Recipes for a Diabetic diet


I am neither a dietician, physician, nor any kind of health professional.  I am a competent home cook and a lover of good food who was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes in July 2002, and control my condition with diet.  This has required me to greatly reduce my daily calorie intake, especially the empty sugar from soda pop, as well as reducing the fraction of calories from fat and changing the proportion of saturated fat to reduce my high cholesterol.  While the recipes presented here have been tested in my own kitchen and are palatable and nutritious, some contain artificial sweeteners; in particular, some artificial sweeteners (such as aspartame, the generic of the commercial brand Nutra Sweet®) are immediately harmful to some people (such as those with phenylketonuria).  In general, artificial sweeteners should be used only when, on the advice of a physician, you are reducing daily calorie intake or modifying your blood glucose profile but feel a need to sweeten foods, and the choice of artificial sweetener should be made with your physician's input to choose the one best suited to your needs.  Since some diabetics with well controlled glucose levels are able to consume limited amounts of regular sugar as part of their control diet, even diabetics should seek advice of their physician or dietitian concerning use of artificial sweeteners as opposed to natural sugar products.

If you try these recipes, I cannot be responsible for any effects that might stem from food allergies, adverse reactions to artificial sweeteners, waste of time, money, or ingredients, or loss of friends from testing recipes on them (or any other reason, for that matter).  These have worked for me, but tastes vary, as do dietetic needs and cooking skills.  If you don't like a recipe, please just don't try it again; don't e-mail me and tell me how bad it is.  If it's on this page, I've cooked it, eaten it, and liked it, and you won't convince me to take it down without a better reason than "I hated it."  One thing to keep in mind though; if you like to modify recipes, please try the recipe for the first time exactly as shown, rather than making changes from the start.  That way, you'll know what I was trying to do before you make it your own.

The recipes below are either original to me, or significantly modified from recipes found in old cookbooks.  They are copyrighted, but may be freely used and redistributed without charge as long as full credit is given to me and this condition is preserved.  Please contact me (see my mail link at the bottom of the page) for permission to include these recipes in published collections.

Fish and Seafood

Quick Light Crab Cakes

1 lb. cooked crab meat (artificial crab, aka "krab" from surimi works well)
4 egg whites or 1/2 c. egg substitute
4 tsp. worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. dry yellow mustard
1 tsp. black pepper, coarsely ground
4 tsp. parsley flakes
3 tsp. salt (salt substitute okay, adjust to taste)
1 c. packaged plain bread crumbs

Flake or chop crab meat.  Combine all ingredients, reserving 1/2 of bread crumbs.  Preheat oven to 375F.  Divide crab mixture evenly into 8 cakes, coat top and bottom with bread crumbs and place on baking sheet treated with cooking spray (alternately, coat muffin tin with cooking spray, cover bottom of each cup with bread crumbs, spoon crab mixture into equal portions, and top with remaining bread crumbs).  Bake until bread crumbs are golden brown, about 10-12 minutes.  Serve with toast, rolls, etc.  One cake is 2 exchanges of very lean meat (2 ounces artificial crab is about 50 calories, 4 grams protein, zero fat, 8 mg cholesterol -- less than 2/3 the protein and calories of the same weight of turkey) and 1/2 starch.  Total calories for one cake, including bread crumbs, should be less than 100.

Finished cakes may be refrigerated or frozen and reheat well in the microwave -- the bread crumbs on top will be less crisp than fresh, but the cakes taste the same.

This recipe will probably also work with other kinds of cooked fish such as canned salmon or tuna (packed in water, please), though the values for calories, protein, fat and cholesterol will obviously change if other kinds of fish are used.

Meat and Poultry

Spicy Chicken Curry

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut in 1/2 in. cubes (canned okay)
3 Tb. minced garlic (or about 6-8 cloves fresh garlic, finely chopped)
2 Tb. cooking oil (I use olive, but sesame or peanut stand high heat better)
12 cubes chicken boullion*
4 Tb. curry powder (more if spicier curry wanted)
4 Tb. peanut butter
2 Tb. dried, flaked lemon grass (Spice Hunter® brand has lemon grass in this form)
4 Tb. lemon juice
6 C. water
salt to taste
corn starch to thicken, as needed

Heat oil in wok or large round bottomed pot over high burner until oil sheets when stirred -- olive oil will smoke and darken in a couple minutes at this temperature, so have the garlic and chicken ready and work quickly.  Stir fry garlic until golden brown, about a minute.  Add chicken in small increments to avoid cooling the pot too much; braise each increment, stirring continuously until fully whitened, then push aside to add more.  When all chicken is cooked, add water and boullion cubes.  Bring mixture to boil and add curry, peanut butter, lemon grass, and lemon juice.  Taste, adjust salt, curry, and lemon juice as needed.  Lower heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until sauce is even in color and consistency.  Thicken with corn starch (dissolve corn starch in equal volume of cold water, then add the mixture slowly with constant stirring -- 4-6 tablespoons of dry cornstarch is probably enough).  Serve over rice; 8 servings.

