Three (Simple) Diabetic-Friendly Meals That Will Make You A Hero for the Holidays
Page Medically Reviewed and Edited by Cyrus Khambatta, PhD
It can be difficult living with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, but it doesn't mean you should miss out on any of the fun stuff like holiday dinners or family get-togethers. If you're looking for some fantastic (and easy!) recipes that will help keep your blood sugars stable while still tasting delicious, you've come to the right place. Follow these three simple recipes that you can make for yourself or bring to your holiday party to be the hero for everyone.
How to Manage Blood Glucose and Food During Holiday Meals
When you gather around the table to eat a meal with your family, that feeling is like no other. In fact, after so much isolation from the ongoing pandemic, now more than ever, it is essential to spend time with the people we love. Gathering around the table for a meal is often associated with healthier food choices and a healthy balanced lifestyle, which is important, especially if you are living with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
Why Is Managing Diabetes So Important to Living a Longer Life?
As you probably know, more cases of diabetes are being diagnosed every day, and recent statistics show that 30.3 million people in the US alone live with diabetes. And, there are over 100 million people worldwide living with diabetes or prediabetes.
Although diabetes can seem difficult, you can find ways to manage your diabetes to live a long, healthy life. Diabetes is a collection of symptoms that result from high blood glucose (blood sugar), to put it simply. When your blood glucose is constantly high, it causes many tissues to become dysfunctional over time..
Why does this happen?
Firstly, when you eat foods high in saturated fat, the saturated fat blocks the action of insulin in your liver and muscles. . When this happens, your blood glucose gets trapped in your blood (because it can’t easily get into your liver and muscles) stay elevated, which elevates your risk for many chronic diseases.
When saturated fat accumulates in your liver and muscle, insulin receptors don’t function well, and this prevents glucose in your blood from being able to get inside. Your pancreas is then stimulated to manufacture and secrete MORE insulin to “force” glucose into your liver and muscles.
Sometimes it works, but most of the time, it doesn't. This process results in high blood glucose levels, inflammation in your cardiovascular system, and widespread tissue dysfunction.
That's why controlling your blood glucose is vital for your long-term health! People with diabetes are at a significantly higher risk for developing heart disease, cancer, inflammation, blindness, neuropathy, and loss of brain function (also called “cognitive decline”).
Making Mealtimes Satisfying Even with Diabetes
So how do you take the desire to manage your diabetes and continue the wonderful feeling of togetherness without your diabetes being the center of attention? We suggest adding amla berries to your daily diet. The connection between amla berries and diabetes is pretty impressive. Studies show that the nutrients found in amla berries may improve insulin sensitivity while lowering inflammation, both of which can dramatically lower your blood glucose.
If you're suffering from diabetes, and are looking for more natural ways to control your blood glucose, then the relationship between amla (and Amla Green Tea) and diabetes may be something you want to explore further.
In the meantime, here are three holiday meals from our friends at Mastering Diabetes that you can bring to your next family or friends gathering, and they are so good, everyone will ask you how you made them.
Recipe 1 - Carrot Ginger Soup
This easy-to-make one-pot soup is one of our favorites to prepare at any time of the year. The creaminess of the potato paired with the brightness of the citrus makes for a deliciously refreshing soup and can be served hot or cold. It is great for date nights at home, holiday gatherings, or potlucks.
We wrote the recipe to be enough for two servings, but you can easily double or triple the recipe if you have a large enough pot and an immersion blender.
When you’re done cooking the soup, don't forget to stir in the lime juice, lime zest, and lite coconut milk. These ingredients add creaminess and acidity, bringing the soup to life!
- 1 1/2 cups yellow onion
- 3 cups fresh carrot
- 3 cups golden potatoes
- 3 garlic cloves
- 2 tbsp fresh ginger
- 4 cups vegetable broth (low sodium)
- 1/2 cup lite coconut milk
- 3 tbsp lime juice
- 2 tsp shredded lime zest
- 4 tsp fresh chives
- 1 scoop regular Amla Green
- Heat a large pot over medium heat.
- While the pot warms up, roughly chop the onion, carrots, potatoes, garlic, and ginger.
- Put a small amount of vegetable broth into the instant pot and then add the onion, garlic, and ginger. Sauté until the onions become translucent and fragrant, about 5 minutes.
