If someone in your home has recently been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, or hypoglycemia, finding healthy diabetic recipes can be challenging. We’ve gathered together 14 delicious diabetic recipes for each meal of the day, as well as a few healthy snacks and dessert recipes to try.
These diabetic recipes are also excellent for those who have been diagnosed with prediabetes and for those who are beginning to experience common diabetes symptoms including:
Intermittent fasting for type 2 diabetes is gaining in popularity—but it is not for everyone. If your blood sugar levels drop dramatically in the three or four hours after eating, be sure to check your blood sugar levels often for the first several weeks after starting any type of fasting plan. And of course, if you are a diabetic, talk to your doctor before making any dramatic changes to your diet.
The American Diabetes Association has created a simple way to help diabetics manage portions. “Create Your Plate” operates on the premise that by eating the right foods, in the right proportions, diabetics can more efficiently manage their blood glucose levels. The food proportions in the Create Your Plate plan are:
The American Diabetes Association recommends the following foods for the Create Your Plate program.
|Cracked wheat||Whole wheat flour||Oats|
|Pumpkin||Butternut squash||Green peas|
|Corn||Acorn squash||Sweet potato/yam|
|Salad greens||Asparagus||Bean sprouts|
|Black beans||Kidney beans||Split peas|
|Hummus and falafel||Lentils||Nut butters|
|Fish high in omega-3 fatty acids||Shellfish||Chicken|
|Cornish game hen||Turkey||Whole eggs|
|Venison||Beef and veal||Lamb|
The recipes below contain ingredients from the lists above as well as a few diabetic dessert recipes.
Breakfast is arguably the most important meal of the day; it needs to give you a boost of energy and keep you satisfied until lunch. This is particularly true for individuals with type 1 or type 2 diabetes—skipping meals is never a good idea.
A recent study published in the journal Clinical Nutrition echoes what other researchers have found—cinnamon can improve insulin resistance, fasting insulin levels, and cholesterol levels in patients with type 2 diabetes. Cinnamon is an excellent ingredient for diabetics, and this Cinnamon and Walnut Porridge from Ahead of Thyme makes it the star.
It is vital to use rolled oats or old-fashioned oats, as they have less impact on your blood sugar than instant oats do. This recipe uses a combination of almond milk and water to give this oatmeal a creamy consistency—just be sure to use unsweetened almond milk. As a bonus, the almond milk and walnuts make this a healthy high-protein breakfast.
Eggs are a high-quality protein that has gotten a bad rap for their cholesterol. As it turns out, eggs aren’t the evil-doers they were once believed to be—researchers say that eggs exert a small effect on bad cholesterol. Eggs are rich in nutrients, including vitamin B2, selenium, zinc, iron, and copper, and are the perfect ingredient for diabetic breakfasts.
From The New York Times comes this delicious More-Vegetable-Than-Egg-Frittata recipe that is a health-conscious diabetic’s dream. If you are using the Create Your Plate guideline above, this recipe uses eggs, cheese, and a ton of fresh vegetables that meet the 25%/25%/50% criteria of the program. The beauty is in the technique and the flexibility to use any combination of vegetables that you love.
Buckwheat may have “wheat” in its name, but wheat and buckwheat aren’t even related. Buckwheat is a whole grain that is actually related to rhubarb, and it is completely gluten-free. A randomized controlled trial focusing on how buckwheat affects insulin resistance and cholesterol levels in type 2 diabetes patients revealed that buckwheat decreases fasting insulin, total cholesterol, and LDL cholesterol in diabetic patients in just four weeks.
From Cookie and Kate comes this light and fluffy Gluten-Free Buckwheat Waffle recipe—the secret is the use of buttermilk as well as conventional leavening ingredients. To keep this a diabetic-friendly recipe, top with fresh fruit. Or, to boost the protein levels, top with almond butter, slices of banana, and chopped almonds.
The goal for type 1 and type 2 diabetics is to keep blood sugar steady—avoiding spikes and falls. That is why lunch is so essential. Dive into a lunch that includes adequate protein and low-glycemic carbs to get you through the afternoon.
Turkey is an excellent source of lean protein, and hummus made from chickpeas, tahini, garlic, and olive oil is rich in dietary fiber, protein, and healthy fats. Along with some fresh cucumber, tomatoes, and feta cheese—this Mediterranean Turkey Wrap from the American Diabetes Association is a perfect diabetic recipe for lunch.
Be sure to choose a whole grain wrap to keep your blood sugar levels steady. And if you are avoiding soy, read the nutrition labels of the wraps carefully, because many low-carb wraps now contain soy. This recipe is great for quick lunches on the go. You can also pack ingredients separately and put the wrap together in a flash at work.
Whole grains like barley, quinoa, and brown rice provide protein, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. And if you haven’t tried them cooked, cooled, and used as a base for a hearty salad—you’ve been missing out. Quinoa, in particular, is packed with phytochemicals and protein that boasts an outstanding balance of essential amino acids.
