Nothing says summertime quite like firing up the barbecue. While many people equate summertime with burgers, hotdogs, and brews, you can still enjoy grilling season while following a diet that’s type 2 diabetes-friendly.
The key to making a nutritious dish is to focus on:
- whole grains
- lean protein
Avoid processed foods and foods high in sugar or carbohydrates.
These diabetes-friendly grilling recipes include a variety of dishes — appetizers, main courses, sides, and even dessert.
These days, there are dozens of options for plant-based burgers, including veggie-based burgers, lentil burgers, and ones made to taste like meat. They’re packed with flavor and good-for-you ingredients.
Still, read the labels to make sure your plant-based substitute isn’t too high in sodium or carbohydrates.
Your best bet is to choose veggie burgers that include beans, grains, or seeds. You can even make your own from scratch. Legume-based burgers — made with lentils or black beans — with seeds and whole grains are great choices.
For example, you can try a black bean burger made with quinoa. Get the recipe here.
You may also consider skipping the bun, since too many carbs can cause your blood sugar to spike. If you decide to have your plant-based burger on a bun, think about the bread you choose.
Whole grain bread or 100 percent whole wheat bread are often a more diabetes-friendly choice. Be sure to also read nutrition labels to understand the serving sizes and total carbohydrates.
Fatty fish is beneficial for heart health and brain protection, especially if you live with type 2 diabetes. Fish with omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, are a great option to help protect against heart disease.
Salmon on the grill, complete with Cajun spices, is a heart-healthy and fun way to enjoy summer. Get the recipe here.
Grilled corn adds a unique summery flavor to this side dish, while the colorful bell peppers provide you with beneficial antioxidants. Black beans are also a great source of fiber and protein and may reduce the spike in blood sugar that occurs after eating a meal.
Lean meats, such as grilled chicken, are typically an ideal choice for people with type 2 diabetes. Chicken is high in protein, and chicken breast is usually low in fat. Before grilling, marinate the chicken in balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and spices for a rich combination.
The salty, sweet, and tangy combination of pineapple, reduced sodium soy sauce, garlic, and ginger adds a tasty touch to an extra-lean cut of pork tenderloin. Simply marinate in advance and serve with grilled pineapple.
Marinate the steak ahead of time and serve with roasted veggies like peppers and onions. You can also serve the grilled steak over lettuce for a refreshing salad, or put the steak and veggies inside a warm low carb tortilla or wrap.
If you’d prefer not to eat meat, you can replace the steak with a delicious grilled tofu steak.
Kebabs are an easy staple for a summer barbecue. Load up the kebab skewers with lean chicken and a variety of colorful veggies, such as zucchini, yellow squash, bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, and tomatoes.
Smoky char adds a tasty flavor to sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes are a more nutritious alternative to white potatoes, since they’re higher in fiber and nutrients, such as vitamin A.
They are still high in carbohydrates, though, so you may want to enjoy them in moderation.
Mushrooms are great for healthy eating. They’re fat-free, cholesterol-free, and low in sodium and calories. They’re also packed with fiber, vitamins, and minerals, such as copper, potassium, and B vitamins.
If you’re a mushroom fan, try stuffing portobello mushrooms with veggies, herbs, and low fat cheese, then grilling them to perfection.
Shrimp is packed with protein and low in calories, and it’s quick to grill.
Before grilling the shrimp, season it with salt and pepper. You can add a little cayenne pepper for an extra kick if you’d like. Then, serve it inside a whole wheat pita filled with lettuce, onion, cucumber, reduced fat or fat-free feta cheese, and a bit of olive oil and vinegar.
Peaches are in season during the summer and taste amazing grilled on the barbecue. Try this recipe for sweet and juicy grilled peaches topped with silky yogurt cream. It’s made with Greek yogurt for a low sugar, high protein treat. You can also sprinkle on nuts, like crushed pistachios, for a healthy crunch.
Putting cake on the grill may seem strange, but this recipe is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. You can make a sugar-free angel food cake or buy one at the store, but be sure to check the ingredients first.
Pop a slice of angel food cake on the grill and top with a mix of warmed berries.
Diabetes-friendly recipes for a summer barbecue don’t have to be boring or bland.
Heart-healthy fish, grilled corn, kebabs with veggies and chicken, or a plant-based burger on a whole wheat bun are just a few excellent choices for nutritious summer grilling.
For dessert, grilled fruit such as peaches topped with a healthy yogurt cream and some nuts can be utterly delicious on a hot summer day.
Don’t forget to drink plenty of water or sugar-free drinks, too. Try to avoid drinking alcohol if possible. If you do drink alcohol make sure to:
- Test your blood sugar beforehand.
- Drink slowly.
- Eat something first.
- Consider sugar-free mixers, red wine, or hard seltzer.