November is American Diabetes Month, which makes today an excellent time to learn more about living healthfully with diabetes. After all, meal planning can be tricky, and it's key to have several nutritious snacks every day. So what exactly should go on your plate if you have diabetes? Why, that's why we're here -- to help you make a healthful, balanced plate at every meal!
Make This Plate!
To make the delicious meal pictured above, start with healthful ingredients, then use creative yet simple techniques to bring the meal together.
- 1 spaghetti squash (you'll use one cup of cooked squash --reserve the rest for another use)
- 3 ounces raw tuna steak
- 1/4 cup diced tomatoes
- 1 tsp chopped parsley
- Juice from 1 lime
- 1 cup arugula
- Juice from 1 lemon
- 2 yellow cherry tomatoes
- 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
- 1/3 cup cooked brown rice (we chose short grain brown rice because it sticks together nicely)
- Cut the spaghetti squash in half and remove the seeds. Place halves cut side down in a covered dish and microwave for 10 minutes or until the squash is soft enough to pierce with a sharp knife. Reserve 1 cup of cooked squash for this meal and refrigerate the rest for later.
- Grill the tuna steak until done. You can use a nonstick pan or panini machine. Use a light (one second) spray of cooking oil to keep the tuna from sticking to the pan or machine.
- Place the cooked tuna on a plate and top with the tomatoes, parsley, and lime juice.
- Assemble the salad next to the tuna. Pile the arugula high and top with balsamic vinegar and cherry tomatoes (we used golden cherry tomatoes).
- Finish the plate! Use a 1/3 cup measuring cup to mold the rice into a column on 1/4 of the plate and place beside the cooked fish. Scrape the cooked squash out of its shell with a fork. Twist the pile into a neat, round nest next to the salad.
- Use a panini maker to grill any lean protein. That way, you can reduce the amount of fat that the meat needs in order to cook without sticking to a pan. Plus, a panini maker provides heat from the top and bottom, not just the bottom like a skillet or saucepan. Finally, a panini maker keeps lean protein very moist and the grill marks look great.
- Spaghetti squash looks lovely when twirled into a tall pile. Use a fork and twist -- just like you would with spaghetti. Consider cooked spaghetti squash with sauteed or broiled cherry tomatoes.
- Arugula is a very versatile green. Use it raw in salads, throw it in soups, pasta, and stir fry dishes, or do a quick saute to make it a side green. You can mix it 1/2 and 1/2 with steamed spinach for great flavor variety.
- Use a 1/3 cup measure for rice - it makes a beautiful shape on the plate.
- Buy Italian spritzer in the salad dressing aisle - it adds great shine and flavor to finished dishes.
- This meal has 24 grams of carbohydrates, which leaves a few free grams of carbs. Consider adding a glass of skim milk.
- Does the layout of this plate look familiar? It follows MyPlate's guidelines for healthful portions and proportions, especially once you add the glass of nonfat milk. You could also mix 2/3 nonfat plain yogurt with orange segments and almonds for a MyPlate-friendly dessert.
- This recipe makes 1 serving of a healthful meal.
- Each serving contains 476 calories.
- There are 13 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, and 0 grams of trans fat in this meal.
- This plate also has 97 milligrams of cholesterol and 114 milligrams of sodium.
- There are 24 grams of carbohydrate, 3 grams of dietary fiber, 3 grams of sugar, and 63 grams of protein in this meal.
For More Healthful Meals...
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Stephanie Ronco has been editing for Food and Health Communications since 2011. She graduated from Colorado College magna cum laude with distinction in Comparative Literature. She was elected a member of Phi Beta Kappa in 2008.