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Diabetes won’t stop me…from throwing a healthy dinner party


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


About Deakin Nutrition

Nutrition and dietetics has a long history at Deakin with a world-leading research profile, and degree programs in high demand taught by engaged teaching staff


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