If you have diabetes, then you know that watching what you eat is a critical part of managing your condition. However, it can be hard to come up with dinner ideas that are both healthy and delicious. That’s why we’ve put together this list of 25 diabetic-friendly dinner ideas to help you decide what to eat tonight without drastically raising your blood sugar level. So whether you’re looking for something easy and quick, or something a little more elaborate, we’ve got a diabetes-friendly recipe that is right for you.
Why is it important to eat healthy when I have diabetes?
There are a few reasons. First, eating healthy helps to keep your blood sugar levels in check. That’s important because if your blood sugar gets too high, it can lead to serious health problems like diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), which is when your blood becomes too acidic and can ultimately lead to death if left untreated. Second, eating healthy can help you lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, which is important because being overweight or obese increases your risk for type 2 diabetes. Lastly, eating healthy can help reduce your risk for diabetic complications like heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure.
So what does a diabetic-friendly diet look like?
A diabetic diet is really just a healthy diet that includes foods that are low in sugar and carbohydrates and that are high in fiber which means plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. It also means limiting processed foods, sugary drinks, and red meat. Below we will showcase a number of dishes that can be used as dinner ideas if you are diabetic.
25 diabetic-friendly dinner ideas
If you are a diabetic and at a loss for what to eat for dinner we have some ideas to get you started. Some examples of diabetes-friendly dinner ideas include:
Black Bean Enchiladas
These enchiladas are filled with black beans, cheese, and plenty of veggies. To make them more diabetic-friendly, simply swap out the white flour tortillas for whole wheat tortillas.
This hearty chili is filled with beans, vegetables, and plenty of flavors like chili powder for authentic flavor. It can easily be made even healthier by using plant-based proteins while avoiding the addition of any processed fake meats.
Roasted Salmon with Asparagus
Salmon is a great source of lean protein and is packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial for heart health. Simply roast the salmon and asparagus without any additional sauces or seasonings to avoid unwanted salt and carbohydrates. If you want, olive oil can be used as an addition to introduce healthy fats into your diet and so the salmon and asparagus don’t stick to the pan.
Quinoa with Roasted vegetables
Quinoa with roasted vegetables is a dish that is high in fiber and protein, making it a filling and satisfying meal. As noted in the above recipe, simply roast the vegetables but be aware of any seasonings that are high in salt or sugar. Again, olive oil is a healthy option to introduce fats.
A stir-fry is a great way to incorporate a variety of vegetables into one dish. When making a diabetic-friendly stir-fry, be sure to use lean protein sources such as chicken or shrimp. Avoid any sugary sauces or seasonings and opt for healthy oils like sesame oil.
Slow Cooker Chicken Teriyaki
Not only is this dish diabetic-friendly, but it’s also low in calories and fat. The skinless chicken breasts are cooked in a slow cooker with a sugar-free teriyaki sauce. Be sure to use brown rice instead of white rice to further reduce the carbohydrates.
Chicken and Veggie Foil Packs
These foil packs are an easy and diabetic-friendly way to get a healthy dinner on the table. Simply add chicken, vegetables, and seasonings to a foil pack and bake. Avoid any pre-made seasoning packets as they often contain hidden sugars.
Zucchini Noodles with Chicken
This chicken recipe is a low-carb chicken Alfredo. The noodles are made out of zucchini, which are low in carbohydrates, and the sauce is made with heavy cream and Parmesan cheese, both used in moderation. To make it even healthier, you could swap out the chicken for shrimp.
Cauliflower Rice Burrito Bowl
A burrito bowl is a great way to get your Mexican food fix without all the carbohydrates that come with traditional burritos. The rice is made out of cauliflower, which is high in fiber and low in carbohydrates. Be sure to load up on the veggies and add a lean protein like chicken or fish.
Roasted salmon with Brussels sprouts
Salmon is a great source of omega-three fatty acids, which are good for your heart. Use salmon fillets and to limit the grams of carbohydrates, avoid adding any sauces or seasonings high in sugar. A squeeze of lemon juice would be a perfect addition to open up the flavors.
This chicken Parmesan recipe is a diabetic-friendly version of the classic dish. The chicken is coated in a mixture of almond flour and Parmesan cheese. It is then baked until golden brown. Be sure to serve it with a side of roasted vegetables or a salad.
Baked Chicken Tenders
These chicken tenders are coated in a mixture of cornmeal and spices, then baked until crispy. Serve them with a side of diabetic-friendly dipping sauce that is low in sodium and sugar.
