6 Super Healthy Diabetic Friendly Recipes

Here is the latest post from my little recipe blog: The Purple Almond Wellness Kitchen

The Purple Almond Wellness Kitchen

Earlier today, on my main site, Purple Almond Wellness, I featured an article about managing blood sugar for diabetes. Here is a list of 6 super healthy diabetes friendly recipes to help do just that! Each recipe uses at least one of the foods on THIS LIST of diabetes friendly foods. In some cases, more than one food is in the recipe. ENJOY!


Sardine and Lemongrass Salad

From: Saveur.com

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Spinach, Beef and Egg Hash

From: Saveur.com

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From: Sugar Free Mom

Broccoli with Parmesan and Walnuts

From: Martha Stewart

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Roasted Garlic and Butternut Squash Soup

From: The Hungry Hounds

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Raw Zucchini and Flaxseed Wraps

From: The Full Helping


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Regulating Healthy Blood Sugar Levels to Manage Diabetes

According to a study in 2015 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 30.3 million Americans have diabetes, and 84.1 million have pre-diabetes. Pair that with the statistic that 1 in 3 Americans are pre-diabetic and 90% of those at risk are unaware they have a likely potential of being diagnosed. It begs the question, how can you effectively manage your diagnosis if you aren’t aware it is developing?

To start, you must educate yourself and first understand the main types of diabetes. For some, such as those with type 1, it’s a genetic part of who they are, which is harder to avoid. For others, such as those with type 2, it’s entirely contingent upon diet and lifestyle. No matter which type with which you are diagnosed, lifestyle changes are imminent. You likely have to start caring about things you once ignored. Your blood sugar levels being one of them!

1. Blood sugar informs how to manage diabetes daily

Also known as blood glucose, your blood sugar levels are often a key indicator of whether or not your diabetes is being properly managed. Not only that, properly managing your diabetes benefits your overall health and can help prevent the development of other health complications like vision loss and kidney disease. However, before you can properly manage your blood sugar levels, you need to know the healthy ranges for which you’re striving. With that said, it is important to note that each person is unique, and your first step should always be consulting with your doctor to determine your personal key target ranges. For reference, standard target blood glucose ranges include:

  • 80-130 before a meal
  • Below 180 approximately 2 hours after the start of a meal

Checking your numbers on a regular basis gives insight into what makes your sugar levels fluctuate. Keeping a daily health journal of your eating habits, water consumption, and exercise routine can help you become more aware of your choices and how they impact your blood sugar. Tracking which foods and activities cause spikes and dips in your blood glucose levels will allow you to make better-informed decisions to properly manage your diabetes.

2. Consuming Good Fats and Whole Foods Leads to Healthy Blood Sugar

Pre-diabetes progresses to a Type 2 diagnosis when blood sugar and weight are not properly managed. To manage and maintain healthy blood sugar levels, you must increase your intake of good fats and whole foods. Whole foods are anything unaltered or in their natural state, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, and whole grains. These foods have several health benefits that will work with the body to activate the standard way of processing sugar. Even in the pre-diabetes stage, your body is confused about the abundance of sugar in your system, and your insulin production doesn’t work correctly. Insulin is a hormone that takes sugar out of your blood and turns it into energy or stores it, as fat, for future use. When there’s too much sugar, the body becomes overwhelmed, and creates too much insulin, leading to insulin resistance. When this happens, the cells of the body cannot use up sugar effectively, which is what causes high blood sugar levels.

It is important to know what healthy fats for diabetes are, to ensure you are incorporating the right foods into your diet to keep your blood sugar aligned. Whole foods contain nutrients, vitamins, fiber, and other ingredients that will stabilize and balance your blood sugar. Foods with good fats are full of polyunsaturated, monounsaturated, omega-3, and omega-6 fatty acids. Some good fat foods include:

  • Olive oil
  • Avocados
  • Peanuts
  • Almonds
  • Walnuts
  • Flaxseed
  • Fish (salmon, swordfish, sardines, tuna)

When consuming a diet rich in good fat foods, you are more likely to have regulated blood glucose than if you consume a diet rich in carbohydrates. Consuming healthy fats, while reducing refined carbohydrates ultimately nurtures your production of insulin, by lowering blood sugar levels and balancing insulin production.

