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- Best for following the Mediterranean Diet: Delicious Dishes for Diabetics: Eating Well with Type 2 Diabetes
- Best for unrestrictive recipe ideas: The Sweet Life: Diabetes Without Boundaries
- Best for air frying: Diabetic Air Fryer Cookbook for Beginners
- Best for comfort classics: The American Diabetes Association Diabetes Comfort Food Cookbook
- Best for lots of recipe ideas: 1,000 Diabetes Recipes
- Best for people newly diagnosed: Diabetic Cookbook and Meal Plan for the Newly Diagnosed
- Best for people with prediabetes: The Everything Easy Pre-Diabetes Cookbook
Just because you have diabetes (or a family member does) doesn’t mean you have to eat bland foods. It’s possible to prepare healthy and delicious meals that keep blood glucose levels in a safe range.
Here’s a brief breakdown of how we made our picks for the best diabetes cookbooks:
- Number of recipes: It’s not really a cookbook if it contains just a handful of recipes. That’s why this list includes only books with at least 50 recipes.
- Diabetes specificity: While you can surely use a cookbook even if it’s not specifically for someone with diabetes, we included only diabetes-specific cookbooks on this list.
- Customer reviews: All the cookbooks below get generally positive reviews from customers.
- $ = under $20
- $$ = over $20
Best for following the Mediterranean Diet
By Robin Ellis
- Price: $
The Mediterranean diet is considered one of the healthiest diets on the planet, and the recipes in this book are based on the cuisine of the Mediterranean region.
Recipes include Red Peppers Stuffed with Tomato and Goat Cheese, Chick Peas with Tomato Sauce, and Spinach and Lamb Tagine. The author learned to cook from his mother, who lived with type 1 diabetes.
Reviewers like that the book tells a story in addition to providing tasty recipes. People also say the recipes are easy to follow.
Best for unrestrictive recipe ideas
By Sam Talbot
- Price: $$
The author is a professional chef who was featured on the popular television show “Top Chef” and owns two restaurants in New York. Talbot also happens to have lived with type 1 diabetes since age 12.
The 75 recipes in his book focus on healthy eating (e.g., kale chips), cooking with fresh ingredients, and seafood — Talbot is an avid surfer, and his love of all things ocean is evident in his recipes. Talbot’s philosophy: Life with diabetes isn’t about diabetes; it’s about living.
Reviewers say the recipes provide plenty of kitchen inspiration. Many also note and appreciate that the book is suitable for anyone who enjoys healthy eating, not just people with diabetes. However, a few reviewers point out that some recipes require hard-to-find ingredients.
Best for air frying
By Desiree Foster
- Price: $
It seems like everyone has or is talking about air fryers these days. And for good reason! An air fryer is a quick and easy way to crisp up foods without adding tons of oil. And unlike a typical oven, it won’t heat up your whole kitchen, so it’s great for summertime cooking.
Savory, satisfying foods prevail in this air fryer-themed cookbook. The breakfast, lunch, and dinner recipes are designed to suit newbie cooks, and there’s even a 4-week meal plan to get you started.
Reviewers say the recipes are quick and easy and work well for those living with diabetes.
Best for comfort classics
By Robin Webb, MS
- Price: $$
From lasagna and mac and cheese to cheesecake, this comprehensive cookbook includes many foods that people with diabetes often consider off-limits. The author promises “tweaks” to old favorites.
Reviewers appreciate the varied recipe offerings. However, some note that although this is billed as a diabetes-friendly cookbook, it’s probably not one you should be cooking from every day. People also mention that recipes they’ve tried are delicious but that most serve six to eight people, which may not be convenient for those who are cooking for one or two.
Best for lots of recipe ideas
By Jackie Mills, RD
- Price: $$
Here’s an encyclopedia of recipes tailored for people with diabetes. In addition to recipes for classics like chicken pot pie, pot roast, and strawberry pie, Mills includes 7-day menu-planning advice, carb exchanges, and other tips for people with diabetes.