From Chelsea’s Messy Apron comes this filling and delicious Avocado Quinoa Salad. In addition to the quinoa and avocado, this salad includes several diabetic-friendly foods such as fresh spinach, feta cheese, cucumber, cilantro, and cherry tomatoes. If you have leftover roasted chicken, chop it up and sprinkle on top to boost the protein content.
Mason jar salads are all the rage because it just takes a little bit of prep time to create these beautifully layered salads that are perfect for a lunch on the go. This Layered Mediterranean Salad from Easy Health Living is best when prepared the night before to give the flavors a chance to meld together.
Dinner is an important meal for diabetics too. Nutritionally, your dinner needs to give you enough slow-digesting fiber and protein to get you through the night without causing dramatic rises or falls in blood glucose levels. Here are three of our favorite diabetic recipes for dinner.
Seafood is one of the foods that the American Diabetes Association recommends diabetics consume several times a week. Shellfish are an excellent source of protein and healthy fats, and as a bonus they cook quickly. From Diabetic Living Magazine comes this delicious, nutrient-dense Seafood Salad with Creamy Ginger Dressing.
This recipe is ready in only 40 minutes and can be made earlier in the day and refrigerated until dinnertime. The dressing contains ginger, sour cream, vinegar, and a hint of orange juice that complements the seafood perfectly. Fresh mangos and chopped cashews add a ton of flavor as well as essential vitamins and minerals.
Chicken is low in saturated fat and an excellent source of lean protein, iron, calcium, magnesium, and potassium. This recipe includes artichoke hearts, which research shows benefits cholesterol levels. Artichokes contain dietary fiber that helps keep you full longer and stabilizes blood sugar levels.
From Diabetes Strong comes this quick and easy (and cheesy!) Stuffed Chicken Breast that is packed with healthy fats, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and flavor. The recipe calls for a touch of curry powder, but this can be swapped out for Italian or Southwest seasonings as desired.
If you hear “low-carb” and “lasagna” in the same sentence and bristle, you aren’t alone. But this recipe, also from Diabetes Strong, manages to make you love zucchini lasagna. Zucchini is loaded with dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals, anti-inflammatory phytonutrients, and antioxidants.
Low-Carb Zucchini Lasagna uses low-fat mozzarella, lean ground beef, fresh tomatoes, and mushrooms to give it the authentic bolognese texture. This lasagna recipe is cheesy, rich, and has a bit of kick from a serrano pepper. All, in all, it is a perfect bite. This recipe does bake for one hour, but it is definitely worth the wait.
If in the middle of the morning or afternoon you just have to have a bite, be sure it is a healthy one.
Deviled eggs are an excellent snack for diabetics. They are loaded with protein and healthy fats, and they taste great. Diabetic Living Magazine has come up with a recipe for Deviled Eggs Three Ways to please every palate (and craving!). Greek yogurt and mayo are used to make the filling extra creamy and to add even more protein to this diabetic recipe.
But the real genius here is the three suggested variations to the standard deviled egg recipe. If you are craving a BLT, they’ve got you covered. Do your taste buds want to wander south of the border? They’ve got a delicious variation that adds salsa, cilantro, and jalapeños. And, if you are yearning for something herbaceous, their cucumber-dill topping is sure to please.
If you are a diabetic, not all snacks have to be savory. This diabetic recipe from The Healthy Maven is loaded with protein and dietary fiber. Try these No-Bake Peanut Butter Cup Protein Bars that get their sweetness from the protein powder and a touch of honey.
If you’d prefer, you can use a natural low-glycemic sweetener like coconut nectar in place of the honey to keep your blood sugar levels stable. These healthy protein bars can be held in the refrigerator or freezer and grabbed whenever you need a boost of energy, or to satisfy a late-night sweet tooth.
When people are first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, they often believe they will have to say “farewell” to desserts. Fortunately, there are diabetic-friendly recipes that balance protein and sugars to help minimize the impact on blood glucose levels. Here are three of our favorite diabetic dessert recipes.
The Minimalist Baker brings us this amazingly creamy and rich Overnight Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding that uses pure maple syrup as the sweetener. Rounding out the recipe are ingredients packed with nutrients and healing properties, including cacao powder, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and almond milk.
If you’ve not tried grilling fruit yet—it is time! Grilling fruit brings out the natural sweetness and lends a hint of smoky flavor. The Spruce Eats gives a detailed explanation on how to grill peaches perfectly. Once they are done, top with a dollop of Greek yogurt and a sprinkle of cinnamon and you will have a delicious and healthy dessert.
One of the best pieces of diet advice is to eat fruits and vegetables when they are in season. The flavor is more pronounced, and often fresh fruits and veggies right off the plant have a stronger nutrient profile than those that have been stored for the future. Wash fresh fruit thoroughly, and then enjoy with the Greek yogurt dip recipe below.
Greek Yogurt Dip