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The best diabetes cookbooks

Think finding a delicious, heart-healthy cookbook that also promotes weight and glucose control is impossible? Think again. The American Diabetes Association has recently published two seriously sumptuous diabetes cookbooks filled with palate-pleasing, easy to prepare, gourmet meals featuring heart-smart ingredients, diabetes health tips, and inspiration to eat well. There are many diabetes books on the market, many focusing on the physiological impact of diabetes and controlling it with a generic diet. The following two diabetes cookbooks focus on making mouthwatering, healthy recipes the basis for a diabetes-managing diet.

The Heart-Smart Diabetes Kitchen

Heart Smart Diabetes KitchenThe Heart-Smart Diabetes Kitchen: Fresh, Fast, and Flavorful Recipes Made with Canola Oil (American Diabetes Association, 2010) is a tasty partnership between the American Diabetes Association, and diabetes cookbook author Nancy S. Hughes. With more than 4,000 recipes under her belt, Hughes created 151 heart-healthy and diabetes-managing recipes modestly using canola oil as the cooking fat. Why canola? This cooking oil has the least amount of saturated fat, the most omega-3s, and has been FDA-authorized to include the claim that 1-1/2 tablespoons of canola oil per day may reduce the risk of heart disease when used in place of saturated fats. In addition to canola, relying on fresh produce, herbs, and spices instead of high-sodium or high-fat ingredients, the recipes in The Heart-Smart Diabetes Kitchen feature fresh flavors across a wide range of cuisines. Recipes include Grill Pan Chicken with Fiery Mango-Ginger Salsa, West Indies Shrimp and Jalapeno Rounds, Stuffed Portobello Caps, and Brownie Wedges with Java Cream. Recipes are accompanied with fresh, fast or flavorful cooking tips as well as exchanges and other nutritional information. The Heart-Smart Diabetes Kitchen cookbook delivers a delicious selection of easy, yet impressive, recipes and will show you how to use canola in your everyday diabetes meals.

To learn more about the health benefits of canola and diet-management of diabetes, visit

Jicama and Sweet Lemon Salad

Serves 8

Recipe from The Heart-Smart Diabetes Kitchen courtesy of the American Diabetes Association.

1 small jicama (8 ounces total), peeled, thinly sliced, cut into matchstick pieces
1/2 medium red bell pepper, thinly sliced, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 cup diced fresh pineapple
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1 teaspoon lemon zest
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons pourable sugar substitute
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1/8 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and toss gently, yet thoroughly, until well blended. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

Exchanges: 1 Vegetable; 1/2 Fat

The Mediterranean Diabetes Cookbook

 The Mediterranean Diabetes Cookbook

Rich in flavor, fiber, omega-3s, and antioxidants, the Mediterranean diet has grown in popularity for its heart-healthy benefits. Yet, this age-old way of eating has also proven beneficial for people with diabetes. The Mediterranean Diabetes Cookbook: A Flavorful, Low-Fat, Heart-Healthy Approach to Cooking (American Diabetes Association, 2010), by Amy Riolo, a food historian and internationally recognized cookbook author, is filled with over 200 healthy recipes with influences from Italy, Greece, Egypt, Morocco, Turkey and other Mediterranean countries. Riolo, whose mother was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, passionately researched cuisines and recipes that would not only help with weight and glucose control, but also give people with diabetes tasty meals they could anticipate. Just a few of Riolo’s Mediterranean recipes include Corsican Prawns with Chickpea Cream, Chicken Fattah, and Pineapple Tiramisu. Every recipe comes with time-saving tips, the recipe’s cultural origins, easy to follow instructions, and nutrition information, such as caloric exchanges and nutrient values. Simply paging through The Mediterranean Diabetes Cookbook will make your mouth water, whether you have diabetes or not.

Proceeds from The Mediterranean Diabetes Cookbook go to further the American Diabetes Association’s mission to prevent and cure diabetes while improving the quality of life of those who have the disease. For more information, visit

Sicilian Swordfish and Eggplant Bundles

Serves 4

Recipe from Amy Riolo’s The Mediterranean Diabetes Cookbook courtesy of the American Diabetes Association.

1 medium eggplant, sliced lengthwise into paper-thin slices
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chopped boxed tomatoes
1 cup strained boxed tomatoes
2 tablespoons freshly chopped basil
2 tablespoons pine nuts
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, divided
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated pepper
Dash crushed red pepper flakes
2 boneless swordfish fillets (about 3/4-pound total)

1. Preheat broiler. Place eggplant slices on a baking sheet. Brush with 1 tablespoon olive oil, and bake for a few minutes until tender and cooked through. Remove from oven, and set aside.

2. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, and cook until it releases its aroma. Do not let garlic turn brown. Stir in chopped and strained tomatoes, basil, pine nuts, 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, pepper, and pepper flakes. Stir and cover. Reduce heat to low. Simmer for 5 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, place a large piece of wax paper on a work surface. Place fish fillets on wax paper, and cover with another piece. Use a flat-edged meat hammer to pound fish until they are very thin, about 1/4-inch. Check under the wax paper from time to time to make sure that fish is not tearing. Cut each piece in half to make 4 pieces.

4. Top each piece of fish with thin layers of the eggplant slices. (If you have extra eggplant slices, reserve them as a garnish). Starting at the wide end, roll up fish, completely encasing eggplant. Use toothpicks or skewers to secure the rolls. Slowly remove lid from tomato sauce, and add rolls to simmering sauce. Cover, and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, turning once, or until fish is cooked through.

5. Transfer fish to a serving platter, remove skewers, and top with remaining sauce. Season with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, if desired. Serve remaining eggplant slices along the sides of the dish.

Exchanges: 3 Vegetable; 2 Lean Meat; 2 Fat

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