Registered Dietitians Share Healthy Recipes for Type 2 Diabetes -

Registered Dietitians Share Healthy Recipes for Type 2 Diabetes

Cooking is an art in itself. We cook not only to feed ourselves but also to bring flavor and spice to our lives. We cook so we can share our food with our loved ones, our friends, sometimes even strangers.

Wouldn’t it be such a wonderful world if we could eat to our heart’s content without having to worry about the impact of food on our bodies and health? For people who have type 2 diabetes, this is a constant worry. The food that they put inside their bodies can either set their day into a beautiful and worry-free motion or wreak havoc to it.

The reality of having to count carb, ensure they are getting the proper portion of sizes for every meal can be super daunting. This may even discourage them from wanting to prepare a healthy yet tasty meal for themselves.

This is where the beauty of internet comes in: you can find type 2 diabetes-friendly recipes all over the place. In an effort to bring taste and flavor to their lives, we’ve reached out to very talent experts to share their favorite diabetes-friendly meal with our readers. They are easy to make, they are delicious and they won’t cause your blood sugar levels to go array.

1. Kylie Buchan

Meal planning is a tough task for most people, especially for those with Type 2 diabetes. The majority of recipes you find are high in carbohydrates and fat, or they are bland with very little variety. For any diet, it is recommended to eat whole foods, rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and protein. Here are three of our go-to recipes for Type 2 diabetes; all are balanced, nutrient-packed, and taste delicious.

Cauliflower and Edamame “Rice”



1. Remove the florets from the head of cauliflower
2. Transfer florets to a food processor and pulse until pieces are the size of rice grains. Set aside
3. Place 1 tsp of sesame oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the onion and cook for 4-5 minutes, or until onion is soft
4. Add the edamame and cauliflower and cook, stirring constantly, for 5 to 6 minutes, until cauliflower is heated through
5. Mix in the scallions, soy sauce, and remaining sesame oil, stir until combined
6. Remove from heat and transfer to serving dish

This recipe uses a wonderful substitution for white rice, which is high in simple carbohydrates, and uses cauliflower, a nutrition powerhouse full of fiber and antioxidants and very few carbohydrates. The edamame provides a healthy dose of protein, which is essential for those with Type 2 diabetes. Protein helps slow the digestion of carbohydrates and decreases the glycemic response. This dish would perfect as a hearty side dish or a light lunch or dinner.

Parchment Paper Steamed Fish and Vegetables



1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Fold the parchment paper in half, then open it back up and place the fish on one half, close to the crease
2. Combine the remaining ingredients and place on top of and around the fish
3. Fold the other half of the parchment paper over the top of the fish and vegetables. Working around the edges, fold the parchment paper over tightly in ¼ inch folds, the fold up the ends to make a closed packet.
4. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes.

This main dish is an ideal meal for those with Type 2 diabetes. It is light, but full of nutrition and flavor. It is also simple to adapt; you can substitute other vegetables you have on hand or use different herbs and spices to change it up. This would be great paired with a whole grain, such as quinoa or brown rice, for a well- rounded, healthy dinner.

2. Jen Bapton MS RDN


When asked what is my favorite “low carb” recipe, I always think of ethnic cuisines because of their use of herbs and spices for flavor instead of sugars. For example in the winter, I make Italian wedding soup which is packed full of flavor yet low in carbohydrates. In the summer, I serve a chilled Caprese salad which is simply fresh basil and tomatoes with mozzarella and balsamic vinegar. For dessert, I like traditional oatmeal lace cookies which are made with almond extract and only have 9 grams of carbohydrate per cookie. For extra flavor (and nutrients!), you can dip them in dark chocolate and sprinkle with chopped pistachios. Bon Appétit!

3. Melissa L. Halstead

In the summer, cucumbers and tomatoes do well with the heat and create a great local seasonal dish. This recipe is refreshing, quick and is a great to complement any meal.

