I'm approaching my final month of pregnancy, which will also be my final month dealing with gestational diabetes. I've been blogging about it at GD Diaries if you're interested in reading more about my experiences as a gestational diabetic. I've had it with all three of my pregnancies, and although it goes away after the baby is born, I will always be at risk for developing diabetes later in life. I may grumble a lot about having to prick my fingers, count carbs, test for ketones, and pass up sugary treats and drinks, but the truth is that gestational diabetes has been a blessing in disguise for me. If everyone ate the way that diabetics have to eat, we would all be a lot healthier. Basically I have to limit the amount of carbohydrates I eat at each meal and snack, and pair them with protein and fiber to slow down their absorption into the bloodstream. It's best to eat complex carbohydrates (whole grains), while avoiding refined sugars. I eat small amounts often (3 meals and at least 3 snacks a day) to keep my blood sugar steady. I also try to get my body moving after I eat (a brisk walk or quick workout on my elliptical) in order to burn off the sugar in my blood. With this diet and exercise, it's actually hard to put on weight! My baby is growing, but I'm shrinking a little. I look like a stick with a beach ball out front. The plus side is that I'm able to bounce back to my pre-pregnancy weight fairly quickly afterwards. If I didn't have gestational diabetes, I'm sure I would have gained a lot more weight and taken much longer to shed it. The healthy habits I've learned as a gestational diabetic are great ones to carry on after the baby is born.
That was rather long-winded, but basically I wanted to share with you a little background for this recipe. It's a low-carb lasagna made with zucchini in place of the noodles. It's perfect for me right now, because it has a lot of protein and fiber with not a lot of carbs. I can eat a lot of it and even have a little whole wheat bread on the side, and my blood sugar won't spike. I don't feel like I'm missing out at all, because it has all the flavour of regular lasagna. I made it one night when we had friends over for dinner. I made a regular lasagna too and the kids and men stuck with that, but us women enjoyed this zucchini lasagna a lot. I was surprised, because I've always hated zucchini, but I think I'm warming up to it now.
No-Noodle Zucchini Lasagna
Adapted from Food.com Zucchini Lasagna- Low Carb
2 medium zucchini, sliced lengthwise into 1/4" thickness
1 lb Italian sausage
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 red pepper, diced
1 jar marinara sauce
1 can (14 oz) diced tomatoes
1 tsp flour
1 cup cottage cheese
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1 cup mozzarella cheese
Place the sliced zucchini in a baking dish and add 1/4 cup water. Cover and microwave until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Remove sausage from casings and cook in a skillet over medium heat, breaking up the meat into small pieces. Once fully browned, drain off fat and set sausage aside. Leave a little fat in the skillet and add onions, garlic and red pepper. Cook over medium heat until tender, about 3-5 minutes. Add sausage back in, along with marinara sauce and diced tomatoes. Let simmer for 5-10 minutes.
In a small bowl, combine egg, flour, cottage cheese, and parmesan cheese.
To assemble lasagna, pour half of meat sauce into a 2.8L oval baking dish. Top with half of zucchini, followed by all the cottage cheese mixture. Top with remaining zucchini and then remaining meat sauce. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Bake uncovered for 45 minutes at 375F. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Makes approx. 6 servings.
Nutritional Facts per serving (350 g): 494 calories, 31.5g fat, 20g carbohydrates, 4 g fiber, 31.8g protein.