Sausage and Peppers
The classic Italian dish with bell peppers is given a fun twist to help manage your blood sugar levels. Simply swap out the traditional white rice for brown rice or quinoa. You could also add in some extra vegetables to boost the nutrient content. If you want to make it a sandwich without the rice, simply use a whole wheat or whole grain bread or roll instead of white bread.
Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas
Fajitas are a great way to get a healthy and diabetic-friendly meal on the table. Simply add chicken, vegetables, and seasonings to a sheet pan with olive oil and low-sodium spices and bake. Use whole wheat tortillas or romaine lettuce wraps to keep the carbohydrates low.
Buffalo Chicken Wraps
Buffalo chicken wraps are the perfect bar food and we make a version that won’t raise your glucose levels as much as the original. The chicken is coated in a mixture of hot sauce and spices, baked, and then wrapped in a whole wheat tortilla. Be sure to use low-fat ranch dressing or blue cheese dressing as a dipping sauce.
Vegetable soup is a great way to get your daily dose of vegetables. Simply add any vegetables you like, along with some chicken or beef broth. Avoid any creamy soups as they often contain hidden sugars.
Thai Chicken Curry
Thai chicken curry is a classic dish that also does not have to rank high on the glycemic index, which is a value that indicates how much each meal will raise your blood glucose level. The curry is made with coconut milk, which is high in healthy fats. You can use brown rice or quinoa instead of white rice to keep the carbohydrates low.
Beef and Broccoli
This version of the classic Chinese dish can be made even healthier for your diabetic meal plan. The beef is cooked in a mixture of low-sodium soy sauce, ginger, and garlic while making sure to use broccoli florets instead of the stems as they are lower in carbohydrates. You could also serve this dish with a side of brown rice or quinoa.
This recipe is a healthier version of the classic dish. The eggplant is coated in a mixture of breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese, then baked until golden brown. Baking the eggplant parm is better than frying so it won’t raise your blood sugar levels as much. Make sure to serve it with a side of diabetic-friendly marinara sauce that is low in sugar.
Slow Cooker Honey and Sriracha Garlic Pork Loin
The recipe for this dish is a great diabetic-friendly option that is also low in carbohydrates. The pork loin is cooked in a mixture of honey, sriracha sauce, and garlic and served with a side of steamed broccoli or roasted vegetables.
One-Pot Chicken and Rice
One-pot chicken and rice is a great way to get a complete meal on the table with minimal effort. Simply add chicken, rice, and vegetables to one pot and let it cook. Use brown rice or quinoa instead of white rice to make it even better for you if you have diabetes. You could also add in some extra vegetables to boost the nutrient content.
Pizza casserole is an inventive way to get your pizza fix without all of the unhealthy toppings. The casserole is made with lean beef that is ground, low-sugar tomato sauce, and low-fat mozzarella cheese while using whole wheat or whole grain pasta for the base. Add in some extra vegetables to boost the nutrient content if you prefer.
Slow Cooker Chickpea Curry
The slow cooker chickpea curry is low in carbohydrates and full of healthy foods that won’t cause a spike in your blood sugar level. The curry is made with chickpeas, tomatoes, and spices and served with a side of steamed green beans or roasted vegetables.
These zucchini boats are a great way to get your vegetables in while also getting a bit of protein from the ground beef filling. The zucchini are hollowed out and filled with a mixture of lean ground beef, low-sugar tomato sauce, and spices. You could also add some extra vegetables to the filling if you like.
Cauliflower Crust Pizza
Cauliflower crust pizza is a genius alternative way to eat pizza without all of the unhealthy toppings and extra carbs. The crust is made from cauliflower, then topped with a low-sugar tomato sauce and low-fat mozzarella cheese. Add in some extra vegetables to boost the nutrient content if you prefer.
As with any meal, portion size is important when you have diabetes. Make sure to measure out the correct amount of each food group to help keep your blood sugar levels in check. Also, be sure to spread your meals out throughout the day so that you are not eating too much at once and causing a spike in your blood sugar levels. Diabetic-friendly snacks such as nuts or fruit are also a great way to help keep your blood sugar levels in the normal range between meals.
So there you have it – 25 diabetic dinner ideas to get you started. Remember, a diabetic diet is really just a healthy diet, so focus on incorporating plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains into your meals and limit processed foods, sugary drinks, and red meat. With some planning and creativity, you can make diabetic-friendly meals with some delicious recipes that the whole family will love. If you have any more questions, please talk to your doctor, healthcare provider, or dietician about a diabetic meal plan that is customized for you.
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