Having a friend or family member living with diabetes may cause you to stop and think when it comes to planning a meal. Special occasions in particular are often stressful for the host – no matter who’s invited!
If you have someone coming to dinner who does have diabetes, here are a few pointers to keep in mind:
- Smaller, more frequent meals can be better than one large meal, maybe try a trendy tapas-style menus instead.
- Bread, pasta, rice, potato and other grains are all great choices to include within your dinner party dishes especially with baby potatoes with skins-on, wholegrain or wholemeal versions.
- 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 also lowers the speed that sugars are released so it is better for everyone!
- Aim to keep alcohol within 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 Theme – Mini pizza’s, Mini pasta bowls with garlic sourdough and salad, healthy bruschetta.
- Mexican Tapas Style – Taco’s, quesadilla’s 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 – Souvlaki’s, 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.
- Parmesan and capsicum stuffed mushrooms.
- 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!!
By Millie Padula