From cutting or limiting sugar intake, exercising regularly, and incorporating whole foods and good fats into your diet, you will effortlessly manage your blood sugar levels. Making these alterations will help your body significantly change for the better. These positive diet changes will not only get your blood sugar in a healthy zone but can contribute to potentially reverse your diabetes diagnosis altogether.

3. Exercising Regularly Lowers Blood Sugar Levels

Another way to limit increased levels of sugar in your bloodstream and aid in managing a diabetes diagnosis is through frequent exercise. Exercising regularly is one of the most effective ways to lower blood glucose levels because it allows your muscles to absorb and use sugar for energy. When incorporating exercise into your regular routine specifically for blood sugar benefits, you should aim to engage in a variety of different physical activities and exercises. It is important to balance various intensities and types of movements to ensure that your body is moving and engaging with different muscles. It is suggested that adults should be physically active for at least two and a half hours per week. Recommended exercises include:

  • Walking
  • Jogging
  • Swimming
  • Water Aerobics
  • Pushups
  • Light weight-lifting

Any and all exercise methods should be discussed with your doctor to determine what the best and most efficient approach suits your personal needs.

(This article, edited and approved the Purple Almond Wellness, was submitted by an guest author. )

Tamara’s Closing thoughts…

It’s important to go slow when making major changes to your lifestyle. Pick one thing to change, such as adding whole foods to your diet. Changing to a whole food diet, as indicated in this article, is probably the most important change you can make. As I said, go slow when making this change. Pick one meal a day to be made 100% whole foods. Do that for a week, then add a second 100% whole food meal and so on until your diet is 100% whole foods. Once that is accomplished, you can add something else. Set a S.M.A.R.T. GOAL and create steps to meet that goal. You’ve got this!

Wellness Wednesday: 10 Tips to Improve Your Health at Work

While the basis for Wellness Wednesday began as diabetes awareness, I decided to expand the topics of Wellness Wednesday to include other tips and information for staying healthy.

For today, I found an article from WebMD, which discusses 10 ways to improve your health at work. Since most individuals spend 50% of their waking hours at work, I decided this was a great place to begin. So, how do we stay healthy at work?

Let’s find out…

  1. Avoid the candy dish– In almost all offices I’ve ever worked, someone had a candy dish on their desk, for all to enjoy. You walk by and think “One can’t hurt.” But if you do that multiple times a day, it can add up to a couple hundred unwanted calories. If you feel temptation creeping in: go for a walk, get some fresh air, or keep a piece of fruit at your desk.
  2. Drink enough water– As we have discussed in my previous article,  water is by far the most important nutrient. But, surprisingly, at least 75% of us don’t get enough, and are dehydrated. The old standard advice “drink 8 glasses a day”, isn’t enough for most people. You need to drink 1/2 your body weight in ounces, PLUS add 12 ounces for every 30 minutes of exercise.  Keep a reusable bottle at your desk, filled at all times. Staying hydrated can even stave off cravings and the afternoon lull in energy.
  3. Walk during lunch– We all know we need to exercise, but often come up with the “I don’t have time” excuse. I think everyone used this excuse before. Finding a fellow co-worker to walk with would be helpful, to hold each other accountable. Walking during lunch has the added benefit of relieving stress.
  4. Eating a healthy lunch-Try to stick to whole-foods and mainly plants. However, Eating healthy doesn’t just mean food, it also means portion control, because you can always have too much of a good thing (except non-starchy veggies-eat those to your heart’s content! 🙂 ) But portion control doesn’t have to mean weighing or measuring everything. Learn to “eye it” with examples from the cheat sheet below. How-to-measure-portion-control-with-a-proper-chart
  5. Avoid neck problems-According to WebMD, TENSION NECK SYNDROME (TNS) can occur when the neck is bent at odd angles (such as cradling a phone in your neck). TNS can cause neck and shoulder pain, as well as muscle tenderness. To avoid this, they recommend using a speaker phone, headset or shoulder cradle. (1)
  6. Avoid eyestrain-Straining the eyes, can cause headaches, problems focusing and sensitivity to light. Prevent this by keeping your eyes an arms length away from the screen. If you can’t read the font from this distance, increase the font size on your screen (1)
  7. Take a vacation-Now there’s a great tip! 🙂 But it’s an important one.  Stress can have a detrimental physical effect on the body. Everyone needs to take time away to relieve stress and just forget about all of those office issues, struggles and deadlines.
  8. Avoid burnout– Try to avoid “overdoing it” or working  long hours, many days in a row. This is considered a form of stress. If you don’t slow down, your body will do it for you eventually. Because all of those long hours are stressful and physically draining to your body, compromising your immune system. A poor immune system will lead to a lot of sick days, eventually.
  9. Keep your keyboard and mouse clean– Speaking of getting sick…these items contain 1000’s of germs and bacteria that can make you sick. So, get out those cleaning supplies and keep that equipment clean!
  10. Know your limits– This is probably the most important tip. Figure out how much your body can handle  and set some limits. (AND-stay within those limits) Get plenty of exercise and figure out a way to relieve stress.