Cucumber tomato salad



1. Chop the cucumbers, tomatoes, and onion, add to a medium-sized bowl.
2. Mix the remaining ingredients in with the cucumbers, tomatoes, and onion. The flavors taste best refrigerated for about 15-30 minutes, however, the dish can be served immediately at room temperature as well. Recipe serves two people.

Okra is another heat-loving plant that does well in the summer. To add a simple but tasty vegetable to your meal try this summer okra recipe below.

Summer okra



1. Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees (220 degrees C).
2. Set a medium sized oven safe pan to medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of oil.
3.Once the pan is hot, add the onions. Once the onions are translucent add the okra, cook for about 3-5 minutes.
4. Once the okra has soften add the garlic and cook for approximately 1-2 minutes.
5. Next place pan in oven and back for 10 minutes. Recipe serves two people.

4. Amy Shapiro MS, RD, CDN

So some of my favorite meals to recommend to people with type 2 DM are always well balanced to start. I never recommend eating carbohydrates alone even if they are whole grain, whole wheat, etc. I usually recommend that these individuals pair their carbohydrates with a protein and/or a healthy fat to slow down the digestion and prevent blood sugar spikes which require a big hit of insulin. I am always looking to keep these meals high in fiber, with some heart-healthy fats from plant-based oils, fish or nuts and of course low in sugar. With diabetic clients, my aim is to keep their blood sugar even, weight in check and hearts healthy. I have listed a few of my healthy recipes below, all of which fit perfectly into a diabetic or a generally healthy diet too!

From Top 7 Sources of Plant-Based Proteins-Mediterranean-Style Superfood Salad:

This salad has many health benefits, all because of its delicious ingredients! First of all, lentils are especially great because they lower bad cholesterol, which tends to be high in diabetics. In addition, they ease and prevent digestive issues like constipation and irritable bowel. They are also very high in protein, iron, vitamins (thiamine and pyridoxine), which help prevent heart and blood diseases, and zinc, which helps speed up wound-healing and recovery. Lastly, the greens in this salad add a ton of fiber, which keeps you full and helps digestion.

Quick and Easy Breakfast Ideas-Mini Egg Frittatas:

Eggs are obviously loaded with protein, which keeps you healthy and full! They contain a variety of B vitamins and selenium, which are great for heart and blood health. These delicious frittatas are also packed with veggies, which add a great deal of fiber and more vitamins to boost your immune system and digestive health. Pair these with a piece of whole wheat bread and you have a very balanced breakfast!

Slow Cooker Asian Chicken Soup:

This yummy soup is a perfect meal in that it’s healthy and complex carbohydrates come from loads of veggies which are balanced out with the protein from the chicken! If you want to add noodles or grains think about adding soba noodles or farro/barley for some whole grain and high fiber texture. The mushrooms in the soup provide healing benefits as well as the cilantro which contains many phytonutrients and antioxidants so beyond balancing blood sugar, we’re preventing long-term diseases!

5. Kaylee Tremelling MCN, RDN/LD

Egg-based meals are cheap, quick, and easy to prepare! Bonus: There are nearly endless ways to incorporate eggs in recipes you already love. And because eggs have both protein and fat in them, they are a great way to balance out any meal! What are your favorite egg recipes?

One of my favorite recipes is the classic egg and veggie burrito.

EGG & VEGGIE BURRITO (1 serving)



1. Chop and sauté veggies over medium heat until browned or tender
2. Whisk eggs and add to the sautéed vegetables, cook thoroughly
3. Warm/crisp tortilla in pan
4. Spoon egg and veggie mixture onto tortilla, top with cheese
5. Remove from heat, roll into burrito
6. Add additional toppings (optional). Enjoy!!

6. ILeana Montoya RDN

I often get many complaints from clients with Diabetes who do not know what to eat at dinner. Many are tired of the same thing all the time and would like something different but easy, fast and light. I like to recommend making different variations of this low carb vegetable soup with a protein/meat added which makes it a more complete meal.


Yield:4-6 servings


1. In a large stockpot, melt the butter over medium heat and gently sauté the onion and garlicpaste for about 5 minutes, until the onion is tender. Add the water and cook the meat to a boil and leave about 10-15 minutes ( around 5-7 min. for the fish fillets) After,add the spinach leaves, peas, squash, celery and enough water ( if needed) to just cover the vegetables.
2. Bring the water to another boil, then reduce heat and allow to simmer for 10-20 minutes. Make sure the meat is cooked and the vegetables not overcooked. It is recommended to puree the soup.Before starting, let the mixture cool for a few minutes. Fill the blender or food processor up only halfway and blend in batches.
3. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve piping hot!

Recipe Notes:
– Any of the green vegetables can be exchanged for other vegetables as one pleases like broccoli, kale, etc. The recipe can be for 4-6 people or cut the recipe in 4 and make for 1 person. This recipe is roughly 1 carb exchange ( it has ~16 grams of carb per serving) Depending on your individual meal plan, you can eat 2-3 more servings of a carb exchange like 1/3 cup of cooked rice;Crackers, saltine or round butter (4 to 6); 1 small fruit; to help complete the dish and your individual nutrient needs

7. Lynda Enright MS, RDN, LD, CLT

You may be hearing more and more about the focus of disease prevention and management today being on inflammation. Acute inflammation will cause symptoms you are familiar with including heat, redness, swelling, pain or loss of function. When you sustain some sort of injury, this acute inflammation helps your body to heal. The acute inflammatory process, though well regulated by the immune system may go awry and lead to chronic inflammation.

Chronic inflammation has been implicated in almost all disease states today including autoimmune diseases, obesity, allergies, metabolic syndrome, heart disease and diabetes in addition to aging. Reducing inflammation is a key component in the prevention of chronic disease as well as the elimination of day to day symptoms.

The food choices we make can have a big impact on reducing that inflammation. Here is one of my favorite recipes to do just that.

Salmon with mango salsa



1. Peel mangoes and dice the flesh into ¼ inch pieces. Transfer to a small bowl. Add cilantro or coriander and a pinch of salt, mix well.
2. Place mango relish in the refrigerator to chill for at least 30 minutes. Sprinkle salt and pepper on salmon fillets. Place the fish skin side down on a broiler pan.
3. Place the pan on the top rack of the oven under the broiler and broil until the surface is browned and the center reaches 140°F. Mound mango relish on top of each tuna steak.

8. Carie Perrino, RDN, LDN, CLT

My favorite recipes for people with Type 2 Diabetes are heavy in non-starchy vegetables, have a complex carbohydrate source, and a moderate serving of lean protein.

The non-starchy vegetable provides a great source of fiber, is low in calories and rich in antioxidants which have general health protective qualities.

The complex carbohydrate takes longer to digest because of the high fiber content and therefore it does not cause a spike in blood sugar.

Pairing carbohydrates with lean protein help suppress appetite to keep you full until your next meal and prevent snacking.

Here is one of my favorite recipes to refer people to because it has endless possibilities!

9. Jane Schwartz, RD, CLT

I always strive to create lower carb dishes that not only deliver on flavor but are nutrient dense as well. Having a bit of protein, healthy fats, and fiber is key for minimizing a post-meal glucose rise and keeping my clients feeling satisfied as well.

When it comes to low carb, the trickiest meal to navigate is often breakfast. From yogurts and pancakes to cereal and toast, American breakfasts rely heavily on carbs and sweets but often lack fiber and protein, not to mention a good dose of fruits and/or veggies. And let’s be frank; how many plain scrambled eggs can someone eat before they get bored out of their minds?

Here are 3 of my favorite go-to breakfast ideas. Feel free to vary the fruits and veggies to make your own creations:

Strawberry Coconut Chia Pudding

Chia seeds are literally packed with protein, fat, and fiber (the trifecta)! Using unsweetened almond or other nut milk keeps the carbs low while adding creaminess. Try this: Blend 1 cup sliced fresh strawberries with ¾-1 cup unsweetened almond milk and 1 teaspoon honey. Pour into 2 small mason jars. Add 2 tablespoons chia seeds to each and stir well. Refrigerate for at least ½ an hour or overnight. Top each with 1 tablespoon unsweetened shredded coconut and a few slices of extra strawberries.

