Having a friend or family member living with diabetes may cause you to stop and think when it comes to planning a meal. Millie Padula shares her tips for a diabetes-friendly dinner party.
Special occasions are often stressful for the host – no matter who’s invited! If you have someone coming to dinner who has diabetes, here are a few pointers to keep in mind:
- Smaller, more frequent meals can be better than one large meal. A good way to do this would be to try a trendy, tapas-style meal instead
- Bread, pasta, rice, potato and other grains are all great choices to include within your dinner party dishes, especially baby potatoes with their skins on and wholegrain or wholemeal versions of bread
- Plenty of colourful veggies make for an appealing dish, so think yummy tomato-based pasta dishes, vegetable and meat kebabs, aromatic vegetable curries and fragrant stir-fries with crunchy vegetables
- Adding legumes such as peas, beans, lentils, chickpeas to meals can not only increase the all-round tastiness of the meal, but can also lower the speed that sugars are released, so it is better for everyone!
- Aim to keep alcohol within a 1-2 standard drinks per person
- Have plenty of water available – maybe jazz it up by adding fresh produce into the jugs (mint, lemon/lime etc.) or lower energy drinks like diet soft drinks
- Fruit juice can be a handy standby in case someone’s blood glucose goes a bit low and needs a quick top-up of sugar
Ideas for themed healthy dinner parties:
- Italian/Mediterranean – Mini pizzas, mini pasta bowls with garlic sourdough and salad, healthy bruschetta
- Mexican Tapas-Style – Tacos, quesadillas and healthy nachos with guacamole and low-fat cheese
- Grill/BBQ Night – Lamb chops, rosemary and garlic chicken breasts, beef kebabs with capsicum and onion
- Greek Theme – Souvlakis, Greek salad, lamb kebabs
- Healthy Pizza Night – Sweet potato and spinach, prosciutto and rocket, pear and walnut
What could an Italian menu look like?
Tomato bruschetta on a wholewheat baguette with kalamata olives, red onions, parsley, basil, fresh lemon juice and pepper.
Farfalle pasta with zucchini and basil-almond pesto with a side salad of mixed peppers, wedged tomatoes and cos lettuce with a light vinaigrette.
Vanilla, passionfruit and cinnamon panna cotta using skim milk and low-fat yoghurt. Fresh berries could be served on the side to add colour.
You might prefer a more relaxed tapas selection that your guests can help themselves to as they chat. Some ideas may include:
- Spinach arancini balls served with a homemade tomato chutney
- Tomato, cheese and olive pizzas on a mini pita flatbread
- Slow cooked meatballs with a roasted red pepper sauce
- Cheese board and antipasto platter with a selection of olives, cheeses, healthy dips and crostini
- Mushrooms stuffed with Parmesan and capsicum
- Mixed vegetable minestrone with small pasta shapes or risoni
Basically, a healthy dinner party is good for everyone. Diabetes definitely won’t stop you from having a good time, so your only real concern should be who is going to clean the dishes afterwards!