Summer Eats

Type 2 Diabetes Blog

Summer Eats

Some seasons are easier than others for staying on-track, diet-wise. Fall includes those pesky carb-laden holidays. Winter is brutal. Cold, gray, and windy means comfort food all the way for me. During Spring, things start to improve when asparagus shows up. Then Summer arrives. Cue the heavenly music!

Summer is, by far, the best healthy-eating season. So fresh and naturally ripe, summer vegetables often don’t even require cooking. More than once, I’ve had thickly-sliced heirloom tomatoes, homegrown basil leaves, and fresh mozzarella drizzled with balsamic vinegar for dinner. Sometimes I even add an ear of just-picked corn on the side. (Yes, I eat corn. Not often, but in the summer when I can buy it fresh off the truck, you bet!)

What are other treats I enjoy in the summer? Watermelon granita is one. It’s so easy to make and kids LOVE it. But, then again, who wouldn’t like a homemade watermelon-flavored chunky Slurpee® with no added sugar? Here’s how to make it:

  • Buzz up watermelon chunks in a blender (about 5 cups worth or half of a small seedless watermelon)
  • Pour the purée into a freezer-safe casserole dish and place in freezer
  • Every half hour or so for 3 or 4 hours, scrape the granita with a fork to break it up
  • When you’ve got the texture you like, eat!

The only tricky part is remembering to scrape. (And the older I get, the harder it gets to remember.) If you don’t scrape, you’ll end up with one huge chunk of watermelon ice. Trust me on this. “Hey Siri, set a timer for 30 minutes” works wonders.

Some people with diabetes think watermelon is off-limits because its glycemic index is high. However, its glycemic LOAD is low, which is the more important thing (to me, anyway). Approximately 1 cup of this granita has 12g carbs. I can live with that for dessert. Your mileage may vary.

Want to know my dad’s trick for picking a tasty watermelon? Make sure it has a yellowish patch on one side. He says that means it got ripe while lying in the field. It seems to work!

Another way to make sure you get a ripe watermelon is to shop at a local farmers’ market. If you aren’t in the habit of doing this, I highly recommend it. You may have to avoid the doughnut truck, but it’s not that hard because you won’t want to stand in the line that wraps around the parking lot anyway. Go to the produce stands and talk to the growers. Point out any vegetables you don’t recognize and ask how to prepare them. I’ve discovered so many delicious things just by chatting (or, more often, listening to my husband chat). I found out that roasted radishes don’t have the bite of raw ones (and are similar to potatoes in texture). I learned there are smaller types of eggplant that I actually like. I also discovered tiny pineapple tomatillos that are fantastic in summer soups. (They are not in the pineapple family, by the way.)

Go forth and enjoy the fruits (and veggies) of summer!