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Pear Perfect

Cooking to Manage Diabetes

Posted: October 17, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: October 17, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Pears are incredibly versatile in sweet and savory recipes. Pears are incredibly versatile in sweet and savory recipes.
Pears are incredibly versatile in sweet and savory recipes.

For the more than 25 million Americans living with diabetes, food choices are critical to maintaining their health.

Chef Sam Talbot, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when he was 12 years old, understands those challenges. But with his new cookbook he proves that diabetics don’t have to sacrifice flavor in order to follow a healthy eating plan.

Talbot earned national recognition as the runner-up in Season 2 of Bravo’s hit TV show “Top Chef.” In his new book, “The Sweet Life: Diabetes without Boundaries,” he shares how diabetes has affected — but has not compromised — his life and career, and offers 75 fresh, all-natural recipes that can be enjoyed by both diabetics and non-diabetics.

Cooking to Manage Diabetes

Doctors recommend that people with diabetes follow a healthy, well bal­anced diet that includes plenty of fiber-rich fruits and vegetables and carbo­hydrates that rank lower on the glycemic index (GI). (See sidebar for more on the glycemic index.)

“Pears are one of my favorite fruits to use in recipes,” says Talbot. “They are a low GI fruit, they’re high in fiber, and the flavor of a ripe
pear is just out of this world. They are incredibly versatile in sweet and savory recipes in all types of world cuisines. They can be part of any meal of the day.” The two recipes here are from Talbot’s book, and showcase the fresh, sweet flavor of pears. For more information, visit, and for additional pear recipes visit

Yogurt with Pear and Coconut

Makes 4 servings

Juice of 1 lemon
1/3     cup unsweetened shredded
2     tablespoons graham cracker

1/2     cup Grape-Nuts or granola
  1     tablespoon granulated stevia
      extract, or to taste
  1    teaspoon ground cinnamon
  2     ripe pears, such as Anjou or
      Bosc, slightly firm to the touch
  3     cups 2% plain Greek yogurt

In medium bowl, combine lemon juice, coconut, graham cracker crumbs, cereal, sweetener and cinnamon.
Peel, core and finely chop pears.

Spoon yogurt into 4 bowls and top with fruit and coconut mixture, or sprinkle directly onto each individual container
of yogurt.

Note: This recipe can do double duty as a dessert if you serve it up parfait style. Spoon 1/8 of the pears into the bottom of each of 4 bowls or parfait glasses.

Add 1/8 of the cereal mixture, then 1/2 cup of yogurt. Repeat with the remaining pears, cereal mixture, and yogurt.
Per Serving: 265 calories, 15 g protein, 38 g carbohydrates, 8 g total fat (6 g saturated), 8 mg cholesterol, 6 g fiber, 157 mg sodium

Lavender Poached Pears

Makes 4 servings

2     large ripe pears, such as Bosc or Anjou, slightly firm to the touch
3     tablespoons granulated stevia
      extract, or to taste

1     tablespoon dried lavender
2     blossoms dried hibiscus
1     chamomile tea bag
1/2     cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves

Peel, halve and core pears using a melon baller to scoop out seeds.
In large pot, combine 3 cups water, sweetener, lavender, hibiscus, chamomile tea and mint.
Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low.

Add pears and simmer until you can easily pierce pears with the tip of a knife, about 20 minutes.
To serve, transfer pear halves to 4 indivi­dual bowls and ladle


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