7-Day Diabetes-Friendly Dinner Plan Using Thanksgiving Leftovers

From soul-warming soups to speedy lettuce wraps, this diabetes-friendly dinner plan leans on leftovers to keep you well-fed in the days after the holiday.

One-Pot Turkey Vegetable Soup
Photo: Photography / Antonis Achilleos, Styling / Christine Keely, Ali Ramee

Some would argue the very best part of Thanksgiving is the leftovers. And while many people look forward to a repeat of turkey and all the fixings, others can't wait to transform whatever's left into something brand new. If you're feeling inspired to give your leftovers a makeover, we've got you covered with a week's worth of delicious dinners that incorporate holiday extras and also meet our diabetes-friendly recipe parameters. A serving of each of these meals contains about 2 to 3 carb servings (roughly 30 to 45 grams of carbohydrates) and the right balance of protein, fiber and heart-healthy fats to both satisfy and help keep blood sugar stable. They're also low in saturated fats and sodium to help support a healthy heart, too. You can adjust the portion sizes to meet your individual nutrition and carbohydrate needs, or build out the meal with additional side dishes.

The majority of these recipes require no more than 30 minutes of active time, which is perfect for those of us who aren't feeling motivated to cook in the days after the big day. Most of these dishes are also great for meal prep and can be portioned into containers for easy lunches throughout the week.

Don't Miss: 7-Day Easy Diabetes-Friendly Dinner Plan for Between the Holidays

Day 1: One-Pot Turkey Vegetable Soup

After the busy holiday, there's nothing easier to prepare or more comforting than a pot of turkey soup. Ready in about 30 minutes, this one-pot version calls for 2 cups of leftover chopped roasted turkey, vegetables and herbs you likely have on hand from the big meal, plus fresh lemon zest to brighten it up. Serve this soup with a slice of warm whole wheat bread or baguette to soak up the flavorful broth.

Total carbohydrates: 30 grams or 2 carb servings

platter of wraps from the five spice turkey lettuce wraps recipe

Day 2: Five-Spice Turkey & Lettuce Wraps

Packed full of fresh flavors and satisfying crunch, lettuce wraps are a unique way to lighten up turkey leftovers and a perfect weeknight meal for days after the holiday. You can substitute about 2 cups of diced leftover roast turkey breast for the ground turkey in this recipe. In Step 2, saute the ginger for about 60 seconds first, then add the leftover turkey and cook until heated through before adding the remaining ingredients.

Total carbohydrates: 21 grams or about 1 ½ carb servings

Smoked Turkey, Kale & Rice Bake

Day 3: Smoked Turkey, Kale & Rice Bake

If you smoked a turkey on Thanksgiving, try this cheesy rice skillet recipe to make the most of flavorful leftovers. This recipe calls for about 1 ½ cups of leftover chopped smoked turkey breast (you can also use leftover roasted turkey meat), flavorful vegetables like leeks and celery, and quick-cooking brown rice to cut down on prep time. Folding cottage cheese in with the rice adds extra protein and creaminess.

Total carbohydrates: 26 grams or about 2 carb servings

Turkey-Apple-Brie Sandwiches

Day 4: Turkey-Apple-Brie Sandwiches

A leftover roast turkey sandwich is the ultimate post-holiday meal, and this one featuring crisp, tart apple and rich, creamy brie is no exception. You can serve it as a simple no-cook dinner, or pack it up for a lunch you'll look forward to all morning. This sandwich is delicious paired with a steaming cup of soup or simple green salad.

Total carbohydrates: 32 grams or about 2 carb servings


Day 5: Turkey Enchilada Poblano Peppers

Roasted poblano peppers stand-in for tortillas in this healthy enchilada recipe that's perfect for using up Thanksgiving turkey. Instead of browning ground turkey, fold in about 2 cups of chopped leftover turkey breast with the enchilada sauce in Step 4. Can't find poblanos? Swap in green bell peppers. Don't forget to top each serving (two hearty pepper halves) with avocado and sour cream for additional flavor and healthy fats.

Total carbohydrates: 23 grams or about 1 ½ carb servings

Turkey & Wild Rice Soup with Vegetables

Day 6: Turkey & Wild Rice Soup with Vegetables

Take all those Thanksgiving extras to the next level in this creamy turkey and wild rice soup. Brimming with a variety of vegetables you likely have on hand from the holiday (like carrots, mushrooms and green beans) along with leftover shredded turkey and hearty wild rice, it's a protein- and fiber-packed dinner that's sure to satisfy.

Total carbohydrates: 34 grams or about 2 carb servings

Vegetarian Gumbo

Day 7: Vegetarian Gumbo

If you've run out of leftover turkey, need to use that extra winter squash from your holiday shopping haul or just looking to switch things up with a plant-based meal, this quick vegan gumbo is the answer. You can sub in 1 ½ to 2 cups cubed sweet potatoes for the butternut squash if that's what you have on hand. Serve the gumbo over cooked brown rice for an added serving of whole grains.

Total carbohydrates: 53 grams or about 3 ½ carb servings

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