Miss Drinking Juice? Try These Citrus Hacks by Caron Golden

Growing up, many of us may have had parents who were keen for us to drink a glass of orange juice with breakfast. And that habit stayed with us into adulthood. However, for people with diabetes, orange juice—and other juices—were probably among the first items we were counseled to avoid.

Miss Drinking Juice? Try These Citrus Hacks The reason for this is simple. Fruit juices, and specifically citrus juices, have lots of carbs without the benefits of fiber and other nutrients from the actual fruit. For instance, an 8-ounce glass of orange juice contains 24 grams of carbs. Grapefruit juice has just a smidge less. If your diabetes management plan calls for 35 grams of carbs a meal, there’s not much left for you to eat after a glass of juice.

Benefits of Eating Citrus

People with diabetes have to be sensible eaters and weigh the decision of which food choices to make. Consider this: Enjoying a small orange contains just 11 grams of carbs. Plus, it also has some protein, vitamin C, folate, calcium, and potassium.
Additionally, eating that orange provides fiber, which keeps our digestive system healthy, helps us feel full for longer, and decreases risks of heart disease, colon cancer, and obesity.

Better Ways to Enjoy Citrus
Does that mean we have to give up citrus juice entirely? No. However, we should consume it very modestly and discover new ways to incorporate it into other meals. For instance, a single tablespoon of orange juice has 1.6 grams of carbs. A tablespoon of lemon or grapefruit juice is even less: 1 gram.
But what can you do with a tablespoon of citrus juice? Try making a vinaigrette! Our Triple Citrus Vinaigrette uses all three fruit juices (check with your doctor if you’re on a statin drug that prohibits you from eating grapefruit).
Squeeze fresh lemon, lime, or orange juice on poultry or seafood before baking, roasting, or grilling. You can also mix a tablespoon of lemon or lime juice with vinegar to make a vinaigrette to add a blast of brightness.
Heading into the winter months, oranges, clementines, and mandarins make for a great snack option. If you don’t like to eat them plain, consider incorporating them into a recipe like arugula salad with mandarin oranges,  fish tacos, an orange relish, or pineapple mandarin orange salsa.
For a more robust meal, you can slow roast thinly sliced lemons, limes, or oranges, along with sliced fennel, and jalapeño peppers to make a fragrant bed for pieces of cod, salmon, or any other fish you love.
Don’t forget the zest of fresh citrus! Alone or combined with the juice, orange, lime, or lemon zest can be the basis of a beautiful marinade for chicken, like our Citrus-Tarragon Chicken Kabobs.
While drinking citrusy juice can pack a wallop of sugar and carbs, there are still plenty of healthy ways to enjoy all the flavors of citrus in your favorite meals. Get creative!

Related Articles

  • What's in Season: Mandarin Oranges

    What's in Season: Mandarin Oranges

    Mandarin oranges are one of the sweetest members of the orange family, and in fact, the term “mandarin” applies to an entire group of citrus fruits! Clementines, tangerines, sumo, and satsuma are all varieties of mandarin oranges. They are all smaller in size, bright orange, and have skin that’s easy to peel. Mandarins are commonly eaten as snacks because of their convenient small size, but they’re also popular in savory dishes and desserts!

  • 8 Tips for Shopping at Farmers Markets

    8 Tips for Shopping at Farmers Markets

    A trip to your local farmers market can give you a chance to enjoy the outdoors, meet other locals, try new foods, and just have fun!

  • How Losing Weight Helped Me with My Diabetes Journey

    How Losing Weight Helped Me with My Diabetes Journey

    Starting a weight-loss program isn’t the hard part–it’s staying on track that really takes some effort. Here’s how one woman makes it easier.

  • Why You Should Eat Plant-Based Foods

    Why You Should Eat Plant-Based Foods

    When it comes to reducing inflammation and the risk for chronic diseases, switching to plant-based foods is an excellent choice. Eating more plant-based foods such as tofu, beans, soy, and lentils and using substitutes for dairy and meat, helps to reduce inflammation in the body and increase phytochemicals and antioxidants in our daily meals. For those with prediabetes or diabetes, consuming more plant-based foods can also help reduce the risk of other chronic diseases such as high blood pressure and heart disease. Including more protein at meals also helps to reduce how high blood glucose (blood sugar) rises after you eat.

  • Meal Prep: Breakfast on the Go

    Meal Prep: Breakfast on the Go

    Everybody likes getting more for less! How about getting more meals from less recipes? With some strategic meal planning and prepping, you can create several days’ worth of meals with just a few recipes and one trip to the grocery store. You can even prepare all of the recipes at once and store meals in single serve containers in the fridge for grab-and-go meals all week.

  • Finding Recipe Inspirations

    Finding Recipe Inspirations

    If you or a family member have recently been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, you may be wracking your brain, trying to come up with delicious, healthy meals. Instead of getting frustrated, how about investing in some cookbooks? Now, while there are cookbooks written and specifically for people with type 2 diabetes, there are many general cookbooks that have recipes that are flavor powerhouses and still conform to your new needs. In fact, they are filled with dishes everyone will enjoy. Here are several from both categories:

Recommended for You