I hope these tips help you get a handle on staying healthy at work. Is their something I missed? What do you do to stay healthy at work? Leave me a comment below. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

  1. Source article: WebMD

The portion control chart is courtesy of: Skinny Confidential.

Wellness Wednesday: 4 Steps to Manage Your Diabetes for Life | NIDDK (With Free 20-Page booklet and Care Record)

Today’s diabetes awareness tips comes to you from The National Institute for Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, (NIDDK) part of the National Institute of Health, which is part of the Department of Health and Human Services. According the the NIDDK, there are 4 steps for managing your diabetes.

  1. Learn about Diabetes
    • What type do you have? Type 1, Type 2, Gestational? (Or one of many others)
    • Take a class
    • Join a support group
    • Read online-
    • Take it serious!
  2. Know your diabetes ABC’s
    • A for the A1C test (A-one-C)-this is a blood test that measures blood sugar level over the past three months-which is different from your daily tracking
    • B for Blood pressure.- Your heart has to work too hard if your blood pressure gets too high, which can lead to a heart attack or stroke. Your blood pressure goal should be below 140/990
    • C for Cholesterol– There are 2 types of cholesterol, LDL and HDL. LDL can is considered BAD, and can clog arteries. HDL is considered good, and helps remove the BAD stuff. You should ask your physician what your goals should be.
  3. Learn how to live with diabetes
    • Learn how to destress through meditation, yoga or any type of relaxation. Stress can raise blood sugars
    • Talk to someone if you’re feeling a bit down, sad or stressed-
    • Eat well –
      • Eat low calorie, low saturated and trans fat, sugar and salt
      • High fiber foods-whole grains, beans, legumes,
      • lots of fresh fruit and veg
      • Stay away from soda and juice. Instead, opt for good old WATER!
      • Your plate should be 1/2 vegetables and fruit, 1/4 protein and 1/4 whole grain
    • Stay active
    • Know what to do everyday
      • Take meds
      • Check blood sugar
      • Check feet for cuts, blisters, swelling, etc
      • Brush and floss teeth every day
      • Stop smoking! For help with this call- 1-800-QUITNOW (1-800-784-8669
  4. Get routine care with your physician
    • Make sure to do the following at each visit:
      • Blood pressure check
      • foot check
      • Weight check
      • review your plan
    • Have an A1C check twice a year
    • Do the following once a year:
      • cholesterol test
      • complete foot exam
      • dental exam to check teeth and gums
      • dilated eye exam to check for eye problems
      • flu shot
      • urine and a blood test to check for kidney problems





For more information, see the source article here: 4 Steps to Manage Your Diabetes for Life | NIDDK

Wellness Wednesday: 10 Great Foods to Control Diabetes

For today’s Wellness Wednesday (formerly Wake-up Wednesday) I have a list of 10 foods to include in your diet to assist with diabetes control. They aren’t just healthy for diabetics, but foods everyone should include in their diet. Many of these foods are anti-inflammatory, which help reduce risk factors for heart disease and stroke. These foods are from a list by AuthorityNutrition.com of 16 different foods for diabetes control.

Included with each food is nutrient information. My source for all nutrient information is the website whfoods.com, The World’s Healthiest Foods, one of the most comprehensive sites for food information and nutrition I’ve ever found. This site also has tons of recipes and cooking tips as well.  I highly recommend you check them out!

Onto the list!

