Cooking Diabetic-Friendly Meals: 4 Tips and a Recipe From an Expert

Expert Interview

According to the American Diabetes Association, 25.8 million people in the United States have diabetes, and 79 million people are considered prediabetic. With those staggering numbers, it's no wonder many cooks are in search of healthy meal ideas for those living with diabetes. Registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator Angela Ginn gave us some tips for satisfying, diabetic-friendly meals, as well as her recipe for tasty tri-color lentil soup.

Tips for Cooking Diabetic-Friendly Meals

Choose whole grains: "Whole grains may contribute to maintaining healthy blood glucose levels," Angela says, so stock your pantry with healthy carbohydrates like brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat pasta, rolled oats, barley, bulgur and whole wheat bread crumbs.

Include beans several times a week: Dried beans, lentils and dried peas are a good source of protein, and are loaded with fiber, vitamins and minerals.

Enjoy a variety of vegetables: Angela recommends aiming for half a plate of non-starchy vegetables for lunch and dinner. Try adding vegetables to smoothies, or tucking them into sandwiches. When eating starchy vegetables, good choices include winter squash (such as butternut or acorn), green peas, corn, potato and parsnip.

Other good choices: reduced-fat dairy, lean proteins and heart-healthy oils.

Here's Angela's recipe for lentil soup, a good way to get some fiber-filled, protein-packed beans into your weekly menu.

Tri-color Lentil Soup

Makes 4 servings

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped sweet onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup dried lentils
2 cups water
2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon rosemary
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 can diced tomatoes

Heat oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Cook onion, celery and garlic until softened, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the remaining ingredients except tomatoes. Heat to boiling, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until lentils and vegetables are tender.

Stir in tomatoes. Cook for another 15 minutes and remove bay leaf before serving.

More Healthy Bean Recipes on The Kitchn
Crispy Pan-Fried Beans with Wilted Greens
Lentil Soup with Lemon Yogurt Cream
White Bean and Roasted Squash Soup with Pistou
White Bean and Roasted Vegetable Salad
Black Bean, Sweet Potato and Quinoa Chili

For more information, check out:
What Can I Eat from the American Diabetes Association

Do you cook for someone with diabetes or prediabetes? Any tips or favorite recipes?

It's Reader Request Week at The Kitchn! This post was requested by SYZYGY.

Related: Diabetic-Friendly Dishes for a Celebration Brunch?

(Image: v.s.anandhakrishna/Shutterstock)

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