What to eat for dinner? This is one of the most common questions among those with diabetes. We don’t need a lot of time or energy to make a healthy dinner at the end of the day.
On busy days, all we need is a few essential ingredients to prepare a healthy meal that won’t raise our blood sugar levels.
Ingredients We Should Always Have in Our Kitchen
We need to make sure we always have some of the below-listed ingredients for nights we neither have time nor energy to cook meals.
Just remember that a healthy plate for someone with diabetes needs to consist ½ non-starchy vegetables, ¼ whole grains or starchy foods, ¼ lean protein, and some dairy or fruit on the side.
- Canned beans low in sodium – such as black, garbanzo, navy, kidney, etc;
- Pre-cooked brown rice – just heat it up in the microwave;
- Quinoa, whole grain pasta, quick-cooking whole barley, whole-wheat couscous;
- Corn tortillas or whole wheat tortillas.
- Frozen and Fresh vegetables – freeze the favorite veggies and keep several of them in the fridge. Also for fresh vegetables, a cucumber, a few tomatoes, and bell pepper are good options;
- Canned tomatoes with low sodium – we can add them to pasta, casseroles, etc.;
- Canned vegetables like roasted red peppers, artichoke hearts, and more.
- Rotisserie chicken – add it in pasta, salads, tacos, or sandwiches throughout the week;
- Frozen chicken breasts;
- Frozen fish filets.
- Have some fresh fruit on the side or as a dessert;
- Canned fruit in juice, not in syrup;
- Keep grapes or berries ready in a bowl;
- Lime and lemon juice to enhance our veggie, chicken, or fish flavor.
- 1 percent or skim milk – good options, especially for lactose intolerant, are unsweetened soy-milk or almond milk;
- Regular or Greek light/non-fat yogurt – those with flavor has more carbohydrate than the plain variety.
Some Extra Ingredients to Have Around
- Balsamic vinegar;
- Olive oil;
- Light salad dressing;
- Various spices and dried herbs;
- Nuts – as an addition to salads and other veggie dishes;
- Salt and pepper;
- Minced garlic (jarred);
- Trans-free margarine.
It’s good to plan ahead if we’re short on time during the week.
8 Quick and Nutritious Ideas for Dinner
1. Make sure to defrost the frozen fish fillets the evening before using them. Use some olive oil to rub them lightly, and then season with dried herbs such as freshly ground pepper. Bake until done and serve with steamed green beans and half a cup of pre-cooked brown rice.
2. Prepare a salad for the main course. Choose some non-starchy veggie and chop it up. Then serve the vegetable pieces over a bed of greens. Combine with some cottage cheese, rotisserie chicken breast, or another low-fat cheese.
Complete the salad with some fresh fruit or whole wheat garlic on aside.
3. Defrost some frozen chicken or use rotisserie chicken and roast it up. Fill a whole wheat tortilla or corn with shredded chicken, lettuce, tomatoes, black beans, and fresh cilantro. We can top it with some non-fat plain Green yogurt or a spoonful of salsa.
4. Another great idea for quick dinner is scrambled eggs topped with defrosted and heated onions and peppers. Combine with a slice of whole-wheat toast with a bit of no-trans-fat margarine.
5. Pasta with vegetables (pasta primavera). Cook the pasta and add some frozen veggies the last few minutes. Then, drain the water and add cooked diced chicken and 2 tablespoons of light salad dressing. But, if like a red sauce, toss in some pasta sauce.
6. Sauté a frozen stir-fry vegetable medley with vegetable oil and add some heated chicken or frozen shrimp. Then, serve over quinoa, brown rice, or whole farro.
7. A vegetable flatbread. First, we need a premade whole wheat pizza crust. Pile some sautéed fresh or frozen vegetables onto it, and top with low-fat mozzarella and slices of tomato. Bake until the mozzarella melts.
8. Put some canned tomatoes, canned beans, frozen corn, tomato sauce, cumin, garlic, and chili powder in a crockpot in the morning. Cover and cook over low heat for six to eight hours. In this way, we’ll have chili when we return home in the evening.
Also, diced onions, carrots, or bell pepper are other good options to add to this quick dinner.