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  • Fatty Fish Fatty fish are a must for a healthy diet because they one of the best sources of all important omega-3 fats. We’re not just talking Salmon here, but others such as Sardines, Herring, Anchovies and Mackerel. In fact, Sardines are among the healthiest foods you can eat. Take a look at their nutrient content. You’ll be hard pressed to find a better source of vitamin B12 or Selenium:

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  •  Leafy Greens– Leafy greens are packed with nutrients and you really can’t eat too many of these nutrient dense foods. Spinach is one of the best sources of anti-oxidants, vitamin K, vitamin A, manganese and folate. Don’t like spinach? Add it to a smoothie…it’ll turn it green, other wise, you’ll never know it’s there.

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  • Eggs–  are an amazing source of B vitamins, especially Choline. They are also great source of high quality protein and will keep you full for hours, which helps to maintain blood sugar levels. Eggs will also decrease inflammation and improve eye health.

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  • Greek Yogurt–  While yogurt, in general, is a healthy food choice, greek yogurt is a better choice for diabetics, due to the lower sugar/carbohydrate content. Yogurt helps control blood sugar, lowers risk for heart disease and provides all important pro-biotics for a healthy digestive system.

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  • Nuts– Nuts are high in fiber and low in carbohydrates, making them perfect for a healthy diet. Walnuts are a phenomenal source of omega-3 fat, which helps reduce inflammation, as well as improves heart and brain health.

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  • Broccoli– As you can see, by the nutrients listed below, broccoli is a phenomenal food to include in the daily diet. It is a great source of vitamin K, which is vital for bone and blood health, as well as vitamin C, a potent anti-oxidant and immune system booster. Some studies show that a daily serving can help lower insulin levels.

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  • Flaxseeds–  Flax is high in fiber with 5.6 grams per 2 tablespoon serving. They are also a great source of anti-inflammatory fighting omega-3. Studies show that flax helps decrease the risk of heart disease, provides a feeling of fullness, improves blood sugar and gut health, as well as insulin sensitivity.

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  • Strawberries– Strawberries are low in sugar and high in potent anti-oxidants, including vitamin C, which provide anti-inflammatory and heart health benefits.

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  • Garlic– This great herb has been shown to reduce blood pressure, blood sugar, inflammation and cholesterol.

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  • Squash– Both summer and winter squash are excellent foods to include in a daily diet. Like most vegetables, they are both high in anti-oxidants, which help fight inflammation in the body. Studies indicate they can help lower blood sugar and insulin levels.

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Source: The 16 Best Foods to Control Diabetes

Wake-up Wednesday: 5 Diabetic Friendly Breakfast Recipes

As we all know, breakfast is the most important meal of the day, especially if you are trying to maintain a steady blood sugar level. (Which EVERYONE should be doing, not just diabetics.) So, I found 5 healthy and creative breakfast recipes to add a bit of variety to your morning. ENJOY!

Almond Joy Pancakes

From: The Lemon Bowl

Net carbs per serving: 8 grams


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For recipe instructions, please visit The Lemon Bowl

Peanut Butter Protein Smoothie

From: Sugar Free Mom

Net carbs per serving: 6 grams

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For recipe instructions, please visit Sugar Free Mom

Crockpot Breakfast Casserole

From: Your Lighter Side

Net carbs per serving: 6 grams

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For recipe instructions, please visit Your Lighter Side.

Coconut Meal Waffles

From: Your Lighter Side

Net carbs per serving: 3 grams

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For recipes instructions, please visit Your Lighter Side

Eggs baked in Avocado

From: Pop Sugar Fitness

Net Carbs per serving: 5 grams


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For recipe instructions, please visit Pop Sugar Fitness

Wake-Up Wednesday: 10 Diet Commandments for Better Diabetes Management | diaTribe

NOTE: Before beginning, I want to point out that many of the tips and commandments listed in this article are healthy tips for EVERYONE, not just diabetics. So, READ ON!

Being diagnosed with diabetes, whatever type it might be, is  a scary and confusing time. One question asked is “what do I eat now?” or “What diet should I follow”? I did a basic google search using the terms   “diabetes management” and got 161,000,000 results! YIKES!

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So, what do you do now? Who do you believe? Whose advice do you follow?

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One of the first things I learned in my nutrition studies was the concept of “Biochemical Individuality”. This means that everyone is different. Each person has their own unique macro and micronutrient needs. What works for one person, won’t necessarily work for another person. What cures one person of disease, can actually cause disease in another person. Diabetics are no exception to this concept.

headshot_adam(1)So, when I came across an article on the website diaTribe.com, I knew I was on the right track. This article discourages a “diet” and recommends 10 different strategies to help you manage diabetes.  It also gives a few tips on developing your own set of commandments.  (BTW-this works for anyone!) The article is written by Adam Brown, who has been dealing with type 1 diabetes for 15 years.

