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a rainbow of foods in front of a brain

A Sample Day of Colorful Brain-Protecting Meals for People With Diabetes

Reach your health potential one color-filled bite at a time. Each color contains a unique combination of phytonutrients—plant compounds that help neutralize cell-damaging molecules in the body, known as free radicals. Mother Nature has created thousands of phytonutrients, each with distinctive health benefits.

For example, beautiful, blue blueberries contain resveratrol, which has blood glucose-lowering capabilities and can improve one’s blood lipid profile.1 On the other hand, flavanols found in tea and apples can aid in lowering blood pressure.2 When creating meals, take note of how many colors are on the dish. Then, set goals to increase the color content and diversify your phytonutrient intake (white, brown, and black count too).

Healthy brain foods for type 2 diabetes

To get started, experiment with the vibrant dishes below.

Very berry tropical smoothie bowl recipe

  • 2 tbsp frozen unsweetened acai
  • ¼ cup frozen raspberries
  • ¼ cup frozen pineapple
  • ½ cup frozen blueberries
  • 3 tbsp unsweetened plant-based milk (or low-fat milk of choice)
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 2 tsp hulled hemp seed
  • 1 tbsp shredded coconut

Brain health tip: Cha-cha-cha-chia! Adding chia seeds or hemp seeds to meals is a no-brainer. Add a quick sprinkle in smoothies, oatmeal, or avocado toast to reap their omega-3 brain-boosting and heart-healthy benefits. Aim to include 1-2 tablespoons a day to help reach your omega 3 needs. To try this silky-smooth bowl, click here.

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Sweet and salty granola parfait

  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup honey
  • ¼ cup sunflower seeds
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tbsp almonds
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/8 cup chopped dates
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½ cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt

Fiber tip: Fiber can fuel the body in a multitude of ways! It is satiating, can help lower blood glucose, and can reduce cell exposure to cancer-causing substances.3 Gut bacteria can also use fiber to produce short-chain fatty acids that protect colon cells—ultimately contributing to a healthy microbiome. New evidence is beginning to demonstrate a possible positive effect on brain health.4 Talk about a mighty nutrient! To reach the fiber-filled benefits of oats, pumpkin seeds, and sunflowers seeds, click here.

Turkey mushroom lasagna with roasted peppers

  • 2 red, yellow, or orange bell peppers
  • 24 oz baby Bella (cremini) mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 5 cups marinara
  • 14 no-boil lasagna noodles
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup mozzarella

Brain health tip: Did you know that mushrooms are also packed with health benefits? In fact, mighty mushrooms have bioactive compounds that may play a role in protecting the brain.5 As we age, there is progressive deterioration of our neurons (the working units of our brains) structure and functions—ultimately leading to a decline in the thinking process. Type 2 diabetes is associated with a higher incidence of cognitive decline with aging.6 To help keep your brain sharp, include mushrooms regularly in your diet. They can be added to soups, incorporated into lean turkey, marinated alongside whole grains or fish dishes, or tossed into your favorite pasta. There are endless taste adventures with this fun-gi! To try this brain-boosting recipe, click here.

Spinach onion rice cakes

  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp healthy butter substitute
  • 16 oz frozen spinach
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup chickpea breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup finely grated parmesan
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp dried oregano

Meal prep tip: Cut down on cooking time with this meal prep-friendly dish. When you have an extra moment, prepare the rice ahead of time or use precooked brown rice. There is no shame in the microwave game! Then, defrost the spinach in a glass dish in the fridge overnight. The following day simply drain the excess water and heat. Make a large batch and freeze the extras in an air-tight container to enjoy as a side dish throughout the week. To try this succulent spinach recipe, click here.

Baked Alaskan cod with strawberry salsa

  • ½ cup red onion
  • 8 large strawberries
  • 1 tbsp Anaheim spicy pepper
  • Juice from half one medium lime
  • 2 cod fillets
  • 2 tbsp healthy butter substitute
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper

Food waste tip: Give the planet a helping hand by reducing food waste by opting for silicone mats rather than aluminum foil or parchment paper. These sheets are easy to clean when lightly oiled to help keep the environment (and your wallet) happy. They are dishwasher safe and can be used for even the messiest of creations, such as fish. Don’t forget to create extra strawberry salsa to enjoy with baked tortilla chips as a sweet and tangy snack throughout the week. For the complete recipe, click here.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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