Portioning Your Plate
Roughly 11 million Canadians were living with diabetes or prediabetes in 2016.[i] This number is anticipated to increase in the future.[ii] Of these Canadians, about 90 per cent live with type 2 diabetes, while approximately 10 per cent live with type 1 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition where the body cannot properly use the insulin that it produces or the body does not make enough insulin. This can result in an imbalance of blood sugars, which can damage organs, blood vessels, and nerves if not managed appropriately.[iii]
There are many risk factors to developing type 2 diabetes, but living a healthy lifestyle, including eating well, is necessary for the prevention and management of this chronic disease. Balance is key when it comes to eating healthier. Aim for at least three of the four food groups at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as per Canada’s Food Guide. For lunch and supper, aim to fill half of your plate with at least two different kinds of vegetables. Include whole grains and starches such as potatoes, brown or wild rice, corn and whole grain pasta in a quarter of your plate, and fill the remaining quarter of your plate with a lean source of meat or alternative, such as fish, chicken, tofu, beans or lentils.
When putting together a meal, portion size is also important. We often get carried away with the grains, starches and protein portions of our diet. Try a simple ‘handy’ guide to estimating portions of different food groups at meals and snacks: aim for a fist-sized amount of fruits, grains and starches, a palm-sized amount of protein, and at least two handfuls of non-starchy vegetables. For oils such as dressings, those used for cooking, butter and mayonnaise, aim to use about the size of the tip of your thumb.
The quality and quantity of the food you eat plays a large role in the prevention and management of many chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes. Try to reduce intake of foods that are high in added sugar, salt, saturated fat and trans fat. If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, it is also important to eat regularly throughout the day in order to help control the body’s blood sugars. To do this, try not to skip meals, and try not to go longer than six hours without eating.
With the holidays just around the corner, there are many food temptations awaiting us all. But with a little thought and planning, making healthier choices during the holiday season is doable! With plenty of vegetables, deeply flavoured with spiced red pepper harissa sauce and topped with creamy labneh (a thick, Lebanese-style strained yogurt), this aromatic soup makes an exotic addition to a holiday buffet, or a hearty meal served with whole wheat pita bread.
Tunisian Vegetable Bean Soup
3 tbsp (45 mL) PC® New World EVOO Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 cups (500 mL) chopped onions
2 cups (500 mL) diced carrots
2 cups (500 mL) diced zucchini
1-½ tsp (7 mL) salt, divided
½ tsp (2 mL) freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp (15 mL) minced garlic
½ cup (125 mL) PC® Memories of Tunisia Red Pepper Harissa Sauce
1 pkg (900 mL) PC® Blue Menu® Chicken Broth
1 can (540 mL) PC® Blue Menu® White Kidney Beans, rinsed and drained
2 bay leaves
4 cups (1 L) loosely packed chopped kale
½ cup (125 mL) PC® Olive Oil and Sea Salt Labneh Middle-Eastern Style Dip and Spread
- Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Cook onions 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until softened and light golden. Stir in carrots, zucchini, 1/2 tsp of the salt and the pepper. Cook 5 to 6 minutes, stirring frequently, or until vegetables are tender-crisp. Stir in garlic. Cook 1 to 2 minutes, stirring, until fragrant.
- Pour in the Memories sauce. Cook, stirring, until sauce is slightly reduced, about 2 minutes. Stir in broth, beans, bay leaves and remaining 1 tsp salt; bring to a boil. Stir in kale; reduce heat to a simmer. Cook, covered, 10 to 12 minutes or until kale is tender.
- Remove and discard bay leaves. Divide soup among eight bowls; top each with a 1 tbsp dollop of labneh. Serve with warmed pita bread, if desired.
TIP: Substitute canned chickpeas for the white kidney beans, if desired.
Per serving: 240 calories, fat 11 g, sodium 700 mg, carbohydrate 27 g, fibre 7 g, protein 10 g
[i] Diabetes Canada. Diabetes in Canada. Retrieved August 16 2017 from:
[ii] Diabetes Canada. Diabetes in Canada. Retrieved August 16 2017 from:
[iii] Diabetes Canada. Types of Diabetes. Retrieved August 16 2017 from: