What are some quick and healthy meals for people with diabetes?

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Toby Smithson
Nutrition & Dietetics Specialist

Strive for foods that are low in fat, higher in fiber,and meet your carbohydrate requirements. Here are some diabetes friendly quick and easy breakfasts (make sure you account for the carbohydrate content):

  • Greek yogurt (6 ounces)with sliced almonds and cinnamon along with ½ cup cooked oatmeal and 1 sliced apple (approx. 45 grams carb)
  • 1 whole English muffin with peanut butter and a lowfat fruited yogurt (approx. 45 grams carb)
  • Egg white vegetable omelet with 2 slices whole grain toast and 1 orange (approx. 45 grams carb)
  • Whole grain cereal (15 grams worth) with 1 cup low fat milk and 1 cup of berries (approx. 45 g carb)

Here are some healthy meal options that are quick and easy to prepare:

Breakfast

  • Cheese toast: One piece of whole-wheat toast topped with 1.5 ounces melted reduced-fat cheddar cheese along with a small piece of fresh fruit (orange, pear or apple). About 330 calories; 45 grams of carbohydrate.
  • Oats-to-go: On your way out the door, grab a packet of instant oatmeal (there are usually lower-sugar varieties available), along with a baggy of nuts (about 1/4 cup) to mix in. Prepare your oatmeal with water in the microwave at work. About 330 calories; 35 grams of carbohydrate.
  • Yogurt parfait: Grab a 6-ounce flavored non-fat or light yogurt and mix in 1/4 cup of chopped walnuts and 3/4 cup blueberries. Instead of blueberries, you may want to try adding strawberries, raspberries, blackberries or a mixture of berries. About 330 calories; 35 grams of carbohydrate.
  • Peanut butter and bananas: Toast a whole-wheat English muffin and spread 2 tablespoons of peanut butter on top. Add 1/2 of a medium-sized banana and top the English muffin with banana slices if desired. About 375 calories; 45 grams of carbohydrate.
  • Egg sandwich: Whisk together two egg whites (or use egg substitute) with 1/4 cup low-fat milk and zap in the microwave. Season eggs with salt and pepper, and sprinkle on a small amount of cheese if desired. Add some cooked peppers and onions if you have time. Stuff the eggs into a whole-wheat pita pocket. About 290 calories; 38 grams of carbohydrate.

Lunch

  • Quickie sandwich: Place two pieces of whole-wheat bread on a sheet of plastic wrap, squirt with mustard, layer on 2 ounces of lower-sodium ham or turkey sandwich meat and add any other non-starchy vegetables (e.g. cucumbers, tomato slices, lettuce, etc.) and wrap to go. About 310 calories; 48 grams of carbohydrate.
  • Healthy frozen meal: Keep a stash of healthy frozen meals at the office for a quick meal. The best options will contain some non-starchy vegetables, will include a lean protein source and any grains will be whole grains. Choose frozen meals with around 600 grams of sodium or less when possible. Check the nutrition label on your frozen meals to get an idea of calories and grams of carbohydrate per serving.
  • Soup: Stash low-sodium, single-serving soups at the office—add a whole-wheat roll or some whole-wheat pita bread with 1/2 cup fruit cocktail. About 420 calories; 64 grams of carbohydrate.
  • Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad: Go ahead and pick up that Chicken Caesar Salad to go, but ask for the dressing on the side. Limit your dressing to 2 tablespoons. About 420 calories; 10 grams of carbohydrate.

Dinner

  • Roasted chicken: Pick up a pre-cooked roasted chicken. Drain the fat and use mostly the white meat. Microwave some mixed frozen vegetables, cook up some brown or wild rice and serve with your chicken. About 370 calories and 40 grams of carbohydrate (2 cups of non-starchy cooked vegetables, 1/2 cup of brown rice and 3 ounces of chicken).
  • Semi-homemade pizza: Defrost, drain and dry with a paper towel one package of frozen spinach. Sprinkle spinach on store-brought, thin-crust cheese pizza and follow cooking directions on the package. About 450 calories and 50 grams of carbohydrate (two slices of pizza).
  • Veggie skillet omelet: Instead of cooking on the stovetop, put eggs, cheese and veggies in a baking dish coated in cooking spray. Cook in an oven at 350 degrees until eggs are cooked. Add a side serving of fruit or 1/2 cup baked sweet potato "home fries." About 370 calories and 25 grams of carbohydrate.
  • Steak salad: Cook lean beef—4 ounces per person—slice the meat and put it on top of your favorite greens and other non-starchy vegetables. Use 2 tablespoons fat-free or reduced-calorie salad dressing. About 270 calories and 17 grams of carbohydrate.
  • Turkey burgers: Cook turkey burgers and serve on whole wheat buns. Be sure the turkey meat is lean (buy those that are 90 percent lean or greater). Heat up some frozen broccoli or other frozen non-starchy veggie. Top veggie with a small amount of trans-free margarine, salt and pepper. About 480 calories and 50 grams of carbohydrate.

Continue Learning about Diabetes

Diabetes

Diabetes mellitus (MEL-ih-tus), often referred to as diabetes, is characterized by high blood glucose (sugar) levels that result from the body’s inability to produce enough insulin and/or effectively utilize the insulin. Diabetes ...

is a serious, life-long condition and the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Diabetes is a disorder of metabolism (the body's way of digesting food and converting it into energy). There are three forms of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that accounts for five- to 10-percent of all diagnosed cases of diabetes. Type 2 diabetes may account for 90- to 95-percent of all diagnosed cases. The third type of diabetes occurs in pregnancy and is referred to as gestational diabetes. Left untreated, gestational diabetes can cause health issues for pregnant women and their babies. People with diabetes can take preventive steps to control this disease and decrease the risk of further complications.
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.