Earlier this week, we discussed how 1 in 3 Americans are at risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes, and most of them don’t even know it. “Embracing a healthy-eating plan is the best way to keep your blood glucose level under control and prevent diabetes complications,” reports the Mayo Clinic. “Aside from managing your diabetes, a diabetes diet offers other benefits, too. Because a diabetes diet recommends generous amounts of fruits, vegetables and fiber, following it is likely to reduce your risk of cardiovascular diseases and certain types of cancer.” These three delicious ideas for a diabetes-friendly meal are the perfect way to get started!
BREAKFAST: Berry Pear Smoothie with Spring Greens
The natural sweetness of the berries, and the sweet tang of the probiotic-rich kefir, helps hide the flavor of nutrient-packed spinach. The latter is a so-called diabetes “superfood,” according to the American Diabetes Association, while kefir boosts your gut health (and your gut health is closely intertwined with both your immune strength as well as your body’s ability to balance blood sugar levels). Plus, this breakfast shake is very high in fiber, protein, and antioxidants like vitamin C, so you’re starting your day off to a vibrant start.
1 ripe pear, ideally local and organic
1/2 cup kefir, ideally organic
1 cup frozen berries of your choice
1 cup spinach leaves
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup ice
1 tbsp chia seeds
Add all ingredients to a blender and blend this diabetes-friendly meal until it’s thick and creamy. Enjoy!
2. LUNCH: Pear and Walnut Salad
Pears are high in fiber and antioxidants that have been shown to help prevent or manage diabetes, while also being very low on the glycemic index scale (meaning it won’t spike your blood sugar). The sweetness and texture of freshly sliced pears pairs (pun intended) with the crispness of salad greens and the wholesome crunch of nuts. The nuts aren’t just for adding flavor — they are also high in important healthy fats that boost your immune system, provide important energy to your immune cells, and make this salad filling and satisfying.
6 cups mixed greens
2 pears, cored and sliced
6 oz grilled chicken breast
2-3 slices cooked turkey bacon, grilled until crispy then chopped/crumbled
1/3 cup goat cheese crumbles
2 tbsp dried unsweetened cranberries
2 tbsp chopped walnuts, ideally raw
½ avocado, sliced or chopped into chunks
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp maple syrup, ideally organic
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, peeled and minced/crushed
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
Make the dressing by placing all the ingredients into a Mason jar or similarly sealed container and shaking vigorously until combined. Set aside.
In a salad bowl, toss all the salad ingredients. Drizzle the dressing on top and enjoy!
3. Easy Butternut Squash Chili
“Butternut squash contains a type of fiber that’s not digestible,” reports WebMD. “If you have diabetes, it can help keep your blood sugar from rising after eating. Butternut squash also has a low glycemic index, which means that its carbs are digested more slowly. This also helps keep blood sugar from rising.”
This delicious diabetes-friendly meal is perfect for a cozy fall or winter day. It’s effortless to make, and you won’t believe how easy it is to create such complex, delightful layers of flavor.
1 medium-sized butternut squash
1 tbsp olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tbsp chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground oregano or thyme
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes
1 cup chicken broth (use vegetable broth if you want this chili fully vegan)
1/4 cup no-salt-added tomato paste
1 19-oz. chickpeas
Peel the butternut squash, then cut in half then chop into cubes.
In a frying pan, saute the onions and seasoning in olive oil until the onions are fragrant and translucent. This should take approximately 5-10 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the butternut squash is soft.