“I don’t want to eat like a rabbit!” This is what I hear when I encourage increased leafy greens and vegetables to people with diabetes. However, there is a proverbial goldmine of nutrients in salad that can help people with diabetes decrease blood sugar and get needed nutrients. Salad doesn’t have to be boring! We can help with 6 easy salad recipes to help control diabetes and make you love eating your greens.
According to The American Diabetes Association, as of 2012 over 29.1 million people in the United States were diagnosed with diabetes. This is over 9.3% of the American population. These numbers are shockingly on the rise all because of the way we are choosing to eat.
Our diets are too high in fat cholesterol, sodium, and processed foods. Go to your cupboard. Take out a box of packaged food. Turn it over and read the ingredients. Are there things on there you can’t read or understand? Should you really be eating it?
Fresh Is Best
Think about where you shop. If you go around the perimeter of your local grocery store, all of the fresh non-processed items are around the perimeter of the store. Here you will find all the best ingredients for wholesome and fresh foods.
Bare salad would be best for people with diabetes, because it is actually the toppings and dressings that make it bad for you. Choosing the right ingredients can still keep things tasting good and good for you.
Our expert taste team found six of the best tasting and easy to make salads that are diabetes friendly. Actually, they are good enough for the whole family to enjoy right along with you! We’ve even included recipes for people watching gluten intake and vegetarians too. Let’s take a look.
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1. Salmon Topped Spinach Salad and Lemon Flaxseed Dressing
Salmon is at the top of the list of healthy and wholesome fish. Packed with healthy fats and Omega-3 fatty acids, you can’t go wrong eating this delicious fish a few times a week. This salad puts salmon on top of a bed of spinach with lemon flaxseed dressing as its tasty crowning glory. Sure to be a hit any day or night!
|12 oz. Salmon, Grilled||1 c. Water|
|3 c. Spinach, Fresh||1 c. Lemon Juice|
|1 c. Cucumbers, Sliced||3 Garlic Cloves, Crushed|
|1/2 c. Red Onion, Sliced||2 Tbsp. Oregano|
|4 Tbsp. Flax Seeds|
|1/3 Tsp. Black Pepper|
|Stevia to taste|
Grill salmon or bake at 350 degrees until done. Wash and drain spinach. In large bowl, toss spinach with cucumbers and red onion. In medium bowl, mix dressing ingredients together. Layer spinach salad on plates and top with salmon. Drizzle with dressing.
Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 15 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 239 cal, 102 mg sodium, 6 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 20 g protein.
Diabetic Exchanges: 1 Fat, 1.5 Lean Meat, 1.5 vegetables, 1 Carbs
2. Quick Taco Salad
Taco salad is just like tacos, but easier to eat and a lot less calories. This salad will give you an extra protein boost to keep your blood sugar stable, 2 of your vegetable servings, and a satisfying crunch.
|1 lb. Ground Beef, Cooked and Drained||1 Taco Seasoning, Packet|
|1 c. Thomato, Diced||1 c. Cheddar Cheese, Shredded|
|1 c. Carrots, Grated||1 Bag Tortilla Chips, Crushed|
|1 Red Onion, Sliced||6 C. Lettuce, Shredded|
|2 c. Salsa or low-fat Salad Dressing|
Brown ground beef and drain. Add taco seasoning according to directions on package. Place salad in large bowl and toss in carrots, tomato, cheese and onion. Stir in cooled ground beef, then add crushed tortilla chips. Top with salsa or your favorite low-fat salad dressing. Serves: 4 to 6
Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 7 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 330 cal, 580 mg sodium, 45 g carbohydrates, 8 g fiber, 21 g protein.
Diabetic Exchanges: 2 starches, 1.5 vegetables, 1 lean meat, 3 Carbs
3. Steak Topped Arugula Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette Dressing
There is no doubt that people with diabetes need to balance protein with carbohydrates to prevent blood sugar spikes. Getting that protein from a thinly sliced steak makes your mouth water just thinking about it. Fresh tossed arugula, topped with steak and finished with a lemon vinaigrette is tasty for the whole family!
|1 lb. London Broil, thinly sliced||1/4c. Lemon Juice|
|6 c. Arugula Lettuce||2 Tbsp. Olive Oil|
|1/3 c. Red Onion, sliced||1 Tbsp. Honey Mustard|
|1 Green Bell Pepper, Sliced||1 Tsp. Lemon Zest|
|1/4 Tsp. Salt and Pepper|
|1/2c. Parmesan Cheese, Grated|
Toss arugula with onion and bell pepper. Place a serving of salad on each plate. Lay a few steak slices over each salad. In a medium bowl, mix together dressing ingredients. Drizzle over salad. Serves 4 to 6.
Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 15 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 357 cal, 376 mg sodium, 31 g carbohydrates, 5 g fiber, 29 g protein.
Diabetic Exchanges: 0.5 fat, 2 Lean Meat, 3.5 Vegetables, 1 Carb
4. Barbecue Chicken on a Bed of Spring Greens
Trying to figure out what to do with leftover barbeque chicken from last night. Pair it up with spring greens and a light vinaigrette to make a tasty meal.
- 2 Barbecue Chicken Breasts, sliced
- 2 c. Spring Greens
- 1/4 Red Onion, sliced
Toss Greens with onion and lay on a plate. Top with barbecue chicken. Drizzle with your favorite dressing or a light vinaigrette. Serves 2.
Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 4.5 g fat (1.2 g saturated fat), 210 cal, 360 mg sodium, 22 g carbohydrates, 4 g fiber, 21 g protein.
Diabetic Exchanges: 1 lean meat, 1 vegetable, 1 carb, 0.5 fat
5. Farro Salad and Chickpeas
People with Diabetes that are vegetarian need to look for healthy sources of protein. Farro is a protein and fiber rich grain that can add life to your salad. The taste is very nutty yet not overpowering to dishes. Add in chickpeas and use tahini dressing for a delicious “Mediterranean” inspired salad.
|3 c. Farro Grain, Cooked/cooled||1/2 c. Tahini|
|2 Roma Tomatoes, chopped||1/2 c. Water|
|1 Cucumber, Sliced thin||1/4 C. Lemon Juice, Fresh|
|1/4 Parsley Bunch||2 Garlic Cloves, Crushed|
|4 C. Spring Greens||1/2 Tsp. Cumin|
|1 Can Chick Peas||1/4 Tsp. Cayenne Pepper|
|1/2 Tsp. Salt|
Toss spring greens, tomatoes, parsley, cucumber, and chick peas in large bowl. In Medium bowl, mix together dressing ingredients and drizzle over salad and toss again. Divide salad onto plates and top with Farro grain. Chick peas can also be marinated in the dressing overnight if preferred. Serves 3 to 4.
Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 6.5 g fat, 241 cal, 177 mg sodium, 39 g carbohydrates, 5.8 g fiber, 9.1 g protein.
Diabetic Exchanges: 1 lean meat, 2 carbs, 1 vegetable
6. Quinoa and Black Bean Salad
Quinoa is another high protein grain that is gluten-free. Black beans add extra protein and fiber for a healthy salad that tastes great. Jalapeno chilies can give it a spicy southwestern touch along with lime dressing that keeps it light and fresh.
|1 1/2 C. Quinoa||5 Tbsp. Lime Juice|
|1 1/2 C. Black Beans, cooked||1 Tsp Salt|
|1 1/2 C. Corn||1 1/4 Tsp. Cumin|
|1 1/2 Tbsp. Red-Wine Vinegar||1/3 C. Olive Oil|
|3/4 C. Bell Pepper, Chopped fine|
|2 Jalapeno Peppers|
Rinse quinoa well and drain. Simmer in water with salt for 10 minutes. Do not overcook. Drain and fluff with fork. Set strainer over the pot of boiling water and allow to steam for 10 more minutes. Toss black beans with red wine vinegar and add salt and pepper. Take quinoa off heat and add to large bowl.
Toss in corn, bean mixture, peppers, and bell pepper. In a separate bowl, mix dressing ingredients well. Drizzle over salad and stir. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to one-hour. Bring to room temperature before serving. Serves 2 to 3
Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 6 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 170 cal, 190 mg sodium, 26 g carbohydrates, 4 g fiber, 5 g protein.
Diabetic Exchanges: 2 starch, 1 fat, 2 carbs
Disclaimer: Information contained herein should never be construed as medical advice or replace the advice of your diabetic care team. Always check with your doctor and/or diabetic educator before making any decisions about your diet or treatment plan.
I hope these recipes helped you figure out how to make a tasty, healthy salad.