Veggie Pancakes

In a large bowl, whisk 3 large eggs with a tablespoon of coconut flour. Add 2.5 cups of shredded zucchini, a pinch of onion powder, ½ teaspoon of sea salt, ¼ teaspoon fresh black pepper and mix together. Using avocado or coconut oil, spoon batter into the pan to form small pancakes. Flip when edges are golden. Makes 2 servings.

Blueberry Ginger Greens Smoothie

Blend together 1 cup frozen blueberries, ½ cup unsweetened almond milk, ¼ cup full-fat organic kefir, 1 teaspoon powdered ginger, 2 tablespoons hemp seeds, ½ tablespoon almond butter, ½ cup chopped spinach or Romaine lettuce.

10. Karen Vartan

Hunger between meals, or at the end of a very light meal, can be ruinous! I recommend that Type 2 Diabetics use low-fat, low-sugar dairy products for hunger and satiety control. Several times a week I dilute flavored yogurts with their plain counterpart (50-50) so they are ready to grab and eat. I also pre-mix a dairy beverage for use before, between, or after light meals. Since the taste of Stevia is so clean when mixed with dairy, it is my sweetener of choice with tart, plain yogurt, and Kefir. In addition to a small amount of sweetener, I may use single and paired extracts. But, I recommend starting with a snack size experiment before committing to a larger volume!

Recipe: Mix 6 ounces of plain 0-1% Kefir with 1/4 teaspoon each chocolate and raspberry extracts, and, 1/8th teaspoon Stevia.

Recipe: Mix 6 ounces of plain 0-1% milk with 1/4 teaspoon each cherry and almond extracts; serve hot or cold.

Experiment! Plain, low-fat dairy products are the perfect backdrop for creativity and the perfect food for hunger and satiety for Type 2 Diabetics.

11. Julie Freeman, MA, RD, LD, Integrative Nutritionist

Since my days at Joslin Diabetes Center back in the 90’s, we’ve seen trends come and go, and as research is now finding, the constant grazing all day is not so good after all, even when comprised of healthy foods. In fact, eating approximately every four hours will allow for insulin levels to be reduced, thus resulting in less overall inflammation. Insulin, while a necessary hormone for supporting glucose utilization, is also a pro-inflammatory hormone when floating around in excess.

I’m a foodie, have written two cookbooks with balance in mind and really focus on healthy, low glycemic carbs, balanced with some protein. A healthy carb has 3 grams fiber or more and 6 grams sugar or less in a serving and a serving is about 15-20 grams carbohydrate, which is also about 80-100 calories of a carb food.

Listed below are two recipes from my cookbooks, Feel Great Look Great – Balanced Eating for A Balanced Life and Feel Great Look Great – Sweets and Treats. Both are available on Amazon and I hope you enjoy them!

Lemon Rosemary Shrimp and Vegetable Souvlaki

Serves 4
Skewer Ingredients:

Sauce Ingredients:


1. Coat 4 (12-inch) bamboo or metal skewers with cooking spray.
2. Alternate threading shrimp, zucchini, bell pepper, and onions.
3. In a small bowl, stir together sauce ingredients and set aside.
4. Preheat grill to high heat. Coat grill rack or grill pan with cooking spray. Coat skewered ingredients with cooking spray.
5. Cook skewers 2 minutes on each side. Remove from heat, place on serving platter and spoon sauce evenly over all.

Nutrient Analysis: cal 184/pro 25/carb 9/fiber 3/fat 6/sodium 182

Exchanges: 3½ meat, ½ bread, 1 fat
Make it a Meal: Serve with ⅓ cup Pan Roasted Quinoa and 1 cup steamed sugar snap peas.

