7-Day Easy Diabetes-Friendly Dinner Plan for Between the Holidays
In the weeks following Thanksgiving through the New Year, the holiday hustle is in full swing. But between all the excitement of gatherings and celebration, everyday life continues—and that includes dinner duty on the "ordinary" days of the week. In this seven-day diabetes-friendly dinner plan, we're prioritizing satisfying comfort food that's quick and easy to make. These recipes require no more than 25 minutes of active time, and most are prepared in just one pan. You'll lean on simple fresh ingredients and lots of pantry staples you likely already have on hand to help keep the grocery trips to a minimum, too.
A serving of any of these dinners contains roughly 2 to 4 carbohydrate servings (that's about 30 to 60 grams of carbohydrates). They're full of flavor while still keeping sodium in check, low in saturated fat to support heart health and packed with fiber-rich vegetables and lean protein to fill you up. You can modify the portion sizes or add a simple diabetes-friendly salad or side dish to meet your individual nutrition needs. Here are seven recipe ideas to help you get dinner on the table between the holidays.
Minimize dishes and cut down on prep time with this simplified enchilada skillet that's ideal for busy nights. Instead of stuffing and rolling tortillas, you'll cook the filling ingredients in one pan before folding in corn tortilla strips, topping with cheese and baking casserole-style until hot and bubbly. Using store-bought enchilada sauce is a huge timesaver. Opt for shredded rotisserie chicken breast to make this even easier.
Total carbohydrates: 25 grams or about 1 ½ carb servings
'Tis the season for leftovers. Make the most of leftover cooked proteins, like roast turkey from a holiday gathering, to create something new in no time. Soup always sounds good this time of year, and a hearty turkey soup with whole wheat rotini, vegetables and lots of fresh herbs is sure to check all of the comfort food boxes. Simmer the soup with a parmesan rind (leftover from a holiday cheese board, perhaps) to add another layer of flavor.
Total carbohydrates: 31 grams or about 2 carb servings
The easy meal possibilities are truly limitless with a batch of whole grains and jar of vinaigrette at the ready. Here, cooked quinoa is tossed with canned chickpeas, shredded carrot, diced avocado and a lemon-garlic vinaigrette, then served over prewashed mixed greens for a plant-based bowl that comes together in minutes. This recipe is easily doubled to serve four and leftovers make great lunches.
Total carbohydrates: 47 grams or about 3 carb servings
Day 4: Baked Beans with Ground Beef
Lean ground beef bulks up classic baked beans in this simple one-pan skillet dinner perfect for nights you're short on time or unmotivated to cook. Feel free to swap in ground turkey for the beef and opt for no-salt-added canned beans to minimize added sodium. This recipe calls for molasses (which you might have on hand from baking gingerbread), or maple syrup or honey in a pinch. Round out the meal with a Basic Green Salad with Vinaigrette.
Total carbohydrates: 45 grams or 3 carb servings
Sliced roasted eggplant is layered with an herby white bean-ricotta filling, marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese, then baked until bubbly in this meatless skillet meal you'll want to make again and again. Requiring just 15 minutes of hands-on time, it's easy enough to pull together on a weeknight or for a last-minute gathering. Serve with a slice of whole-wheat bread or baguette for mopping up the sauce.
Total carbohydrates: 43 grams or about 3 carb servings
You're five ingredients and about 20 minutes away from taco night with these easy low-fuss fish tacos. Flakey white fish (like cod or haddock) bakes quickly—in about the time it takes to slice an avocado and warm the tortillas—so dinner's on the table in no time. Using a Mexican-style seasoning blend eliminates the need to measure out multiple spices.
Total carbohydrates: 29 grams or about 2 carb servings
Day 7: Slow-Cooker Chicken Marsala
In this true dump, set and forget dinner, classic chicken marsala ingredients like mushrooms, marsala wine, thyme and chicken breast cook hands-free in your trusty slow cooker. In a few hours you'll have made tender, juicy chicken and a flavorful cream sauce with little effort. Serve over whole-wheat spaghetti to soak up the luscious sauce. Pair it with a Basic Green Salad with Vinaigrette to round out the meal.
Total carbohydrates: 61 grams or about 4 carb servings