Looking for lean protein and low carbs? Lentil squash soup recipe is a win-win for diabetics

For National Diabetes Month, Renew Houston is sharing a diabetes-friendly recipe each week. This week's recipe is Lentil and Butternut Squash Soup from CHI-St. Luke's Hospital-Sugar Land.

For National Diabetes Month, Renew Houston is sharing a diabetes-friendly recipe each week. This week’s recipe is Lentil and Butternut Squash Soup from CHI-St. Luke's Hospital-Sugar Land.

Contributed/CHI St. Luke's Hospital-Sugar Land

For more than a century, Americans have had guidance when it comes to eating healthier — or at least what was known to be healthy at the time.

In 2011, the government-recommended food pyramid structure went away with the introduction of MyPlate: a revamped concept that promotes fresh fruits and vegetables for more than half of the meal plate, whole grain foods for half of all grain intake, low-fat or fat-free dairy products and a varied protein routine.

According to the American Diabetes Association, a person with Type 2 diabetes should fill half the plate with nonstarchy vegetables. A lean meat should take up only one-fourth of the plate (think baked chicken or baked/grilled fish). Carbohydrate-heavy foods like potatoes, rice, pasta, bread or starchy vegetables should also be one-fourth of the plate. A small serving of fresh fruit or one-half cup of canned fruit should be included, as well as one bread item and a cup serving of dairy.

The association recommends you eat as many non-starchy vegetables as you like because the increased fiber intake will improve blood glucose levels. These vegetables include artichokes, asparagus, avocadoes, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cucumbers, eggplant, green beans, greens, leeks, lettuce (all kinds), mushrooms, okra, onions, peppers, spinach, sprouts, tomatillos, tomatoes, turnips, yellow squash and zucchini.

“This soup includes lentils as a protein source, which add fiber and are low in fat,” Okerson said. “This is a win-win for diabetics because consuming a meal with carbohydrates and a lean protein source can help balance your sugars throughout the day.”

It’s important to remember that lentils and the butternut squash include more carbohydrates than the other vegetables in this soup, Okerson said. While they are vegetables, those carbohydrates do add up and should be monitored for the proper daily carbohydrate intake.

A half-cup of cooked lentils contains 15 carbohydrates and is also a high source of potassium. One cup of cooked butternut squash also contains 15 grams of carbohydrates and high potassium.

Lentil and Butternut Squash Soup

3 tablespoons olive oil

1½ cup carrots, peeled and diced

1 medium onion, peeled and diced (yellow or sweet)

3-4 cups butternut squash, peeled and diced (buy frozen or already-cut diced to save time)

1½ cup lentils

6 cups low-sodium vegetable broth

2 cups water

4 cups baby spinach

2 cans no-salt added tomatoes, diced

2 large cloves of garlic, minced

2 teaspoons oregano

1½ cups yellow wax beans

1/8 flat parsley, finely chopped

Mince the garlic.

Chop the carrots and onion.

Use a large Dutch oven or stock pot, heat olive oil to a medium heat and add the chopped onions and sauté until softened, about 4-5 minutes.

Add carrots and the garlic, sauté for about 3-5 minutes.

Add 6 cups of vegetable broth and 1 cup of water with addition of squash, lentils, tomatoes and oregano (pepper and salt option), bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer, leave for 30 minutes with covered placed ajar on the pot (stirring occasionally until lentils become tender).

Add the yellow wax beans and one more cup of water, keep stirring occasionally, simmer another 25-30 minutes to ensure squash is soft and lentils are tender.

Within the last five minutes, add spinach and finish with chopped parsley (seasoned to taste).

Makes 6 servings

Source: CHI St. Luke’s Sugar Land Hospital


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