Berry Shortcake



1. Stir together dry ingredients
2. Cut in shortening until coarse like cornmeal
3. Make a well in the center and pour in milk
4. Stir together lightly with fork
5. Shape into ball and knead on floured board about 10 times
6. Cut into 16 biscuits
7. Bake 450 for about 12 minutes or until golden-brown on bottom



1. Stir together berries and cornstarch and heat on medium, stirring til translucent and thickened
2. In separate bowl, mix almond butter, yogurt, and stevia until creamy
3. Top 2 biscuits with 1/3 cup berries, 2 tbl yogurt mixture, and 1 tsp chocolate chips

8 servings
Total per serving: 260 calories/11 gm fiber/3.5 gm sugar (3.6 gm from fruit)/7.25 gm protein

12. Ashley Hurst, MS, CLT, CPT

Two things you can do today for your blood sugar:

1. Get rich in phytos! Plant foods contain thousands of compounds that affect body function. While 5,000 to 10,000 of these compounds have been identified, it has been suggested that many more remain unknown. The average person eats only a small amount of such phytonutrients every day- less than a teaspoon in fact. Certain phytonutrients can intervene to help with blood sugar regulation, lower LDL-cholesterol, and even help to get blood pressure back into normal range. Try adding something fresh in every meal!

Phytonutrients that assist in blood sugar regulation :

2. Get rooted and stabilized with protein – Protein stabilizes blood sugar and should be included in every meal and snack. In fact, unless there are medical restrictions on dietary protein intake (such as late-stage kidney disease), protein should provide about one-third of the daily calories. In a 2000 calorie diet, this would equate to approximately 600-700 calories from protein or around 100-150 grams daily. Yet in the average person’s diet, protein comprises only about one-fifth of the total calories. Protein is crucial for repair of tissues and our immune system. Because most people are deficient, a simple change of adding more can curb cravings and help you feel more rooted and stable.

Great quality protein sources:

13. Susannah Wallenstrom, MPH, RDN, CLT

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. When I work with clients with diabetes, I work with them to get creative with their meals and snacks. Meals should include a good mix of protein, healthy fat and fiber, and it is always a bonus if you can include veggies at breakfast! Here is one of my favorite recipes from Eating Well that I serve to my own family!

Avocado Toast with Egg, Spinach, and Salsa



1. Spread avocado on toast; season with pepper.
2. Heat ½ teaspoon oil in a small nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and spinach and cook, stirring, until the spinach is wilted, 30 to 60 seconds. Top the avocado toast with the spinach.
3. Heat the remaining ½ teaspoon oil in the pan. Crack the egg into the pan. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook 5 to 7 minutes for a soft-set yolk. Top the toast with the egg and salsa.

Nutrition Information:

Serving size: 1 open-face sandwich
Per serving: 364 calories; 26 g fat(5 g sat); 10 g fiber; 24 g carbohydrates; 14 g protein; 221 mcg folate; 186 mg cholesterol; 3 g sugars; 1 g added sugars; 5,147 IU vitamin A; 25 mg vitamin C; 127 mg calcium; 4 mg iron; 330 mg sodium; 953 mg potassium
Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (103% daily value), Folate (55% dv), Vitamin C (42% dv), Iron (22% dv)
Carbohydrate Servings: 1½
Exchanges: 1 starch, ½ vegetable, 1 medium-fat meat, 4 fat

For more info check this page:

14. Erin Macdonald, RDN

We love recipes that are nutritious and delicious and easy to prepare. They need to be balanced in macronutrients to keep blood sugar level steady and leave you feeling satisfied and satiated. Plant-based recipes are key as they are full of fiber and anti-inflammatory antioxidants.

Here are two of our favorites:

PRETTY POMODORO FRITTATA (From our cookbook, “No Excuses! 50 Healthy Ways to ROCK Breakfast!)
(serves 6)



1. Heat oven to 350F. In a large bowl, whisk together the garlic, tomatoes, basil, lemon zest and juice, eggs, pepper, and cheese.
2. Grease a 9-inch glass or ceramic pie plate with avocado oil and then pour in the egg mixture. Place in oven and bake for 20 minutes or until the center is firm. Remove and let cool 10 minutes before slicing. Garnish with additional fresh basil.


