Diabetic recipes generally have low or no refined sugars and are low in saturated fats. Converting favorite recipes into diabetic ones not only leaves out the sugars, but introduces unsaturated fats and less refined ingredients. Here are ways to convert both main dish and dessert recipes into diabetic ones.

Things You'll Need

Converting Main Course Recipes

Replace the highly refined ingredients in the recipe with more healthy ones. Highly refined ingredients are those that go through additional processing, losing much of the nutritional value and increasing simple carbohydrate levels. Bleached white flour would be a refined ingredient that you could replace with whole wheat flour. Sauces and accompaniments requiring white sugar to help in sweetening and browning can be omitted altogether or naturally sweet onions can be used instead.

Remove all hydrogenated oils and replace them with more healthy oils such as canola and corn oils. Use olive oil in place of butter or regular margarine when browning vegetables and when pan frying meats. Extra virgin olive oil is high in monounsaturated fat and using it should also contribute flavor to the recipe.

Choose foods with a low glycemic index. When preparing grain pilafs, use pearl barley instead of millet. For sandwiches choose whole wheat bread instead of white bread. Vegetables can be added to bulk up an ordinary recipe and make it diabetic friendly. For example, by adding peppers, asparagus and green beans to a pasta dish the overall nutrient level increases and the actual amount of pasta consumed will decrease.

Use seasonings with no added sugars or salts and try adding fresh herbs and dried herb mixtures to the recipe. Fresh herbs provide flavor and color to a dish and can give it a health boost as well. Parsley is high in Vitamin C and A, and cilantro and basil are both good sources of Vitamin K.

Converting Dessert Recipes

Omit or alter the frosting, topping or decoration demands of a cake recipe. Instead serve a plain cake as dessert with a beverage. If a topping is necessary for the cake, try a reduced-sugar recipe. If you still want some kind of decoration, sprinkle the top with a little plain cocoa or cinnamon powder.

Replace ordinary sugar with a sugar substitute, such as sucralose (Splenda brand) or aspartame (NutraSweet brand). These substitutes are much sweeter than ordinary sugar so much less will be needed. In chocolate fillings and pies that call for sweetened chocolate, use an unsweetened variety and add a sugar substitute for sweetening if needed.

Use non-hydogenated oils in pastries. Using mashed banana, pureed prunes and applesauce in place of butter in cakes will help with body while contributing flavor and color to the recipe.


  • Replacing certain ingredients in some dishes may require a longer cooking time.