Adam indicates that, first, it is important to pay attention to what you eat when logging your blood sugars, after your meal. (90 minutes after).  (If you aren’t diabetic, log your food and pay attention to how that food makes you feel physically and emotionally) This will help you establish patterns with your diet and your food. To do this, record your all meals and food, as well as blood sugar levels for a few days. ( Or, record meals, and feelings, if you aren’t diabetic-I recommend at least 3 days, but 5 or 7 is best). Adam recommends 2 apps for this: MySugr and Meal Memory. As you track your food ask yourself the following questions:

  • If your post-meal blood sugar (90 minutes post meal) is in the ideal range-(80-140 mg/dl) –ask yourself–what, where, and when did you eat your meals?
  • If your post-meal blood sugar (90 minutes post meal) are in the high range (+200 mg/d.) again ask yourself-what, where and when did you eat your meals?

Once you’ve tracked your food/blood sugar, you’ll be able to come up with your own strategies and principles for managing your diabetes. The following 10 commandments are a result of Adam’s own “brainstorming”. I want to remind you that what works for Adam, may not work for you, because everyone is different. However, it’s a good starting point,  a good baseline. After tracking your food, you’ll need to “tweek” the commandments to better suit your lifestyle. Onto the “commandments.”

  1. Limit carbohydrates to no more than 30 grams per setting. Adam worries that this may be a bit controversial for nutritionists and dietician. However, since all carbs break down to individual sugar molecules in the body, I think this tip makes perfect sense. As long as you are eating healthy, whole food carbohydrates, AND getting enough fiber (minimum of 25 grams per day) this shouldn’t be a problem.
  2. Eat more vegetables. This doesn’t just go for diabetics! Most people in the USA don’t eat nearly enough. Eat as many non-starchy vegetables a day as you can handle. There is no limit here.
  3. Eat whole foods as often as possible. Remember a whole food is something you could walk into a garden or field and pick yourself. If you do buy a packaged product, read the label. Make sure it has 5 ingredients or less. If it has 10 or more, don’t buy it. Also, if you can’t read or pronounce an ingredient, or if your great-great grandmother wouldn’t recognize an ingredient, you shouldn’t be eating it.
  4. Cook your own food. As much fun as it is to eat out at restaurants, you can’t control what goes in your food. Cooking yourself, allows you to purchase and prepare high quality recipes.
  5. Avoid the following: sugar, white bread/potatoes/rice/pasta, crackers, chips, candy, and anything fried. (I’ll add: avoid any highly processed food in general)
  6. Great healthy snacks: nuts, seeds, vegetables, fruits, and lean sources of protein.
  7. Drink water or unsweetened tea. (I’ll add here, herbal teas are best. Check out my article on preparing your own herbal tea mixes.)
  8. Eat a filling breakfast (protein, fiber) and don’t eat 90 minutes of bedtime.
  9. Need dessert? Eat fruit.
  10. Check my blood sugar :90-120 minutes after eating .

Here is an infographic of the 10 “commandments”

Infographic courtesy of diaTribe.com

Next week, we’ll discuss

how to overcome everyday challenges.

Please visit diatribe.com and Adam’s article here: 10 Diet Commandments for Better Diabetes Management | diaTribe

Daily Inspiration: Beyond Type 1

When Nick Jonas was 13, he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, and his life was never the same. He describes it as a time of confusion, fear and unknowing.

Continue reading “Daily Inspiration: Beyond Type 1”

Wake Up Wednesday: A New Diabetes Awareness Series

Since starting my blog, I’ve had several people ask about healthy eating for people with type 2 diabetes. Since I’m still a student, I tell them “I’ll do some research and get back to you”. This new blog series is my attempt to keep that promise.

Continue reading “Wake Up Wednesday: A New Diabetes Awareness Series”

11 Foods to Avoid With Diabetes

117 million Americans currently suffer from chronic diseases, such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Of these, 29 million Americans suffer from Diabetes. It’s important to understand which foods to avoid when you have a chronic disease such as diabetes.

Continue reading “11 Foods to Avoid With Diabetes”