What Makes a Great Diabetes-Friendly Recipe?

Now that you or a loved one are living with type 2 diabetes, you may be wondering if your favorite old recipes can still be part of your type 2 diabetes nutrition plan. Or you may need help finding new recipes that fit your diagnosis.

Crafting wholesome type 2 diabetes-friendly recipes

Here are a few tips on what to look for to make a great recipe choice for type 2 diabetes.

1. An uncomplicated ingredient list

While browsing new recipe options, look for meals that have few ingredients. Try to find recipes that include foods you often keep on hand or know you like and tolerate well.

Long, complicated ingredient lists can make the shopping list expensive and may take a lot of time to make in the kitchen. Also, if the ingredient calls for arbitrary ingredients, you may buy them once and then never use them again, which is not very budget-friendly.

2. Incorporates a lean protein

Choosing a recipe that makes a lean protein the star is a well-balanced meal choice whether you are living with diabetes or not!

When planning meals to be diabetes-friendly, including a lean protein in your meal can help lower your risk of a blood sugar spike after a meal.

What are lean proteins?

So, what is considered a lean protein? Here are a few ideas:

  • Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Ground chicken
  • Ground turkey
  • Fish such as salmon, cod, and tuna
  • Eggs
  • Nuts

3. Includes nutrient-dense fruits or vegetables

Eating adequate fruits and vegetables helps your body meet daily nutrient needs. Of course, when living with diabetes, fruits and starchy vegetables contain more sugar than non-starchy vegetables and can therefore affect blood sugar levels.

But, keeping a food and blood glucose diary, monitoring portion sizes, and eating these foods with protein or healthy fat can help you better understand and control your blood sugar.

Here's an example of a balanced meal with fruits and vegetables:

  • Fruits – half a banana, a small apple, or ½ cup of berries
  • Starchy vegetables – half a baked potato, ½ cup of corn, or ½ cup of green peas
  • Non-starchy vegetables – 1 cup of leafy greens (spinach or kale), ½ cup of cooked broccoli, or 1 cup of raw carrots

Looking for recipes that include options such as these can lead to a more nutritious and satisfying meal!

Considerations for cooking methods

While some people have all the necessary appliances for any recipe, others may need a working oven, stove, or microwave. In this case, recipes may be more challenging to cook.

Searching for recipes based on your preferred cooking method is a great option. Try "slow cooker recipes," "air-fryer recipes," or "microwave recipes" if those are your available cooking options.

Also, you can tweak many recipes to use the method you prefer. Even if a soup recipe does not specify using a slow cooker, tossing all of the ingredients into the slow cooker and using the correct time and temperature (high for 2 to 3 hours or low for 4 to 6 hours) can be a great way to make a recipe slow-cooker friendly.

Making meals work for you

Takeaway message: Feel free to think about alternatives to a recipe to make it work for you!

And don't forget that Type2Diabetes.com is an excellent resource for recipes that include serving size and nutritional value.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Type2Diabetes.com 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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