Diabetes diets can be healthy and still include comfort foods. A few substitutions make for a healthful, nutritious meal.
Diabetes Diets and Zucchini
Zucchini, one of the summer quashes, is a bonanza of vitamins and minerals:
One cup of cooked zucchini provides:
- Calories: 17
- Protein: 1 gram
- Fat: less than 1 gram
- Carbs: 3 grams
- Sugar: 1 gram
- Fiber: 1 gram
- Vitamin A: 40% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
- Manganese: 16% of the RDI
- Vitamin C: 14% of the RDI
- Potassium: 13% of the RDI
- Magnesium: 10% of the RDI
- Vitamin K: 9% of the RDI
- Folate: 8% of the RDI
- Copper: 8% of the RDI
- Phosphorus: 7% of the RDI
- Vitamin B6: 7% of the RDI
- Thiamine: 5% of the RDI
It also contains small amounts of iron, calcium, zinc, and several other B vitamins. In particular, its ample vitamin A content may support your vision and immune system.
Zucchini May Reduce Blood Sugar Levels
Zucchini may help lower blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. Zucchini provides a great low-carb alternative to pasta for those looking to reduce carb intake. It can be spiralized or sliced to replace spaghetti, linguini, or lasagna noodles in dishes.
Low-carb diets can significantly lower blood sugar and insulin levels, both of which may keep blood sugar levels stable and reduce the need for medication in people with type 2 diabetes.
The fiber in zucchini helps stabilize blood sugar, preventing levels from spiking after meals. Diets rich in fiber from fruits and vegetables are consistently linked to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
The fiber found in zucchini may also help increase insulin sensitivity, which can help stabilize blood sugar as well.
Here’s a one-dish meal and a way to add more vegetables to your diabetes diet. It also fits the bill for a comfort food.
Turkey Santa Fe Zucchini Boats
Hollowed out zucchini boats stuffed with a cumin spiced ground turkey and black bean mixture with summer corn and tomato, baked in the oven with melted cheese
You can make this ahead and bake it when you’re ready to eat, it can also be prepared a day ahead or freeze whatever you don’t plan on eating to bake another day. Leftovers also make a great lunch.
INGREDIENTS (makes 5 servings)
For The Filling:
- 12 oz 93% lean ground turkey
- 3/4 cups canned black beans, rinsed and drained
- 3/4 cups corn kernels, fresh or frozen
- 1 hot pickled serrano pepper, chopped (or jalapeño) more to taste
- 1 large diced tomato
- 1 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup chopped onion
- 2 tbsp chopped cilantro
- 1 tsp cumin
- kosher salt to taste
For The Zucchini:
- 5 medium zucchini, 7 oz each, cut in half lengthwise
- 1/2 cup jarred mild salsa
- 15 tbsp shredded reduced-fat Mexican blend cheese
- Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Using a small spoon or melon baller, hollow out the center of the zucchini halves, leaving 1/4-inch thick shell on each half. Chop the scooped out flesh of the zucchini in small pieces and set aside 3/4 of a cup to add to the turkey filling.
- Drop zucchini halves in boiling water and cook 1 minute. Remove from water.
- In a large skillet brown the turkey and season with salt. When the turkey is browned, add onion, garlic, black beans, cilantro, serrano pepper, diced tomatoes, reserved zucchini and cumin. Mix well and simmer on low, covered for 20 minutes.
- Remove lid, add corn, and simmer an additional 5 minutes or until all the liquid reduces.
- Place the salsa in the bottom of a large baking dish (or two medium size dishes) and place the hollowed out zucchini cut side up in the dish.
- Using a spoon, fill the hollowed zucchini boats dividing the filling equally, about 1/3 cup in each, pressing firmly. Top each with 1 1/2 tablespoons of shredded cheese.
- Cover with foil and bake 35 minutes until cheese is melted and zucchini is cooked through.
NUTRITION (per serving, which is 2 halves)
Click here for full recipe for diabetes diets.