Comfort foods may not be the first thing you think of when it comes to eating for diabetes, but they can 100% be part of your healthy diet. This week of comfort-food dinners for diabetes shows you can actually have the best of both worlds.

Sara Haas, RDN
February 01, 2021
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One-Pan Chicken Parmesan Pasta

Our craving for comforting foods is real. Maybe it's the familiar flavors of these foods or the memories tied to them. Either way, they hold a soft spot in our hearts and bellies. Comfort foods may not be the first thing you think of when it comes to eating for diabetes but they are in no way off-limits! Especially when you make some simple swaps, like using whole-wheat pasta to help better balance blood sugar, adding herbs and spices to use less salt, and choosing leaner cuts of protein to cut down on saturated fat. To show you how you can enjoy the comfort foods you love, without stressing about your diabetes, we've compiled a week of cozy favorites that we know you'll love.

Day 1: Curried Sweet Potato & Peanut Soup

curried sweet potato soup with peanuts

Soup is always high on the list of top comfort foods. But some "healthy" soups tend to fall short on flavor. Not this one! With a blend of aromatic curry powder paired with ginger and garlic, this soup smells as good as it tastes. Flavor is important, but so is how you feel after you eat it. Many soups identified as "comforting" may not pack a nutritional punch. This can leave you feeling unsatisfied and hungry shortly after eating. Each 1-cup serving of this Curried Sweet Potato Soup has nearly 9 grams of fiber and 13 grams of protein! That's because it uses whole foods, such as sweet potatoes, beans and peanuts.

Day 2: Pork Paprikash with Cauliflower Rice

Pork Paprikash with Cauliflower Rice

Balancing carbohydrates is an important part of managing diabetes. It can be a challenge to find that balance when many comfort foods are heavy on the carbohydrates. What's the work-around? It's simple: add veggies! In this Pork Paprikash with Cauliflower Rice recipe, we swap in cauliflower rice for regular rice to help keep carbs in check and add an extra serving of veggies to your meal. It's just as satisfying and delicious as ever.

Day 3: Hearty Vegetable Beef Stew

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The reason this stew works is because of those veggies! And that it all gets cooked in the slow-cooker. The beef imparts that great umami flavor, but this dish shines because it's loaded with flavorful vegetables—including carrots, potatoes, green beans and onions. A 1 1/3-cup serving of this Hearty Vegetable Beef Stew and you'll easily get one full serving of vegetables!

Day 4: One-Pan Chicken Parmesan Pasta

One-Pan Chicken Parmesan Pasta

Pasta always feels like one of those forbidden foods, but it's not! When it's served in balance with other food groups, it can make for a great, diabetes-friendly meal. This recipe wisely uses whole-wheat pasta, which is a higher-fiber option than refined white pasta. Plus, the portion is kept to 2 ounces dry pasta (about 1 cup cooked), but the chicken sauce and cheese help to bulk this meal up. On top of that, you'll love that this recipe requires only one pot! Serve with a salad or steamed broccoli for some additional veggies.

Day 5: Sesame Garlic Beef & Broccoli with Whole-Wheat Noodles

Sesame-Garlic Beef & Broccoli with Whole Wheat Noodles

This Sesame Garlic Beef & Broccoli dish is reminiscent of a favorite restaurant meal, with a zesty sauce made from soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, garlic and crushed red pepper. Beef sirloin steak is thinly sliced and marinated, then stir-fried with plenty of crunchy broccoli and served over satisfying whole-wheat noodles. Some tasty sesame seeds top this tasty meal off.

Day 6: Skillet Chicken Potpie

skillet potpie

Frozen pot pies can be delicious and convenient, but all of that sodium can be a little much. Luckily, you can easily recreate a healthy and just-as-delicious version at home! And it's easier than you think. This Skillet Chicken Potpie uses a store-bought pie crust and adds in satisfying chicken, peas, carrots, mushrooms, thyme and sage. One serving delivers 29 grams of protein to keep you feeling full and satisfied all evening long.

Day 7: Easy Macaroni and Cheese

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Let's face it—we all love macaroni and cheese. But if you have diabetes, it may seem way too high in carbs to be a healthy choice. But when you use whole-wheat pasta and just the right amount of cheese, it can actually be a healthy comfort food option. Also, instead of having only mac and cheese for dinner, include it as part of your meal and not the focus of it. Serve it with some green beans, a side salad or a batch of roasted veggies to balance things out.