A Diabetic’s Guide to Delicious Dining: International Recipes

Who says healthy cooking is time consuming and complicated? Not me! Well…not anymore at least.
I admit, a few years ago, my idea of dinner was popping by McDonalds and picking up a burger and fries after work, or on days where I was feeling extra lazy or indulgent, I’d simply order in – pizza, Chinese, biryani, you name it and I had it on my speed dial. Things seemed great until my sugar levels were all over the place and my sister, a diabetic herself (it runs in our family), forced me to take charge of the situation.
Her tough love approach was all the push I needed to start cooking for myself. Not only have I managed to stick to my regime, my diabetes is totally under control and I have fun experimenting with tasty new recipes all the time.
Here are a couple of my favourite after work recipes. Not only have they turned carb loving me into a healthy eater, the best part is they take very little effort to whip up!
Chicken and Spinach Soup with Pesto

  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup diced carrots, red paprika (and any other crunchy veggie of your choice)
  • 1 large boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into quarters
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 5 cups low-sodium chicken broth (I make mine ahead on the weekends)
  • Pesto (store bought is fine)
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste


  • Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.
  • Add the carrots, paprika and chicken; cook, turning the chicken and stirring frequently, until the chicken begins to brown, 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute more.
  • Stir in broth and bring to a boil over high heat.
  • Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through. This should take about 5 minutes.
  • With a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken pieces to a clean cutting board to cool.
  • Add spinach to the pot and bring to a gentle boil.
  • Cook for 5 minutes to blend the flavors.
  • Cut the chicken into bite-size pieces. Stir the chicken and pesto into the pot.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Heat until hot.
  • Garnish with croutons, if desired.

Zoodles with arrabiata 
For the sauce:

  • 10 medium tomatoes, quartered
  • 2 large onions, quartered
  • 7 to 8 pods elephant garlic, crushed; 2 pods finely sliced
  • 10 to 15 basil leaves
  • 1 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp chilli flakes
  • 6 tbsp vodka/red wine (optional, best avoided if your sugar levels are not in check)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Parmesan cheese to taste
  • Salt to taste
  • Basil leaves to garnish

For the ‘pasta’

  • 1-2 Zucchinis, spiralized with a spiralizer


  • Heat the oil in a pan.
  • Add the onions and cook for a few minutes until they’re translucent.
  • Add 3 tbsp of the vodka/red wine – be very careful that the pan doesn’t catch fire if you’re using vodka!
  • Add the crushed garlic and cook for another minute.
  • Let the mix cool down and put it in a blender. Add the tomatoes and make a coarse puree.
  • Put 1 tsp of oil in the pan and add the chilli flakes and sliced garlic.
  • Pour the puree into the pan and add the salt and oregano.
  • Cook until the sauce thickens. Add the rest of the vodka/red wine now.
  • Cook for another 2 minutes.
  • Place the zoodles (zucchini noodles) on the plate and ladle sauce over.
  • Garnish with a basil leaf.
  • Serve hot.

Bon appetite!

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