27 Easy Diabetes-Friendly Dinners That the Whole Family Will Love
These healthy, flavorful meals that fit into a diabetes-friendly diet are simple enough to pull together on even the busiest of weeknights. Whether it's a one-pot pasta, a slow-cooker set-and-forget dinner or a bunch of 15-minute tacos, these easy breezy dinners are sure to please everyone at the table. Plus, each recipe is lower in saturated fats and sodium while focusing on complex carbs and whole grains so you can eat to meet your goals. Recipes like our Chicken & Spinach Soup with Fresh Pesto and Sheet-Pan Chili-Lime Salmon with Potatoes & Peppers will soon be favorites in your kitchen.
Chicken & Spinach Skillet Pasta with Lemon & Parmesan
This one-pan pasta that combines lean chicken breast and sautéed spinach for a one-bowl meal is garlicky, lemony and best served with a little Parm on top. I call it "Mom's Skillet Pasta" and she called it "Devon's Favorite Pasta." Either way it's a quick and easy weeknight dinner we created together and scribbled on a little recipe card more than a decade ago, and it remains in my weekly dinner rotation to this day. It's a simple dinner the whole family will love.
Chicken & Spinach Soup with Fresh Pesto
This fragrant, Italian-flavored soup takes advantage of quick-cooking ingredients--boneless, skinless chicken breast, bagged baby spinach and canned beans. It features a simple homemade basil pesto swirled in at the end to add a fresh herb flavor. If you are very pressed for time, you can substitute 3 to 4 tablespoons of a store-bought basil pesto. Recipe by Nancy Baggett for EatingWell.
Classic Sesame Noodles with Chicken
Classic sesame noodles become a healthy meal with lean chicken and tons of veggies in this quick recipe for Asian noodles. Be sure to rinse the spaghetti until it's cold, then give it a good shake in the colander until it's well drained. Are you a spiralizing pro? Swap 5 cups of raw zucchini, carrot or other veggie "noodles" for the cooked pasta.
Sheet-Pan Chili-Lime Salmon with Potatoes & Peppers
Busy weeknights beg for something simple like this salmon sheet-pan dinner. Like the name suggests, it's all cooked on one pan. The potatoes get a head start, followed by sweet bell peppers and finally chili-coated salmon fillets. It's a complete meal with easy cleanup!
Grilled Chicken with Farro & Roasted Cauliflower
You can find farro in most grocery stores, near the rice. If you can't find farro, you can use wheat berries or brown rice instead; cook according to package directions.
Marinara Meat Sauce Topped Baked Potato
Break out of your pasta routine by subbing in a baked potato in this simple and satisfying dinner for one.
Homemade Chicken Ramen Noodle Bowls
Transform canned chicken noodle soup into quick ramen bowls by adding fresh ginger, crunchy vegetables, herbs and a jammy soft-boiled egg. Look for a low-sodium soup that has 450 mg sodium or less per serving.
Hearty Chickpea & Spinach Stew
This satisfying stew comes together in a snap. Mashed chickpeas add body to the broth, and tomato paste adds a savory note without piling on the sodium. To simplify the prep, look for chopped fresh onion and shredded carrot or a soup starter mix in the produce section.
Chipotle Chicken Quinoa Burrito Bowl
This chipotle-flavored burrito bowl recipe is even better than takeout and just as fast. Loading it with vegetables and using quinoa in place of rice adds nutrition for a healthy dinner.
Creamy Pesto Chicken Salad with Greens
For a healthy variation on creamy chicken salad, we've replaced half the mayonnaise with basil pesto. Serve over greens or make it into a sandwich for a healthy lunch.
Easy Pea & Spinach Carbonara
Fresh pasta cooks up faster than dried, making it a must-have for fast weeknight dinners like this luscious yet healthy meal. Eggs are the base of the creamy sauce. They don't get fully cooked, so use pasteurized-in-the-shell eggs if you prefer.
Chinese Ginger Beef Stir-Fry with Baby Bok Choy
All of the ingredients for this easy beef stir-fry recipe are cooked in one wok (or skillet), so not only is the meal-prep fast for this healthy dinner, cleanup is quick too. Look for Lee Kum Kee Premium oyster-flavored sauce in the Asian-foods aisle of your grocery store. It has the most concentrated oyster flavor.
