12 Delicious Diabetic-Friendly Recipes

12 Delicious Recipes for Diabetics
Photo: Emily Kinni

Those afflicted with type 1 or type 2 diabetes know all too well how complicated a simple decision like, what should I have for dinner? can be. Terms like "carb counting" and "glycemic index" are top of mind here, but they're taken into consideration in very different ways depending on the type of condition—and the diabetic.

Type 1 diabetes is a chronic condition in which the pancreas stops producing insulin, a hormone needed to allow sugar (glucose) to enter cells to produce energy. It has no cure. With type 2, one's body either resists the effects of insulin or doesn't produce enough of it to maintain normal glucose levels. Losing weight, eating well, and exercising can all help manage and even reverse type 2 diabetes.

In either case, blood sugar management is key. It's too easy to get bogged down trying to find the perfect foods for keeping your blood sugar in check, which is why we wanted to do the heavy lifting for you. These nutrient-rich recipes, created by the Real Simple food department with guidance from diabetes experts George L. King, MD, and Jackie Mills, RD, are carb-smart and high in flavor.

01 of 12

Avocado and Raita Toast with Boiled Egg

Avocado and Raita Toast with Boiled Egg
Emily Kinni

Raita, an Indian yogurt sauce made by combining yogurt with chopped cucumber, lemon juice, salt, and pepper, is an unexpected yet tasty topping for toast. Finish the grab-and-go breakfast with a layer of creamy avocado and chopped fresh mint. Serve with a boiled egg to boost the amount of protein.

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02 of 12

Chicken, Spinach, Pear, Celery, and Parsley Salad

Chicken, Spinach, Pear, Celery, and Parsley Salad
Emily Kinni

To create a more nutritious salad, use baby spinach instead of iceberg or romaine lettuce. Top the greens with cooked chicken breast, pear (or apple), celery, parsley, and walnuts. Then, toss the salad with a bright lemon vinaigrette.

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03 of 12

Salmon, Fennel, and Onion Kebab with Parsley Caper Sauce Over Farro

Salmon, Fennel, and Onion Kebab with Parsley Caper Sauce Over Farro
Emily Kinni

You don't need a grill to make these incredibly tasty (and healthy) kebabs. Instead, thread salmon, fennel, and onion onto skewers and broil, turning once, until the salmon is opaque throughout and the vegetables are crisp-tender, about 7 to 9 minutes. Serve with a flavorful lemon caper sauce and a nutty grain, like farro.

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04 of 12

Roasted Broccoli and Tomato Mac-and-Cheese

Roasted Broccoli and Tomato Mac-and-Cheese
Christopher Testani

If you're looking for a healthier spin on the classic, consider this veggie-packed mac-and-cheese your new go-to. In the colder months, opt for roasted winter squash and red onion.

Get the Recipe: Roasted Broccoli and Tomato Mac-and-Cheese

05 of 12

Cream Cheese, Caraway, and Rye Toast With Boiled Egg

Cream Cheese, Caraway, and Rye Toast With Boiled Egg
Emily Kinni

Neufchâtel is a soft, moist, and slightly crumbly French cheese that's typically found in the dairy aisle of your local grocery store. If you're having trouble finding it, cream cheese is a great substitute. To make this quick breakfast, top the bread with the Neufchâtel, avocado, lemon juice, caraway seeds, and a pinch each of salt and pepper.

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06 of 12

Chicken, Watercress, Mango, Scallion, and Mint Salad

Chicken, Watercress, Mango, Scallion, and Mint Salad
Emily Kinni

You won't dirty any pots and pans making this salad: Toss together the chicken, watercress, mango, scallion, mint, cashews, vinegar, oil, and seasonings in the same bowl you'll eat out of. To make the 20-minute meal even easier to prep, buy pre-cooked chicken breasts at the supermarket.

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07 of 12

Mustard, Avocado, and Dill on a Whole-Wheat English Muffin with Boiled Egg

Mustard, Avocado, and Dill on a Whole-Wheat English Muffin with Boiled Egg
Emily Kinni

If you can spare just five minutes in the morning, you can make this healthy, nutrient-rich breakfast. Simply top a whole-wheat English muffin with whole-grain mustard, avocado slices, and fresh dill. Round out the meal with a boiled egg.

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08 of 12

Chicken, Baby Kale, Tomato, Cucumber, Pistachio, and Chive Salad

Chicken, Baby Kale, Tomato, Cucumber, Pistachio, and Chive Salad
Emily Kinni

Sick of spinach? This delicious main-course salad stars kale, a nutritional powerhouse. Make your own in just 20 minutes, by tossing the kale with chicken, tomatoes, cucumber, chives, pistachios, vinegar, oil, salt, and pepper. To make the kale easier to chew, massage the leaves with clean hands before eating.

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09 of 12

Salmon, Napa Cabbage, and Shallot Kebabs with Dill and Fennel-Seed Sauce Over Bulgur

Salmon, Napa Cabbage, and Shallot Kebabs with Dill and Fennel-Seed Sauce Over Bulgur
Emily Kinni

Alternating, thread large cubes of salmon, cabbage, and shallots onto wooden skewers. To prevent the ends of the skewers from burning under the broiler, soak the skewers in water for 15 minutes before making the kebabs or wrap the ends in foil after skewering. Serve over bulgur with a homemade fennel-seed sauce.

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10 of 12

Halibut, Mushroom, and Scallion Kebabs Over Brown Rice with Spicy Cilantro Sauce

Halibut, Mushroom, and Scallion Kebabs Over Brown Rice with Spicy Cilantro Sauce
Emily Kinni

Halibut, a lean and flaky white fish, is a good choice for serving a crowd because it has a mild flavor that appeals to a wide variety of tastes. When entertaining, save time by assembling the kebabs up to 12 hours in advance. Cover and refrigerate until you're ready to start cooking.

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11 of 12

Strawberry, Chocolate, and Peanut Sundae

Strawberry, Chocolate, and Peanut Sundae
Christopher Testani

Top vanilla frozen yogurt with shaved chocolate, sliced bananas, chopped peanuts, and a drizzle of homemade strawberry sauce, made by mashing and cooking frozen strawberries. If using fresh fruit, toss it with a teaspoon of maple syrup and let sit for 15 to 20 minutes before cooking.

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12 of 12

Flourless Chocolate Cake

Flourless Chocolate Cake
Christopher Testani

Finely chopped pitted prunes stand in as a substitute for a portion of the fat in this recipe, making this decadent dessert more healthful without altering the taste. If you prefer a sweeter, less intensely rich cake, replace the bittersweet chocolate with additional semisweet chocolate.

Get the recipe.

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