Side dishes

‘An exciting part of the meal’

The side dishes we choose should be an exciting part of the meal. Typical choices include rice, potatoes or mealie pap, but that doesn’t have to be the only options. There are a wide variety of foods that can be delicious side dishes, ranging from starches to vegetables as well as starchy veggies. When planning a meal or the meals for a whole day, it is necessary to look at the amount of carbs that are included. This is important for all of us, but even more so for those with diabetes. Side dishes often include a lot of starch, so we must make sure that we don’t eat too many carbs which could lead to weight gain and higher blood sugar levels.

Aim to include one portion of a starchy side dish per meal and then fill the rest of your plate with interesting and flavourful low-carb side dishes of vegetables and salad. When you choose starchy side dishes, choose better, more nutritious options, like sweet potatoes instead of potatoes or brown rice instead of white rice. This ensures that you enjoy an appetising meal with more healthy nutrients and not too many carbs.

By adding ingredients like lentils to rice, the side dish remains filling enough, but doesn’t only consist of high-carb foods. Season side dishes with interesting flavours like fresh or dried herbs, spices, ginger, chilli and lemon juice rather than sugar, cream or pre-prepared sauces. This will keep these dishes as healthy as possible.

The recipes in this section have been divided into starchy side dishes and veggie sides, which are lower in starch. Choose the one that will make your meal balanced and not include too many carbs. Take into account whether you will be having dessert as well. The amount of carbs per portion has been indicated, so use as a guide to know what other side dishes you can include and how much of it you can eat.