Lemon Chicken Pasta
We love the combination of lemon zest and toasted breadcrumbs in this quick and easy pasta recipe for one. This healthy dinner is made with rotisserie chicken and quick-cooking spiralized zucchini and baby zucchini, so you get a complete meal in just 10 minutes.
Charred Shrimp, Pesto & Quinoa Bowls
These shrimp, pesto and quinoa bowls are delicious, healthy, pretty and take less than 30 minutes to prep. In other words, they're basically the ultimate easy weeknight dinner. Feel free to add additional vegetables and swap the shrimp for chicken, steak, tofu or edamame.
Chicken & White Bean Soup
Once again, rotisserie chickens can really relieve the dinner-rush pressure-especially in this Italian-inspired soup that cries out for a piece of crusty bread and a glass of red wine.
Chicken & Vegetable Penne with Parsley-Walnut Pesto
Homemade pesto may seem daunting, but in this quick pasta recipe you can make a simple sauce in minutes while the pasta water comes to a boil. You can substitute frozen green beans and cauliflower for fresh; in Step 4, cook the frozen vegetables according to package directions before tossing with the pasta and pesto
Broccolini, Chicken Sausage & Orzo Skillet
We love this quick skillet meal for busy evenings. The sausage and orzo simmer together in chicken broth, resulting in a creamy, risotto-like dish in under 30 minutes.
Kale, Sausage & Pepper Pasta
This entire healthy pasta recipe cooks in one skillet, so there's only one pot to clean! Try it with any greens you have in the fridge, such as chard or spinach.
Green Veggie Bowl with Chicken & Lemon-Tahini Dressing
For this healthy 30-minute dinner, treat your veggies like pasta and cook until al dente, or just done. If you have a little extra time, double or triple the lemon-tahini dressing and use it to quickly dress a salad or as a sauce for steak or shrimp.
Mushroom & Tofu Stir-Fry
This tofu veggie stir-fry is quick and easy, making it a great go-to weeknight meal. Baked tofu has a firm, toothsome texture that crisps well in a hot pan. You can find it in flavors like teriyaki and sesame, both of which are delicious here. Or opt for a smoked version, which has the same texture with a more robust flavor. Serve over brown rice.
Lemon-Garlic Pasta with Salmon
Wondering what to do with leftover salmon? This is a delicious and easy way to turn it into another weeknight-friendly, quick dinner. Don't forget to reserve some pasta water--its starch thickens the lemon-garlic pasta sauce and makes it silky-smooth.
Pork Tenderloin Sandwiches with Broccoli Slaw
Classic pork tenderloin is repurposed into a juicy sandwich in this quick & easy recipe. The meal is rounded out with a side of fresh broccoli slaw salad.
Farfalle with Tuna, Lemon, and Fennel
This warm, flaked tuna and lemon pasta recipe is ready in 30 minutes.
Shrimp & Pepper Kebabs with Grilled Red Onion Slaw
These healthy grilled shrimp and mini bell pepper kebabs come together in just 30 minutes, so they're great for weeknight dinners. A bag of coleslaw mix is a time-saving meal starter. Here, we make it our own by mixing in grilled red onion and crushed pita chips. A homemade herb-feta dressing both coats the slaw and sauces the kebabs.
Vegetarian Lo Mein with Shiitakes, Carrots & Bean Sprouts
A hit of Sriracha gives a sweet and spicy edge to this healthy vegetarian recipe. Traditional lo mein is made with fresh lo mein noodles, which can be found in Asian markets. You can also use fresh or dried linguine noodles--fresh linguine is in the refrigerated section of some grocery stores. This easy dinner comes together in just 30 minutes, so it's perfect for weeknights.
BBQ Baked Potatoes with Pork & Broccoli
Use leftover cooked pork to whip together these easy BBQ pork baked potatoes. Add steamed broccoli and Cheddar cheese to round out this easy healthy dinner.
Chipotle-Orange Broccoli & Tofu
Chipotle peppers add kick to this tofu and broccoli stir-fry recipe. If you're shy about spice, cut back on the amount or leave them out completely. Serve over brown basmati rice.