Continuously coming up with ideas to make dinner simple and delicious every night can be challenging — especially if you’re trying to stick to eating meals that fit your dietary needs.
For the millions of Americans living with diabetes, for example, this means making dishes that prevent harmful blood sugar spikes. Some people try to stick to dining Mediterranean style or go full on plant-based and find success. Others try the “low carb” approach, since reducing carbs has been proven to reduce blood sugar levels. (Although how “low” a person ought to go depends on the individual and should be determined by their physician.) There are so many approaches to living healthily with diabetes because everyone is unique.
And in reality, there’s no one “magic” diabetic eating pattern, according to the American Diabetes Association ADA. Every body responds differently to different types of foods, so it’s best to work closely with your doctor and/or a registered dietician to figure out what’s best for you. But generally speaking, the ADA claims that meals that are …
- Centered on whole, minimally processed foods
- Lighter on the starchy vegetables (like corn, beets, and green peas)
- Low in added sugar and refined grains
- Low in saturated fat (from sources like butter and fatty beef), but high in unsaturated fat (from foods like olive oil and fish)
… can be helpful in managing glucose levels. So, regardless of what eating pattern you lean toward, we’ve gathered a bunch of tasty diabetes-friendly dinner recipes to add to your evening meal plan list. Scroll through and pick the ones that fit your needs and tastes. We promise you won’t be wasting time at night wondering “What’s for dinner?” — at least not for a while.
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Soba Salad with Chicken
Soba is a Japanese noodle that’s made mostly of buckwheat: a popular grain-alternative that is gluten-free. Buckwheat also contains manganese, which assists metabolism and immune system function. Some studies even suggest that this pseudo-grain can help regular blood sugar. This is all to say that soba noddles can be a great option for many diabetic foodies. And this dish is quick, tasty, and high in protein thanks to the chicken and edamame. If you’d like, you can modify the carrot-ginger dressing by adding less sugar.
Butterflied Turkey with Herb Gravy
You’ll want to bookmark this one for your next holiday dinner. This lean bird is so juicy it doesn’t even need gravy. But if you’re feeling a little saucy, the sage, parsley dressing will make your mouth water. While the turkey is in the oven, you can even prepare some of your favorite veggies and sides like quinoa, sweet potatoes, or squash. Now you’re really feasting!
Keto Taco Skillet Recipe
Enjoy your tacos with or without the tortilla with this easy one-skillet dish. This recipe calls for lean-beef, which tends to have less saturated fat, but doesn’t mean the dish lacks flavor. The bell peppers add sweetness while the jalapeños get things a little hot. If you want something savory in the morning, you may want to bookmark this for brunch. By the way, this tastes amazing with eggs.
White Bean Salad with Spicy Roasted Tomatoes and Broccoli
For a smaller dish, this zesty, vegan white bean salad may be the lighter fare you’re looking for. Beans and tomatoes are two “superfoods” that the ADA says are rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber that are good for overall health. White beans are high in protein and contain magnesium, which helps with insulin metabolism. Tomatoes are packed with antioxidants like vitamin C and E, two nutrients that protect our cells from damaging free radicals. So toss these ingredients up with some spinach and spicy broccoli, then drizzle with a dijon dressing and you have yourself one nourishing salad with little bit of a kick.
Garlic Butter Mushrooms
Mushrooms are great if you want something meaty without the meat. They also contain various B vitamins (like riboflavin, niacin, and pantothenic acid), which help your body turn the fats, carbs, and proteins you eat into energy. Simmer them up with butter, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, and garlic, for something yummy. You can eat this by itself, over your favorite protein, over pasta, or veggie noodles. If you don’t want so much dairy, you can swap in vegan butter and plain almond milk instead of regular butter and evaporated milk.
Low-Carb General Tso’s Chicken
If you got 10 minutes you can make your own homemade, heart-healthy version of General Tso’s Chicken faster than Grubhub could arrive at your door. It’s so simple: All you need to do is mix the sauce, cook up the chicken in spices, top with green onion, and voilà! You can then sautée some of your favorite vegetables (like broccoli or string beans) to add some nutrient-dense foods to your plate.
Easy Massaged Kale Salad with Goat Cheese and Pomegranates
If you aren’t massaging your kale before you mix it into your salads you’re missing out on a whole world of tenderness and flavor. This recipe will teach you how to give the leaves a good rubdown in a tasty no-sugar dijon dressing. The pomegranate seeds and walnut chunks add some natural sweetness and crunch, while the goat cheese adds a delightfully creamy texture.
Keto Shrimp Stir Fry
Stir fries are perfect for those weeknights when you just don’t have the energy to cook up something that needs a lot of prep. This one is centered on shrimp, which is considered to be a “lean protein” since it is so low in fat (4 ounces has 2 grams of fat). The bright carrots, peppers, and snow peas provide amazing color and a subtle sweetness, while the rice vinegar add a pleasant sour flare. It’s so easy, you can have dinner made in 25 minutes.
Honey Gochujang Pressure Cooker Chicken
If you haven’t tried cooking whole chicken in a pressure cooker before, do it. You will love how tender and flavorful the meat is when you sink your teeth into it. This recipe will teach you how to prepare a chicken dinner with a pressure cooker as well as the sweet-meets-tangy Gochujang glaze. Serve with your favorite sides and bon apétit!
Low-Carb Beef Stew
On those chilly wintery nights, nothing is better than cozying up with a warm bowl of hearty stew. The key to this low-carb recipe is swapping out the starchier potatoes for turnips (a root veggie). As the beef, vegetables, and spices stew together, the broth becomes infused with a rich umami flavor. Brewing up this magic takes some time however: about 10 minutes of prep and an hour and 15 for cooking. Just keep in mind that this is no quick dish, but when you can swing it, it’s so worth it.
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