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Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans’ Hospital


Making Meals Diabetic Friendly

image; fruit and vegetable salad with a glucose monitor and measuring tape

A diabetic diet can include many flavorful foods with unique substitutions.

By the Health Promotion Disease Prevention Committee
Friday, July 27, 2018

Meal planning can be difficult for anyone. However, for those with diet restrictions, planning and cooking dishes that are family favorites and diabetic-friendly can be even more challenging.

Diabetic friendly recipes include lean proteins, reduced carbohydrates, increased non-starchy vegetables and low-fat dairy.

Here are a few simple ways to reduce the carbohydrate content of meals:

  • Replace whole grain noodles with zoodles (noodles made from zucchini), or use smaller amounts of whole grain noodles and replace the remaining with more non-starchy vegetables.
  • Replace rice with quinoa. Quinoa is a starchy seed that is full of protein. It also helps maintain blood sugars. Rice also can be replaced with finely diced cauliflower.
  • Make a cauliflower pizza crust instead of a traditional flour version.
  • Switch traditional tortillas with a low carb version like carb balanced or flatout wraps. Another option is to use a smaller sized tortilla.
  • Include cauliflower in mashed potatoes to increase your non-starchy vegetable intake and reduce carbohydrates.
  • Use Romaine, bib or butter leaf lettuce as a bread for sandwiches or a tortilla replacement
  • Replace sugar in recipes with artificial sweeteners. Be sure to adjust quantities of artificial sweeteners when replacing for sugar in baking recipes.  
  • No-sugar-added does not mean sugar-free! Be sure to always look at the nutrition facts on every label for carbohydrate content.

For delicious, diabetic-friendly recipe ideas, visit the American Diabetes Association at, or attend a Healthy Teaching Kitchen cooking class available at Truman VA.


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