What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a complex disease where your body either does not produce enough insulin or does not use its insulin properly. Insulin is a hormone that is produced by the pancreas and is used to regulate the amount of sugar (glucose) in the blood stream. Having too much or too little sugar in the blood can be dangerous. Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes diagnosed in Canada.

The Role of Diet with Type 2 Diabetes

Proper diet can play a huge role with diabetes management as many of the food we eat contain carbohydrates, which are broken down into sugars. Some examples of foods that contain sugar include:

· All starchy vegetables like potatoes, sweet potatoes, squashes and yams

· All fruits and fruit juices including berries, apples, oranges, and bananas

· Dairy products like milk and yogurt

· Grain products such as breads, rice, pasta, pita, and tortillas

· Legumes like chickpeas, lentils, and beans

· Sweets including but not limited to baked goods, pops, cakes, granola bars, cookies

It is not necessary to avoid these foods, but it is important to be aware of and to control your portion sizes of these foods as they contain sugars that can increase your blood glucose levels.

Consult your doctor, and if available a registered dietitian, if you have any

questions or concerns about how to best manage your diabetes


Healthy Eating Tips for Diabetics:

· Include a source of protein at every meal! Protein aids to slow the absorption of sugar therefore helping to control your blood sugar levels.

· Choose high fiber carbohydrate sources whenever possible like legumes and whole grains as fiber helps to regulate your blood glucose levels.

· Eat regularly – Do not skip meals; have 3 meals per day and snacks as needed. Ideally never go more than 4-6 hours between meals and eat healthy snacks as needed.

· Limit your intake of simple sugars like sweets, candies, pop, juices, syrups, honey, baked goods, sauces, etc as these greatly increase your blood sugar.

· Follow Canada’s Food Guide whenever possible; ½ a plate of vegetables, ¼ of carbohydrate and ¼ of protein.

· Always read food nutrition labels to be aware of the amount of carbohydrates and sugars found in the foods you are eating.

Tomato and Black Bean Salad

Makes 4 servings


· 4 cups (1 L) mixed salad greens

· 1 can (19 oz/540 mL) black beans, drained and rinsed

· 1½ cups (325 mL) shredded light Cheddar cheese

· 1 cup (250 mL) cooked or canned corn kernels, drained and rinsed if canned

· 1 cup (250 mL) chopped tomato

· ¼ cup (50 mL) chopped red onion

· ¼ cup (50 mL) chopped cucumber

· 2 tbsp (25 mL) finely chopped fresh coriander or parsley

· ¼ cup (50 mL) balsamic or light vinaigrette

· Salsa (optional)


1. Divide greens equally among 4 plates or bowls.

2. In microwave-safe casserole dish, heat beans on high for 2 minutes or until hot.

3. Divide warm beans, cheese, corn, tomato, onion, cucumber, coriander and vinaigrette equally overtop each salad.

4. Add salsa, if using. Serve immediately!


Cabbage roll casserole


· 2 tbsp canola oil

· 1 medium onion, diced

· 3 cloves garlic, minced

· 1 lb. extra lean ground beef

· ¼ tsp salt

· ¼ tsp ground black pepper

· 2 cups chopped cabbage

· 1 can (28 oz./796 mL) diced tomatoes

· ¾ cup long grain brown rice

· 1 cup sodium-reduced vegetable or beef broth


1. In large skillet with lid, heat canola oil over medium heat. Sauté onions and garlic for about 5 minutes.

2. Add ground beef. Brown for about 5 minutes over medium-high heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

3. Add cabbage, tomatoes, rice and broth and stir well. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low simmer, cover and cook for 30 minutes or until rice is tender. If preferred instead, after bringing mixture to a boil, bake in oven-proof skillet with lid in 350°F (180°C) oven for about 40 minutes.


Farfalle with Tuna, Lemon, and Fennel


· 6 ounces dried whole grain farfalle (bow-tie) pasta

· 1 (5 ounce) can solid white tuna (packed in oil)

· Olive oil (optional)

· 1 cup fennel, thinly sliced (1 medium bulb)

· 2 cloves garlic, minced

· ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper

· ¼ teaspoon salt

· 2 (14.5 ounce) cans no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained

· 2 tablespoons parsley (optional)

· 1 teaspoon lemon peel, grated (optional)



1. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt; drain. Return pasta to pan; cover and keep warm. Meanwhile, drain tuna, reserving oil. If necessary, add enough olive oil to measure 3 tablespoons total. Flake tuna; set aside.

2. In a medium saucepan heat the 3 tablespoons of reserved oil over medium heat. Add fennel; cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic, crushed red pepper and salt; cook and stir about 1 minute or just until garlic is golden.

3. Stir in tomatoes. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 5 to 6 minutes or until mixture starts to thicken. Stir in tuna; simmer, uncovered, about 1 minute more or until tuna is heated through.

4. Pour tuna mixture over pasta; stir gently to combine. Sprinkle each serving with parsley and lemon peel.

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