Plant-based Meal Ideas for People with Diabetes

The buzz is all about plant-based. So what is a plant-based eating style? Plant-based diet or eating style is a broad term for eating patterns that focus on foods primarily from plants, but generally not completely meat and dairy free. A vegan diet is strictly plant only with no animal products.

Vegetarian taco salad with sauteed zucchini, black beans and avocado makes a healthy lunch for people with diabetes.

When we look at all of the studies on diets over the years, one thing rings true. The more vegetables in a diet, the better. For people with diabetes, eating more non-starchy vegetables is good for reducing processed carbohydrate intake, increasing micronutrients and fiber in the diet and a heart-healthy option. Here are 5 meal ideas that are plant-focused.

  1. Pasta primavera with whole wheat or bean pasta: cook you favorite whole wheat or bean pasta, like chickpea pasta, and combine it with steamed or sautéed (or just you favorite frozen veggie mix straight out of the microwave) vegetables. Some good options are chopped zucchini, bell peppers, broccoli and tomatoes, but any of your favorites will work. Mix the pasta and veggies with 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, chopped garlic or granulated garlic, grated parmesan cheese and a dash of salt and pepper. Add crushed red pepper flakes if you like spicy. Chopped olives and jarred sun-dried tomatoes add extra flavor to this meal.
  2. Simple Vegetable Soup: this is a basic vegetable soup which can be eaten as is, or you can add other vegetables, more spices, or even leftover baked chicken for additional protein- the soup would still be largely plant based. Click here for the recipe.
  3. A little beef and broccoli stir-fry: instead of using a pound of meat to make a typical beef stir-fry, use half a pound. Or if you are cooking for several people, use a pound of beef, but double the broccoli or other vegetables. Using less meat in a recipe is an easy money-saver too. Pair with Birdseye Steamfresh frozen brown rice (so quick and easy!) or riced cauliflower.
  4. Mediterranean tuna salad: use a small can of tuna and mix it with rinsed, drained white beans, chopped cucumber and cherry tomatoes, Italian dressing and chopped olives. Serve over salad greens or with a higher fiber cracker like Triscuits, Ak-Mak or Wasa crackers.
  5. Zucchini turkey tacos: in place of half of the ground turkey you would normally use, substitute chopped or shredded zucchini as you cook your ground turkey. The zucchini will take on the flavor of the taco seasoning. Top with shredded spinach, tomatoes, salsa, jalapeños and black olives to really up the veggies in this dish.

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