Recipe By Healthy Eating For Families Smooth out blood sugar highs and lows with these tasty unprocessed foods. By: Jodie Shield, MED, RD Sweet! November is National Diabetes Month, but hold your fork, knife, and spoon! If you, or any of your peeps, have diabetes - or just want to prevent it - check out the American Diabetes Association nutrition recommendations. While a balanced diet and daily dose of exercise are still important, what you eat may be the key. Studies have found munching on nutrient-dense “whole” foods, rather than highly processed stuff loaded with sugar, salt, and fat, helps smooth out blood sugar highs and lows. While no food is a magic bullet, these five are powerful weapons for fighting diabetes. Oatmeal. Sow your oats with this whole grain cereal because the beta-glucan found in oats doubles down your health benefits. For starters, eating oatmeal lowers bad LDL cholesterol reducing heart disease risk. Plus, it slows the absorption of glucose from food in the stomach keeping blood sugar levels under control. Ultimately this helps curb your appetite and may help you shed excess pounds. Make sure you eat unsweetened oatmeal; for a flavor boost, sprinkle on some cinnamon and nuts. Try my Orange-Cranberry Oats. Beans. The benefits of eating beans (black, white, kidney, pinto, navy, and garbanzo) are magical. Beans are virtually fat-free, slowly digested, and provide a winning combination of high-quality carbs, lean protein, and soluble fiber all of which help prevent spikes in blood sugar and keep hunger in check. Always rinse canned beans under running water to remove sodium then toss them into salads, soups, stews, and chilies. Try my lightened-up version of Red Beans and Rice. Salmon. There’s nothing fishy about eating salmon. It’s a great source of protein, which doesn’t affect blood sugar as much as carbohydrates. And salmon is high in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which help prevent heart attacks and stroke. Stay away from breaded or deep-fried salmon, or you negate the health benefits. Try the Chicago Tribune’s Seriously Simple Salmon Burgers. Almonds. Go nuts and enjoy almonds. They provide a low-carb mix of protein, heart-hearty fats, fiber, and magnesium. Some studies have found that magnesium, which plays a role in carbohydrate metabolism, may be instrumental in reducing diabetes risk by as much as 33 percent. Other magnesium-rich foods include pumpkin seeds, spinach, and Swiss chard. Try my Spinach Salad with Strawberries, Feta, and Almonds. Barley. This up and coming whole grain carb is loaded with cholesterol-lowering beta-glucan, fiber, and magnesium. Barley also happens to be the richest grain source of chromium, a nutrient that aids in controlling blood glucose. Look for pearled barley, it’s the most common type, and use it in any recipe that calls for rice. Try Food and Nutrition Magazine’s Toasted Barley Salad with Fava and Fennel. For more quick, easy, and delicious diabetes-preventing recipes, check out my FREE app Healthy Homemade Meals available at iTunes and Google Play.