Do you worry about how to manage your carbohydrate intake? Do you struggle to find the right recipes for you and your family? In today’s post－the first “Ask Emily”－I answer a reader question about searching for diabetic recipes, and my answer may surprise you! In addition, I’ve included a broad list of recipes that will work for the whole family, not just those who are managing diabetes.
ASK EMILY: Do you have any diabetic recipes on your site?
Finding the perfect recipe can be challenging. When you add in therapeutic dietary considerations, it can be even more so.
This is especially true with diabetes, because management of the disease is so individualized. Even the American Diabetes Association (ADA) states on their website that “there is no diabetes diet¹.”
Each person absorbs and utilizes sugar at a different pace depending on a variety of factors, including type of diabetes (1 or 2), genetics, and whether or not you take insulin, just to name a few. You likely know better than anyone else how certain foods affect your own blood sugar.
Because of these reasons, Fountain Avenue Kitchen hasn’t labeled any recipes specifically as diabetic friendly. But, that doesn’t mean they aren’t!
For starters, there are hundreds of recipes on the site, and I’m hopeful we will be able to help you find what you’re looking for. My first suggestion would be to search on the recipe index for an ingredient or dish that interests you and review the contents.
Even if at first glance the recipe doesn’t seem to be diabetic friendly, some minor tweaks to ingredients could change that.
For example, following are some recipes that may be of interest, and we have provided options, depending on your individual carbohydrate goals:
- Eggs are a great source of protein. When eaten alongside a carbohydrate, they can slow the digestion and absorption of sugar. This Avocado Toast with Salmon and Turmeric Egg is a hearty, tasty, balanced meal. You can omit the bread to reduce the carb load, add more non-starchy vegetables to make it heartier, or try it as a breakfast bowl served over 1/3 cup rice.
- This Yogurt Breakfast Bowl (pictured below) is another adaptable breakfast option that contains the trifecta－protein, carbohydrates, and fat. To reduce the amount of simple carbs, opt for a no sugar-added yogurt. For sweetness, swap out honey, maple syrup, or regular jam (more simple carbs) for fresh or frozen fruit. Nuts or no sugar-added nut butter can add depth in flavor and more protein and fat.
- Salads don’t have to be boring. This Southwestern Nourish Bowl is oh so nourishing and more! It’s chock full of non-starchy (cauliflower and kale) and starchy (sweet potatoes, beans, and corn) vegetables. The salsa acts as a topping, a dressing, and an extra non-starchy veggie. If you prefer a more traditional salad try jazzing it up with this no-carb Absolutely Famous Greek Dressing and Marinade. Don’t forget that added protein like chicken, tofu, or egg can be your salad ally to keep you feeling satiated and full.
- Thai Beef Lettuce Wraps (pictured above) are a fun way to mix up mealtime. As the recipe was written, this is a very low carb option. You can enjoy as is, but you may choose to increase carbs in this meal to make it that much more satisfying. Adding some rice or an Asian rice noodle may do the trick.
- Looking for a fabulous side dish? Non-starchy vegetables such as these Parmesan Roasted Brussels Sprouts (pictured below), Asiago Asparagus, or Roasted Curried Cauliflower are especially satisfying paired with a no-frills protein like this Perfect Skillet Chicken. The combination helps buffer blood sugar spikes and keeps you full for longer.
- Snacks are an excellent way to keep yourself nourished throughout the day so that you won’t be ravenous at mealtimes. To get the biggest bang for your buck, pair a carbohydrate with a protein. Try a slice of Zucchini Bread (pictured below) or one of these Green Smoothie Muffins with no sugar-added peanut butter. Or pair a Perfect Hard-Boiled Egg with a piece of fruit. This Make-Ahead Blueberry Almond Smoothie bulks up the protein even more by combining chia seeds, almond milk, and Greek yogurt (which tends to be higher in protein than regular yogurt).
- Who doesn’t love a yummy dessert? Try this Pumpkin Snack Cake (pictured below) or Cider Baked Apples. Almond flour, coconut flour, oats, fruit, and the option to top both of these with a dollop of yogurt increase the fiber and protein content.
If you are looking for something even more specific, the ADA posts a wide variety of recipes with nutrition content listed. This can be a time saver when you want to account for all of the individual ingredients in mixed dishes.
Remember, that all foods can fit. Use what you have learned about nutrition and diabetes (every diabetic has such different needs) as a guide, while still honoring your preferences.
Although you may have a few more things to pay attention to－such as checking your blood sugar, how certain foods affect your own blood sugar, how many carbs are in your meal－no foods are off limits! You can make any meal work for you by being aware of the carbs in your meals, adjusting portion sizes, and making swaps when needed.
We’re very excited to launch an “Ask Emily” column, inviting in you, the reader, to engage deeper into nutritional aspects of the blog. We welcome all food and nutrition-related questions. Some will be answered through my column, but I will reply to everyone individually. Click firstname.lastname@example.org to email me directly.
For those with specific medical conditions (such as diagnosed food allergies, chronic illnesses, or pre-/post-op), I recommend meeting with a dietitian who can work with you individually based on your labs and medical history. My informational posts are not intended to replace one-on-one counseling.
1. American Diabetes Association. (n.d). diabetesfoodhub.org. Accessed February 21, 2021.