One serving contains 2 exchanges of very lean meat (around 2 g fat for this amount), 1 1/2 exchange added fat, (about 8 g from oil and peanut butter, of which less than 1 g is saturated), and about 1/2 exchange of starch; with 2/3 cup of cooked rice (two exchanges of starch), the dish provides about 340 calories.

*Boullion cubes are very high in sodium; if your doctor has told you to limit your sodium intake, try low sodium boullion or use salt free canned broth in place of the water and boullion; taste can be adjusted with salt substitute.


Heart Healthy Buttermilk Biscuits

I've loved biscuits for longer than I can remember.  I used to beg my mother to make the ones from Bisquick, but these days I prefer from-scratch buttermilk biscuits to any other kind.  The bad news is, biscuits made the way they usually are are not only full of saturated fat, the hard shortening commonly used is full of trans fats, the worst possible kind in terms of their effect on blood lipids.

Fortunately, they don't have to be that way.

2 c. Self-rising flour (if you don't have self-rising, add 1 tsp baking powder and 1/4 tsp salt to each cup of all purpose flour)
1/2 tsp salt (optional, to taste)
1/2 tsp baking soda

Combine dry ingredients, then add:

3 Tb. olive oil
1 c. cold buttermilk

Mix (by hand, with a fork) until fully incorporated, then drop by heaping tablespoonfuls onto a baking sheet coated with cookin spray.  Bake at 450° F for 15 minutes, until golden brown; serve with choice of spreads and toppings (don't use real butter, please -- it pretty well nullifies the point of heart-healthy biscuits).  Makes 8 plump biscuits, each about 1 1/2 exchanges of carohydrate.  Recipe can be halved or doubled.

If you prefer rolled, cut biscuits, work additional flour into the dough until it is dry enough to handle, roll to about 1/2" thickness and cut with a circular cutter (or, for best splitting, roll thinner and stack two circles of dough).

Heart Healthy Buttermilk Corn Bread

I like corn bread, too, preferably a little grainy, fluffy and slightly dry.

1 1/2 c. yellow corn meal
1/2 c. all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt (optional, to taste, may use salt replacements if preferred)

Combine dry ingredients, and form a well, then add:

1/2 c. egg substitute
2 Tb. olive oil
1 1/2 c. cold buttermilk

Mix well; batter will be stiff and slightly lumpy (if too stiff, add cold sweet milk to thin).  Turn batter into a 9x9 baking pan well coated with cooking spray, and bake at 400° F for 30 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Serve with choice of toppings and spreads.  Makes nine servings, each about 1 1/2 exchanges of carbohydrate.


Sugar Free, (almost) Fat Free Cafe Mocha

It's been more than six months, but I've finally come up with a reasonably convincing method of making a Cafe Mocha that's only 1 carb and has only 1.5 grams of fat.  To make this, you'll need an espresso or capuccino machine, or a very cooperative barrista.

2 shots espresso coffee
1 c. cold skim milk
1 Tb. Dutch processed cocoa powder (sometimes called defatted, European style, or alkali processed cocoa)
3/4 tsp. 
Sweet 'n Low®, or other sweetener equivalent to 1 1/2 Tb. sugar
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tb. fat-free whipped topping (optional)

Before brewing the espresso, pour the milk into a steaming pitcher and add the sweetener and cocoa.  The cocoa powder won't mix readily in the cold milk, but with some stirring most of it will suspend; don't worry about the rest.  Brew the espresso as usual.  Steam the milk mixture without creating foam, stirring vigrorously as you steam; the heat will dissolve the cocoa powder and the stirring will make sure all of it gets into the milk as it gets hot.  When the milk is hot, pour the espresso and milk mixture into a 12 oz. mug, top with whipped topping if desired, and enjoy!  It's not quite the same as the real deal made with Hershey's syrup, but it's the best I've come up with; it satisfies a chocolate craving and it's nutritionally the same as a glass of 1% Reduced Fat milk.  Be sure to clean the steam nozzle immediately; the chocolate milk gets drawn up the pipe when you close the valve and can create hate and discontent (worse even than regular milk) if not removed promptly.

For regular hot cocoa, just leave out the coffee, and heat the milk in the microwave (watch out when you take it out -- milk and water can superheat in the microwave, and flash into a boil when the container is moved, splashing boiling liquid over a wide area and causing severe burns) or on the stove top if you prefer.  Unfortunately, this recipe doesn't work well for cold chocolate milk, because the cocoa powder needs heat to dissolve well.

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All material on this page is Copyright © 2002, 2003 by Donald Qualls.
Nutra Sweet® is a registered trademark of Nutrasweet Property Holdings, Inc. and is used without permission.
Sweet 'n Low® is a registered trademark of Cumberland Packing Corp. and is used without permission.
Spice Hunter® is a registrered trademark of The Spice Hunter and is used without permission.
Hershey® is a registered trademark of Hershey Food Corp. and is used without permission.
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