Mills is the author of another popular diabetes cookbook, “The Big Book of Diabetic Desserts,” which is full of recipes for sweet treats like Charming Chocolate Bundt Cake and Blueberry Lemon Buttermilk Cake.
Reviewers love that the cookbook includes tons of recipes, but some say they wish it had more pictures. People also mention that the recipes are easy, tasty, and healthy.
Best for people newly diagnosed
By Lori Zanini, RD, CDE
- Price: $
If you’ve just received a diabetes diagnosis, you probably feel a bit overwhelmed. You now have to keep track of your blood sugar and pay much closer attention to how what you eat affects your levels.
This cookbook is designed specifically with newly diagnosed people in mind and includes more than 100 tasty diabetes-friendly recipes.
It also includes a 1-month plan to help you get started and has helpful labels so you can easily find vegetarian, gluten-free, and quick five-ingredient recipes.
Reviewers say the book is an excellent reference and offers uncomplicated, straightforward meal ideas.
Best for prediabetes
By Lauren Harris-Pincus
- Price: $
A diagnosis of prediabetes may cause a lot of anxiety, but it’s possible to prevent the condition from progressing to diabetes. This prediabetes cookbook is intended to provide guidance in the form of delicious, satisfying recipes.
In addition to 200 recipes such as Baked Coconut Shrimp, Whole Grain Penne with Lemony Roasted Asparagus, and Chocolate Mousse, the cookbook provides information on how to manage your condition. And most dishes take 30 minutes or less to prepare.
Reviewers say the recipes are simple and accessible, with no hard-to-find ingredients or complicated techniques required.
What should you consider when picking a diabetes cookbook? Here’s what you might want to keep in mind:
- Diet preferences: Are you vegetarian or vegan? If so, you’ll want to choose a cookbook that caters to your specific lifestyle in addition to being diabetes-friendly.
- Difficulty level: Not all cookbooks are aimed at beginners. If you’re well versed in kitchen basics, steer clear of books labeled “beginner,” and vice versa. You might want to peruse a few recipes and check reviews to get a better idea of the difficulty level.
- Extra information: Newly diagnosed and want more information on eating for diabetes? Look for cookbooks with extra chapters that cover diabetes basics. You might also find books that include eating plans helpful for getting started.
- Visuals: Some people prefer cookbooks that have plenty of photos, while others don’t find visuals necessary. If you tend to use visuals as an inspirational jumping-off point, make sure the book you buy is filled with high quality photography. If you’re buying online, you can find out by previewing the book or reading the reviews.
Any of these recipe books can make a great addition to your kitchen library — particularly if you or a loved one has diabetes.
But if you’re looking for a diabetes-friendly recipe tonight, you may want to check out one of Healthline’s free diabetes recipes:
What is a good menu for people with diabetes?
A good menu for people with diabetes is one that they find satisfying but that contains healthy ingredients that won’t make their symptoms worse.
Some examples of foods that should feature prominently on a menu are beans, non-starchy vegetables and leafy greens, berries, lean proteins, healthy fats, and high fiber whole grains.
What should people with diabetes tell the waiter when going out to dinner?
Many chain restaurants have their nutritional information available online, but some restaurants won’t be able to give you exact numbers. It’s still possible to eat out when you have diabetes by picking smaller portions, sharing meals, or asking for half your meal to be packed up right away.
You can also request to have sauces or gravies served on the side and to have foods grilled, baked, sauteed, or steamed instead of fried.
What can’t people with diabetes eat?
There’s nothing you can’t eat, but it may be a good idea to limit your consumption of high sugar items, such as sweetened drinks; processed foods that contain trans fat; and high carb foods like white rice, pasta, and bread.
As always, it’s important to consult a doctor or diabetes educator for guidance that’s specific to your situation.
Knowing what to eat when you have diabetes can be tricky. Cookbooks written specifically for people with diabetes can help you create tasty meals that won’t harm your health.
From books that cater to beginners to books perfect for foodies, there’s an option out there for you.