Jan 14, 2020

7 Diabetes-Friendly Recipes

Trying to balance your health, your nutrition, and your cravings when cooking and choosing food is tough. But it’s especially difficult if you’re diabetic. Those living with diabetes need to watch what they eat more carefully than the average person. And you have to pay attention to all kinds of special requirements, like carbohydrates, the glycemic index, and how food could affect your blood sugar.

As a result, many diabetes-friendly recipes are bland and boring. But they don’t have to be. It’s possible to create delicious, easy meals – including desserts – that fulfill your needs as a diabetic. 

If you follow the dietary guidelines for diabetes, you can make some tasty foods that are low-carb, low on the glycemic index, and filled with protein and healthy fats. You just need to find the right recipes, ones that feature good-for-you ingredients and are filling. No matter what type of specific diet you’re following, these recipes can meet all of your health and nutritional needs, all while tasting great.


  • Chicken is the protein that can really do it all. It’s healthy and lean – and it’s also great for diabetics, if you leave the skin off for less saturated fat and cholesterol, according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA).

    But the problem with chicken is that it can be bland. However, it doesn’t have to be boring and unsatisfying if you take a boneless, skinless chicken breast to the next level with a recipe like Stuffed Chicken Breast.

    Created by Diabetes Strong, Stuffed Chicken Breast can be a whole meal. With just five minutes of prep and 20 minutes of cooking time, you can have a filling, nutritious meal on the table in no time. With a good-for-you protein as the base, vegetables and low-fat cheese, and a host of strong seasonings, this recipe will excite your taste buds but keep your blood sugar on track.

  • There’s nothing quite as filling or as comforting as a warm bowl of soup. But as a diabetic, many soups are off limits for being high in salt, carbs, fat, and other not-so-great ingredients.

    If you’re craving a bowl of soup, you simply need to try a recipe that swaps out the unhealthy ingredients for plenty of vegetables and protein. And Coconut Chicken Soup by Diabetes Strong is a recipe that does exactly that.

    With just 231 calories and 12 grams of carbs per bowl, Coconut Chicken Soup packs a nutritious punch. It’s filled with lean chicken breast, a satisfying protein, and an array of vegetables. In this soup, you’ll eat green zucchini, red bell peppers, and pumpkin. And all of these vegetables are on the ADA’s list of non-starchy vegetables that are great choices for diabetics. On top of that, these are excellent sources of nutrients, as they contain plenty of vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

  • Breakfast is a meal that’s meant to fill you up and prepare you for the day ahead. But unfortunately for anyone who’s living with diabetes, most breakfast foods are completely off limits. Easy breakfasts like cereal, muffins, and yogurt can contain a lot of sugar and carbs, which can make it difficult to find something that’s good for you and delicious.

    But you can still enjoy traditional breakfast foods like pancakes – you just need to find the right diabetes-friendly recipe. And Health.com’s recipe for Applesauce Pancakes is low in carbs, low in sugar, and high in deliciousness.

    Instead of using butter to create these pancakes, you’ll lower the fat by using applesauce. You’ll get a sweet taste with less sugar, and you can even make them heart healthy by opting for whole wheat flour if you’d like. And when it comes to toppings, you don’t have to shy away from fruit. As the ADA notes, fruits do contain carbohydrates, but they can also be a great way to add sweetness without sugar. Just make sure you’re looking for fruits that don’t contain added sugar.

  • If one thing is certain about living with diabetes, it’s that vegetables should always be on your must-eat list. The key, however, is choosing non-starchy vegetables that contain plenty of nutrients and vitamins. And if you need a tastier way to eat a lot of vegetables, you’ll want to try the Cucumber Tomato Salad with Garbanzo Beans and Feta from Kalyn’s Kitchen.

    This veggie-packed salad is actually filled with two diabetes-friendly components: vegetables and protein. The garbanzo beans, which are also called chickpeas, are high in fiber and low on the glycemic index – and they’re super filling. The cucumbers and tomatoes are also non-starchy vegetables, which is great for diabetics.

    And on top of these benefits, you can also adapt this salad to suit your tastes. If you need it to be a little more filling, you can add a diabetes-approved protein like chicken breast or turkey. You can also add in other vegetables, or remove the cheese entirely if it doesn’t work for you.

  • Pizza doesn’t exactly seem like a diabetes-friendly food at first glance. Traditionally, pizza includes a ton of carbs thanks to its crust and “bad” ingredients like cheese, fatty meats, and little substance.

    But what many people don’t realize is that you can make pizza healthy. You can also make it diabetes-friendly – you just have to choose the right ingredients and toppings. And that’s why the Health.com recipe for Three Pepper Pizza is a great way to fulfill a pizza craving without throwing your blood sugar off track.

    This Three Pepper Pizza is a great source of nutrients thanks to the veggies-only toppings. It uses three different bell peppers, which offer vitamin C, and you can adjust it as needed for your diet. You can use a whole wheat crust and low-fat or fat-free cheese to get calcium without overdoing the fat.

  • According to the ADA, fish is one of the best proteins diabetics can choose – and you should aim to eat it twice each week. It’s loaded with filling protein, but it’s also high in omega-3 fatty acids and low in fat. 

    But finding new ways to incorporate fish into your diet can be tough, especially if you struggle to find dishes that also pair well with sides. Fortunately, the Sheet Pan Mediterranean Snapper recipe by HummuSapien can help you toss together a tasty fish meal on a single pan.

    All you have to do to master this recipe is cooking everything on one pan. You can pair the snapper with your favorite non-starchy vegetables, like zucchini and tomatoes or squash and broccoli. With a citrus topping and low-fat Greek yogurt topping, it’s all around a great choice for diabetics.

  • As a diabetic, you might not think you can indulge in dessert. But what’s more tempting than sugary and sweet cakes, cookies, and other delicious treats? 

    Well, if you choose the right recipes, you don’t have to worry as much about having a “treat yourself” moment every so often. The low-carb Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes recipe by All Day I Dream About Food is a great option for diabetics who want to try a treat and still manage their blood sugar.

    These Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes are tangy and sweet, but they’re also diabetes-friendly. They use almond meal instead of flour to lower the carbs, and Swerve sweetener is used instead of sugar to lower the impact on your blood sugar. Even better, these cupcakes use frozen strawberries – frozen fruit is considered a great choice by the ADA – and fresh lemon juice to prevent added sugars too.

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