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A Quick, Healthy Dish for People with Diabetes

Diabetes is a serious disease that results in high glucose (sugar levels) in the blood, which can lead to serious health problems. Nearly 26 million adults in the United States have the disease. If you have diabetes, you know the day-to-day steps needed to manage the disease can be hard. Diabetes can lead to blindness, loss of limb, kidney failure, heart disease, and early death. Managing diabetes can be easier if you set goals and make a plan. Talk with your health care team about making a plan, which should include ways to make healthier food choices, increase your physical activity, and reach and stay at a healthy weight. One part of your plan may be learning how to prepare a quick, healthy dish for your family. Follow these tips from the National Diabetes Education Program to make healthier meals that your whole family can enjoy:

Before going to the grocery store, check flyers, ads, and websites to see what is on sale. Make a list of what you need, and check to see what foods you already have at home.

Find recipes online or at your local library that have five to 10 ingredients or less.  Buy fresh fruits and vegetables that are in season – they usually cost less.

Buy items like fat-free or low-fat milk, cheese, and yogurt in the largest size you know your family will consume so you are not paying for extra packaging.

Instead of flavored rice, buy plain brown rice. Add fresh or dried herbs and spices to add flavor.

Look for deals on whole-grain, day-old breads in the bakery department. Search for specials on lean cuts at the meat counter.

Prepare meals in advance to make meal time less stressful, and use the leftovers to make other dishes.

Here’s an example of a healthy dish that serves four and takes less than 30 minutes to prepare.

Red Snapper 

(Recipe also works well with chicken breast used in place of red snapper)


2 Tbsp olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

½ cup red pepper, chopped

½ cup carrots, cut into strips

1 clove garlic, minced

½ cup dry white wine*

¾ pound (12 oz.) of red snapper filet

1 large tomato, chopped

2 Tbsp pitted ripe olives, chopped

2 Tbsp crumbled low-fat feta or low-fat ricotta cheese

*Water or fat-free broth can be used in place of white wine.


In a large skillet, heat olive oil and add onion, red pepper, carrots, and garlic. Sauté for 10 minutes then add wine and bring to a boil. Push the vegetables to one side of the pan. Arrange fillets in a single layer in center of skillet. Cover to cook for 5 minutes. Add tomato and olives. Top with cheese then cover and cook for 3 minutes or until fish is firm but moist. Transfer fish to a serving platter and add vegetables and pan juices. Serve fish on top of vegetables with brown rice. Enjoy!

Nutrition Information Per Serving for Red Snapper:   Serving size ¼ red snapper (or 3 oz.) with ½ cup vegetables. Calories 285, Calories from fat 80, Total Fat 10g, Saturated Fat 2g, Cholesterol 35mg, Sodium 160mg, Dietary Fiber 2g, Total Carbohydrate 8g, Protein 19g.

For more tasty, quick, and healthy recipes, order your free copy of the National Diabetes Education Program’s Mas que comida recipe book by visiting or calling 1-888-693-NDEP (1-888-693-6337), TTY: 1-866-569-1162.

For more information about diabetes or our free diabetes classes call the local health department and ask to speak to the diabetes educator.  You may also find more information on our website at .  Follow us on Facebook at or Twitter:

 The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ National Diabetes Education Program is jointly sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) with the support of more than 200 partner organizations.

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