cup shredded or grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 4 ounces each), all visible fat discarded, flattened to 1/4-inch thickness
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Lightly spray a 13-by-9-by-2-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. In a shallow dish, whisk the egg, water and oil. In a separate shallow dish or pie pan, stir together the crispbread, Parmesan cheese, parsley, oregano and pepper. Dip the chicken in the egg mixture then in crumb mixture, turning to coat at each step and gently shaking off any excess. Using fingertips, gently press the coating mixture so it adheres to the chicken. Arrange the chicken in a single layer in the baking dish. Lightly spray the chicken with cooking spray.
  3. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink in the center and the top coating is golden brown.

Nutritional information per serving: 280 calories; 80 calories from fat; 9 g total fat; 2.5 g saturated fat; 0 g trans fat; 1 g polyunsaturated fat; 4 g monounsaturated fat; 125 mg cholesterol; 340 mg sodium; 530 mg potassium; 18 g total carbohydrate; 4 g dietary fiber; 0 g sugar; 0 g added sugar; 30 g protein; 370 mg phosphorus. Choices/Exchanges: 1 starch, 4 lean protein.

Ham and Broccoli Frittata

Recipe courtesy of Know Diabetes by Heart
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4 (1/4 frittata per serving)

  • Cooking spray
  • 2 cups frozen fat-free potatoes O’Brien, thawed
  • 6 ounces small broccoli florets, rinsed in cold water, drained but not dried
  • 8 large egg whites
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 ounces lower-sodium, low-fat ham (uncured, nitrate/nitrite-free), cut into 1/4-inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup fat-free milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F.
  2. Lightly spray a medium ovenproof skillet with cooking spray. Heat over medium heat. Remove from the heat. Put the potatoes in the skillet. Lightly spray with cooking spray. Cook for 4-5 minutes, or until potatoes are golden brown, stirring occasionally.
  3. In a microwaveable bowl, microwave the broccoli, covered, on high for 3-4 minutes, or until tender-crisp. Drain in a colander. Stir the broccoli into the potatoes.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg whites and egg. Whisk in the ham, milk and pepper. Pour the mixture over the potatoes and broccoli; stir well.
  5. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until the eggs are set.

Nutritional information per serving: 180 calories; 30 calories from fat; 3 g total fat; 1 g saturated fat; 0 g trans fat; 0.5 g polyunsaturated fat; 1.5 g monounsaturated fat; 60 mg cholesterol; 460 mg sodium; 570 mg potassium; 17 g total carbohydrate; 2 g dietary fiber; 4 g sugar; 1 g added sugar; 18 g protein; 210 mg phosphorus. Choices/Exchanges: 1 carbohydrate, 2 lean protein.

Green Beans with Mushrooms and Onions

Recipe courtesy of Know Diabetes by Heart
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Servings: 4 (1/2 cup per serving)

  • Water
  • 8 ounces green beans, trimmed
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 4 ounces sliced mushrooms, stems discarded
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced onion
  • 1 medium garlic clove, minced
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 pinch pepper
  1. Fill a medium saucepan 3/4 full of water. Bring to a boil, covered, over high heat. Cook the green beans, uncovered, 5 minutes, or until tender-crisp. Drain well in a colander.
  2. In a medium nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat, swirling to coat the bottom. Cook the mushrooms, onion, garlic and salt 5 minutes, or until the mushrooms are soft and lightly browned, stirring frequently. Stir in the lemon juice, pepper and cooked green beans.

Nutritional information per serving: 60 calories; 25 calories from fat; 2.5 g total fat; 0.5 g saturated fat; 0 g trans fat; 0.5 g polyunsaturated fat; 1.5 g monounsaturated fat; 0 mg cholesterol; 60 mg sodium; 300 mg potassium; 9 g total carbohydrate; 2 g dietary fiber; 4 g sugar; 0 g added sugar; 2 g protein; 70 mg phosphorus. Choices/Exchanges: 2 vegetable, 1/2 fat.

CONVERSION CHART

Conversion Chart

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