(serves 2)


1. In a mixing bowl, combine the cumin, chili powder, paprika, orange zest, and orange juice. Add the shrimp and let marinate for 10 minutes.
2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the oil. When hot, add the shrimp and cook 2 minutes per side. Remove to a serving plate.
3. Place 2 butter leaves on each plate and divide shrimp, avocado, and salsa evenly among the lettuce leaves. Garnish with chopped cilantro.

15. Manju Karkare, MS RDN LDN CLT FAND

Some of the best recipes are the simplest ones. Fresh and simple ingredients always deliver. One of the favorites is roasted root vegetables (parsnips, carrots, onions, garlic, rosemary) or squash (butternut or acorn with olive oil, garlic, and thyme) which can be the fiber-rich carbohydrate part of the meal. They add a punch of color, vitamin A and great taste. Using Greek yogurt in recipes for salad dressings, dips and smoothies is a great way to add creamy texture with a good source of protein and calcium.

16. Lara Clevenger MSH, RD, LD/N, CPT

My favorite recipes for people with diabetes are ones that are lower in carbohydrates and higher in fiber, protein and omega 3 fatty acids. By being lower in carbohydrates, while still providing fiber and protein it slows down the body’s glucose response and requires less insulin so it promotes glucose control. Also, chronic inflammation and obesity may cause diabetes and recipes that include omega 3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties which help protect the body against inflammation.

17. Melissa Vigdor, MS, RDN, LD

Having type 2 diabetes doesn’t mean you need to give up eating great tasting food. However, it does mean you must manage your carbohydrate intake and maintain healthy blood sugar levels. People with diabetes are at a greater risk of developing heart disease, so it is important to prepare heart-healthy meals that limit sodium, trans fat and saturated fat.

Here are some diabetes-friendly recipes for you to try:

18. Jennifer Singh, RD, LDN

When it comes to helping my clients with type 2 diabetes find recipes and meal ideas, I start by helping them understand carb counting basics, and then we look at lowering the glycemic load of the meal. It’s good to set a goal of not going over a set amount of carbs per meal, but if the meal contains complex carbs, fiber, healthy fats and protein, that meal will have more nutritional value and reduce the overall glycemic load than just focusing on carbs in general.

I also suggest using foods that act as “carb replacers”, such as using large lettuce leaves for wraps, cauliflower rice, or switching to raw veggies instead of crackers. My favorite recipes to recommend are really what my clients are already eating, and we work together to modify them. I generally swap out about half of the carbs and starches for non-starchy vegetables and possibly more protein. This can help to avoid my client feeling deprived while increasing the nutritional value and decreasing the glycemic load.

19. Angela Lovell, MAPC, RDN, LD

I prefer coming up with a starch, fruit and dairy/protein mix depending on my client’s personal preferences but here is a great recipe that I have Recd and uses. It is 2 starch exchanges per serving.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars for Diabetics



1. Preheat oven to 350
2. Stir together flour, baking, soda, and salt. Sit aside.
3. Beat together margarine, sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy.
4. Add eggs, milk, and vanilla to sugar mixture and beat well.
5. Stir in flour mixture, mix well
6. Stir in oats and chocolate chips.
7. Place in prepared jelly roll pan to make cookie bars and bake for 18-20 minutes. OR drop by heaping tablespoonfuls for cookies onto baking sheets (36 total cookies) and bake for 16-18 minutes.

Source: America’s Best Cookbook for Kids with Diabetes by Colleen Bartley

Yum! Just reading through the great recipes has made us hungry and inspired us to get our aprons on in order to put together a great meal for ourselves and our loved ones. You can either make these recipes with your family as whole or you can have a date night with your partner and help each other out. If you are alone, when was the last time you treated yourself to something special and drool-worthy? We hope you enjoy your meal tonight and don’t foreget to share your thoughts or photos of the meal with us here!

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