20-Minute Diabetes Dinner Plan for Summer
Summertime brings us a hefty variety of diabetes-friendly foods that can fill your dinner plate every day of the week. From berries to fresh herbs, there is no shortage of flavorful and healthy ingredients that can easily be included in a slew of dishes.
And if you are not a fan of spending your summer evenings slaving over a hot stove, know that there are many diabetes-friendly dinner recipes that can be cooked in 20 minutes or less, leaving you with more time to enjoy the warm summer nights.
The key to a diabetes-friendly dinner is to have a balanced dish that contains protein, fiber, and healthy fats. And contrary to what the internet may lead you to believe, carbs can most definitely be part of a healthy diabetes-friendly diet. The key to enjoying carbs while keeping blood sugars balanced is choosing options that provide some fiber—think beans, fruit, and whole grains like quinoa—and sticking to appropriate serving sizes.
This 20-minute diabetes dinner meal plan is chock-full of summer goodness that will help to keep your blood sugars balanced, and most importantly, it tastes utterly amazing.
Sunday: Lemon Chicken Pasta
Lemon Chicken Pasta: We love the combination of fresh lemon zest and toasted breadcrumbs in this quick and easy pasta recipe. This healthy dinner is made with blood-sugar balancing whole-wheat pasta, plus rotisserie chicken and quick-cooking spiralized zucchini, so you get a complete, balanced meal in just 10 minutes.
This bright and flavorful dinner is perfect for warm summer nights, as there's only a little cooking involved! This recipe was originally made to serve 1, so plan on doubling or quadrupling the ingredients to make it a meal to feed a larger group.
Monday: Strawberry Poppy Salad
Strawberry Poppy Salad: Bursting with ingredients like strawberries and fresh spinach, this salad simply screams summertime flavor. Including strawberries in this salad makes it a perfect diabetes-friendly dish for busy nights, since research suggest eating red fruits, like strawberries, raspberries and cherries, may help reduce inflammation, which in turn can have a positive effect on blood sugar levels. This is thanks to the antioxidants in red fruits called anthocyanins.
Top this salad with leftover rotisserie chicken from Sunday's dinner or go for canned white beans or crumbles of cheese for an extra protein boost.
Tuesday: Salmon Couscous Salad
Salmon Couscous Salad: Salads and summertime go hand-in-hand. They are simple to make, they take advantage of the season's bounty, and they're light and refreshing, yet still satisfying. Enjoying a salad topped with salmon, or any fish for that matter, can make your dish even more diabetes-friendly.
Studies have continually shown that eating foods high in omega-3 fats, like salmon, may reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. This is important for people with diabetes, as they are at higher risk of developing heart disease. So, load up your salads with salmon and other foods high in omega-3 fats, like nuts, seeds and olive oil.
Wednesday: Vegan Superfood Buddha Bowls
Vegan Superfood Buddha Bowls: When the weather is nice, having a perfectly portable dinner option that can be enjoyed outdoors is one of the best things to have on hand. These grain bowls are packed with antioxidants and fiber-rich ingredients that are satisfying and super diabetes-friendly (read: blood-sugar balancing). Bring these along if you are having a picnic in the park or enjoying your meal on your back porch. Or if you are simply looking for an easy summertime dinner, this one is for you.
Thursday: No-Cook Black Bean Salad
No Cook Black Bean Salad: When the weather warms up, the words "no-cook" can sound like a dream come true. This salad contains plant-based protein and fiber from the beans, which will help keep your blood sugars from spiking. And the use of fresh corn and ripe tomatoes makes this salad extra special for the summertime.
Friday: Grilled Blackened Shrimp Tacos
Grilled Blackened Shrimp Tacos: In just 20 minutes, you can be enjoying juicy shrimp tacos with little effort. Loading this taco dish up with ingredients like avocado gives it a boost of healthy fats, which slow down digestion to help stabilize blood sugars. And the addition of fresh tomatoes, a summer staple, gives these tacos some antioxidants, like lycopene, along with fresh flavor.
Saturday: Easy Pea & Spinach Carbonara
Easy Pea & Spinach Carbonara: If you think that pasta is off-limits if you have diabetes, then think again. While pasta does contain carbs, it also contains fiber and protein—yes, even white pasta and fresh pasta, like what's used in this 20-minute meal. And when you pair it with other blood-sugar balancing ingredients, like fiber, protein and fat (from the spinach, peas and eggs in this recipe), you make the meal even more diabetes friendly. Using whole-wheat pasta does give you an extra fiber boost, but you can certainly enjoy a serving of white pasta without worrying too much about your blood sugars.
Additionally, data published in BMJ Nutrition, Prevention, and Health showed that eating three servings of pasta a week does not increase a person's risk of developing diabetes. So, let go of any fears about pasta and instead allow yourself to enjoy it—which is easy to do with this pasta dinner that's chock-full of summer flavor and ready in a quick 20 minutes.