Knowing what to serve and eat for dinner can be a challenge - especially for people living with diabetes. While eating healthy foods is important for everyone, it's especially important for people with diabetes.

Diabetes is a disease that results in high glucose (or sugar) levels in the blood - which can lead to serious complications. For the estimated 21 million people with diabetes in the United States, making health-food choices and being physically active is crucial to managing their diabetes.

Whether you're a person with diabetes or a family member or friend, you can prepare a meal that is healthy and tastes great. Look for recipes that are low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars.

Experiment with recipes that include fruits and vegetables, fish, lean meats, chicken or turkey without the skin, dry peas or beans, and low-fat or nonfat milk and cheese. Other healthy ingredients are foods high in fiber, such as whole grain cereals, breads, crackers, rice, and pasta.

To give an example of what to serve as a healthy meal, here's a recipe to try along with other foods to complete the meal, that everyone can enjoy-whether you have diabetes or not.

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What's For Dinner?

When planning a meal, start with a salad appetizer. Baby spinach leaves with seasonal fresh vegetables or fruits like sugar snap peas or sliced pears go nicely with a low-fat vinaigrette dressing.

For the main course, stick with lean meats or fish. Below you'll find a recipe for baked salmon. Designed to serve six people, it takes about half an hour to prepare. Nutrition information, including carbohydrate grams, is provided.

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Baked Salmon Dijon

Yield: 6 main dish servings.


  • 1 C fat-free sour cream
  • 2 tsp dried dill
  • 3 Tbsp finely chopped scallions
  • 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1-1/2 lb salmon fillet with skin (cut in center)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • Fat-free cooking spray as needed


  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Whisk sour cream, dill, onion, mustard, and lemon juice in small bowl to blend. Lightly oil baking sheet with cooking spray.
  3. Place salmon, skin side down, on prepared sheet.
  4. Sprinkle with garlic powder and pepper, then spread with the sauce.
  5. Bake salmon until just opaque in center, about 20 minutes.

Nutrition Information Per Serving:
Calories 196
Total Fat 7g
Saturated Fat 2g
Cholesterol 76mg
Sodium 229mg
Fiber less than 1g
Protein 27g
Carbohydrates 5g

A great side dish to serve with salmon is brown rice. Cook the rice with garlic, ginger, or green onions to give it more flavor. For dessert, serve a selection of fresh fruits of the season or a small scoop of fat-free or low-fat frozen yogurt or sorbet instead of regular ice cream. On special occasions, try a twist on traditional fruit pie by adding oats and almonds to the crust. It makes for a crunchy treat!

Eating healthy foods doesn't mean sacrificing taste. One of the best ways to tell if a meal is both healthy and something you'll like is by knowing its ingredients. When you do the preparation and cooking, you know exactly what's going into it, and more importantly, what's not! You can find lots of great recipes, including seafood recipes, look in the Diabetes Gourmet Recipe Archive.