Eating healthy during the holidays is a challenge for anyone trying to watch his or her figure. For diabetics, the need to adhere to a healthier diet is much more pressing than just losing a few pounds. When cooking for yourself, a friend or family member who is diabetic it’s important to limit both sugars and carbohydrates. Carbohydrate intake can vary from person to person and it is suggested to keep meals around 45g. of carbohydrates and adjust according to blood sugar levels. It can be a challenge to have such a restricted diet, but it can also be a great opportunity to step up your cooking skills.
Test your culinary prowess while committing to a diabetes-friendly diet with these recipes
Appetizer: Lettuce Wraps
A simple way to cut out unnecessary carbs from meals is by using lettuce instead of wheat products (think buns, bread, or flour tortillas). Lettuce wraps are a great appetizer that can pack a lot of flavor and nutrition.
- 3 green onions
- 1/2 6 ounce package refrigerated cooked chicken breast strips
- 1/2 of a medium green sweet pepper, seeded and cut up
- 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil or olive oil
- 1/4- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
- 1 cup shredded cabbage
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
- 8 leaves of lettuce
Trim off and discard root ends of green onions. Cut off and slice green tops and set aside. In a food processor combine white parts of the green onions the chicken breast, sweet pepper, 1 tablespoon of the vinegar, the oil, black pepper and, if desired, crushed red pepper. Cover and pulse with several on-off turns until chicken mixture is finely chopped. Transfer to a medium bowl. Add cabbage and toss to combine. Divide chicken mixture into four individual microwave safe containers and chill.
For the dipping sauce, in a small bowl combine sliced green onion tops, the remaining 2 tablespoons vinegar, the water, and soy sauce. Divide among 4 small containers.
Entree: Cauliflower Crust Pizza
Easy does it with this Cauliflower Crust Pizza recipe. This new take on a classic cuts most of the carbs from the crust by replacing it with cauliflower. Coming in at 14g of cabs with 4g of dietary fiber, this dish can be a new weekly staple for a guiltless treat.
- Nonstick spray
- 2 1/2 cups cauliflower, grated (about 1/2 a large head)
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1 1/4 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
- 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup tomato sauce
- 1 cup grape tomatoes, sliced in half
- 2 cloves garlic, sliced
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- Fresh basil leaves, optional
Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, and preheat oven to 425ºF.
Grate the cauliflower using a box grater until you have two cups of cauliflower crumbles. Place in a large bowl and microwave for seven to eight minutes, or until soft. Remove from the microwave and let cool.
Mix in the egg, one-cup mozzarella, Parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper. Once combined, pat into a 10-inch round on the prepared pizza pan. Spray lightly with nonstick spray and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until golden.
Top the pizza with the sauce, 1/4 cup mozzarella, grape tomatoes, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Bake in the oven until melted and bubbly, another 10 minutes. Top with basil before serving.
Side: Cranberry Stuffing
A dish without a side is like braving winter without a scarf, doable but not enjoyable. As the holidays are approaching, it’s important to enjoy all the delicious dishes but to be mindful of sugar and carbohydrate intake. For this Thanksgiving, try making this Cranberry Stuffing for a slightly more diabetic friendly stuffing option.
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1/4 c white wine or apple juice
- 1 c chopped onions
- 1/2 c chopped celery
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 4 c soft bread crumbs
- 1/4 c cranberries
- 1 tsp honey or sugar
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp dried sage
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Coat a 12" x 8" baking dish with no-stick spray.
Coat a 10" no-stick skillet with no-stick spray and place over medium-high heat until hot. Add the oil and wine or apple juice. Bring to a boil. Add the onions, celery, and garlic. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft but not browned.
In a large bowl, combine the bread crumbs, cranberries, honey or sugar, thyme, sage, and pepper. Mix well. Add the onion mixture and mix well.
Transfer to the prepared baking dish. Cover and bake for 20 minutes, or until heated through.
All hope is not lost when it comes to desserts for diabetics. The trick is to treat yourself in moderation. Below is a recipe for flourless peanut butter chocolate chip cookies, a perfect sweet treat that isn’t all just sugar.
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg white
- 1 cup reduced-fat chunky peanut butter
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate minichips
Preheat oven to 375°.
Place salt and egg white in a medium bowl; stir with a whisk until white is frothy. Add peanut butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and chocolate chips, stirring to combine.
Divide dough into 20 equal portions (about 1 tablespoon each); arrange dough 2 inches apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Gently press the top of each cookie with a fork; press the top of each cookie again to form a crisscross pattern, and flatten to a 2-inch diameter. Bake at 375° for 10 minutes or until lightly browned.