- Add the rest of the vegetable broth, carrots, and potatoes into the pot.
- Bring the soup to a simmer and cover.
- Cook the soup for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are fork-tender.
- Add in coconut milk, lime juice, Amla Green, and lime zest.
- Blend the soup in a blender until smooth.
- Garnish with chives and enjoy!
If you don't have chives, you can use any fresh green garnish such as parsley or cilantro.
If you would like to make this soup in your instant pot, follow the same instructions, but cook the soup on high pressure for 8 minutes and depressurize when cooking is complete.
Recipe 2 - Sweet Potato Bruschetta
This might be the first recipe you've ever seen where instead of using bread to make bruschetta, we used potatoes!
There are a number of varieties of potatoes offered at the grocery store. This recipe will work great with every single one of them!
We chose sweet potatoes because why not?! Russet potatoes, Yukon gold potatoes, and even purple potatoes will go great with the tomato topping.
- 2 cups sweet potato
- 1 medium / large potato, sliced in 1/2 inch slices
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 3 cups heirloom cherry tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup red onion, chopped finely
- 1/4 cup white onion, chopped finely
- 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped finely
- 2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped finely
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
- 1 scoop regular Amla Green
- Preheat the oven to Bake at 400°F.
- Scrub the sweet potato. No need to remove skin unless you wish to. Slice the potato lengthwise about 1/2 inch so you have bread-like slices. You should have 3 or 4 slices. Or you can slice them into 1/2 inch coins, whichever you prefer.
- Rub each slice with garlic powder and place the potato slices on a lined baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes or until the potato is cooked but still firm.
- Meanwhile mix all the remaining bruschetta ingredients and Amla Green together and set aside to allow the flavors to mix.
- Once cooked, remove the potatoes from the oven and place on a plate. Top with the tomato bruschetta and enjoy.
Instead of sweet potato, use russet potato, portobello mushroom.
Recipe 3 - Butternut Squash Mango Peach Smoothie
This recipe is just for you. No sharing allowed. As you prep for your holiday feast, play some holiday music while you prep and sip on this nutrient-packed smoothie.
Butternut squash is a type of winter squash that has pale orange skin with a bright orange interior. Butternut squash is in the same family as pumpkin and zucchini squash and has a mildly sweet and nutty flavor.
Squash is one of the oldest crops we eat today, dating back 10,000 years in Mexico and Central America. The word squash comes from the Native American word askutasquash, which means "uncooked" or "eaten raw."
Butternut squash is packed with vitamin A and vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, and calcium. Apart from being rich in vitamins and minerals, it helps hydrate you, manage your blood glucose, blood pressure, and immune system.
- 1 cup butternut squash, cubed
- 1 1/2 cups mango, cubed
- 1 cup peach, frozen
- 1 1/2 cups baby spinach
- 1 cup coconut water
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- 1 scoop regular Amla Green
- Blend all the ingredients together in a high-powered blender. Add water if required to get the consistency you want. Enjoy!
In conclusion, with the right amount of planning, the proper mindset and the right ingredients, you can set yourself up for a big win this holiday season when it comes to social gatherings. We all need to see each other around the table. Our hope is that these recipes will help you focus on what matters most: time together. We will take care of the diabetes-friendly, plant-strong foods for you!
Page Medically Reviewed and Edited by
Cyrus Khambatta, PhD
Cyrus Khambatta, PhD, is a cofounder of Mastering Diabetes and Amla Green is an internationally recognized nutrition and fitness coach who has been living with type 1 diabetes since 2002. Using an evidence-based approach to nutrition and fitness, he first reduced his own insulin usage by more than 40%, and has educated thousands of people with all forms of diabetes how to reverse insulin resistance using food as medicine. Cyrus earned a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University in 2003, then earned a PhD in Nutritional Biochemistry from the University of California at Berkeley in 2012. He is the co-host of the annual Mastering Diabetes Online Summit, a featured speaker at the Plant-Based Nutrition and Healthcare Conference (PBNHC), the American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM) Conference, Plant Stock, and has been featured on Forks Over Knives, NPR, PBS, KQED, Fast Company, and is the author of the upcoming book Mastering Diabetes.
- Cyrus Khambatta