Easter Dinner for People With Diabetes

Supriya Lal

2022 Apr 06

8 min read

It is common for families to enjoy a holiday dinner together on Easter. While an Easter dinner with family is an opportunity to get together and celebrate, typical Easter recipes do not always fit into the diabetic diet. If you live with diabetes, you may have to make changes to your recipes so that they are more diabetes friendly. With a few simple changes, you can have a healthy holiday dinner that tastes delicious and keeps blood sugar levels in check.

Easter Recipes and Diabetes

When you imagine typical Easter recipes, you likely think about the rich flavor of glazed ham, paired with a side dish like bread or scalloped potatoes. Your family may serve pork or turkey as main dishes instead of ham, but Easter dinner generally includes a protein source combined with various side dishes, which typically aren’t low carb. In addition, Easter recipes tend to include meats wrapped in bacon, which adds a significant amount of saturated fat to these seasonal favorites.

Traditional dishes may not be entirely diabetes friendly. For instance, nutrition experts recommend a balanced diet that includes fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein sources, and low-fat milk and cheese. On the other hand, the diabetic diet should limit sweets, beverages with added sugars, and foods that are fried or high in saturated fat. An Easter meal may include highly processed breads, sweet desserts, cheesy potatoes, and other dishes that can be high in calories and refined carbohydrates.

Making Easter Dinner Fit Into the Diabetic Diet

If you have diabetes, you can make your Easter dinner fit into your diabetic diet. You might consider hosting the Easter meal so that you can ensure that the food served will fit within your eating plan. You can ask guests to bring side dishes that they want to enjoy, but you can make main dishes that fit within your eating plan, and have fruits and vegetables on hand for you to eat with your meal.

On the other hand, if you don’t want to host Easter dinner, or another family member prefers to host, you can offer to bring some dishes that fit within your diabetes eating plan, or talk with the host about your dietary needs. Loved ones will often be willing to accommodate your needs so that you can still eat with everyone else.

Regardless of the specific menu for your Easter dinner, it is also helpful to keep portion sizes in mind. Nutrition experts recommend using the plate method when preparing meals. This involves filling half of your plate with a non-starchy vegetable, one-forth of your plate with a lean protein source like grilled chicken, and the remaining one-forth with a starch or grain like corn or a whole grain roll. Using this method assists with portion control and helps you to limit yourself to the appropriate serving size for each item.

5 Easter Recipes to Try

Keeping diabetes friendly eating in mind, there are some fantastic Easter recipes that fit within your diet. Consider the recipes below for a healthy Easter meal.

lemon grilled chicken
Lemon Grilled Chicken

Chicken is a great source of protein, and when it’s grilled, it is low in fat and fits well within a diabetes eating plan. Use this simple recipe as your main dish and pair it with a salad, topped with a sugar-free dressing. Prepare the chicken by marinating it in a combination of lemon juice, garlic, and olive oil, and then throw it on the grill to cook until it reaches a temperature of 160 degrees.

Cinnamon bread
Low-Carb Cinnamon Bread

You can keep blood sugar levels in check and still enjoy Easter desserts. Sweetened with cinnamon, a low-carb dessert bread allows you to treat yourself while keeping your meal diabetes friendly. Kids will even enjoy this low-carb cinnamon bread.

Follow the recipe below to prepare this dessert:

  • Gather the following ingredients for the bread: 2 1/2 cups of blanched almond flour, 1 cup of Swerve no-sugar sweetener (confectioner’s style), 1/2 tbsp. of baking powder 1 tsp. of ground cinnamon, a pinch of salt, 4 eggs, 1/3 cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk, and 4 tbsp. melted butter
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Mix almond flour, confectioners Swerve, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl until well-combined.
  • In a separate bowl, mix the wet ingredients: eggs, melted butter, and almond milk.
  • Combine wet and dry ingredients and mix to form a thick batter.
  • Mix 4 tbsp. granular Swerve and 1/2 tbsp. ground cinnamon in a small bowl to create the swirl for the bread.
  •  Get a 8.5″ x 4.5″ bread pan, line it with parchment paper, and spray it with non-stick baking spray.
  • Add 1/3 of the batter to the pan, and then add in 1/3 of the swirl, and use a toothpick to mix it into the batter. This is the first layer of the cinnamon bread. Repeat this process with the remaining batter, until you have added all three layers to the pan.
  • Bake the bread for 60-70 minutes, adding a tinfoil tent after 45 minutes.
  • Remove bread from oven, allow it to cool to room temperature, and then slice and serve!

dviled eggs
Diabetes-Friendly Deviled Eggs

Deviled eggs are a traditional Easter dish, and you can make a healthy version that fits within your diet. Your taste buds will love the diabetes-friendly version of this side dish, which you can make with the following steps:

  • Boil 12 eggs, and then allow to sit in cold water for a few minutes to make peeling easier.
  • Slice eggs in half vertically, remove egg yolks, and then place the yolks into a bowl.
  • Mash the yolks, and then add 2 tbsp. light mayonnaise, 1/8 tsp. dry mustard, a pinch of salt, and fresh ground black pepper to the bowl.
  • Mix all ingredients together in the bowl.
  • Add the yolk mixture to the egg whites.

cucamber lime salmon with ginger
Cucumber Lime Salmon with Ginger

Another main course idea that fits a diabetes diet is this salmon recipe, which includes the rich flavor of lime and ginger. Follow the steps below to complete this recipe:

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1) Begin by mixing the following 13 ingredients in a blender to make the cucumber lime sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon grated lime zest
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 4 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped onion
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh gingerroot
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 medium cucumbers, peeled, seeded and chopped

2) Combine 1/3 cup minced gingerroot, 1 tablespoon lime juice, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper in a bowl.

3) Coat ten 6-ounce salmon filets with the above mixture.

4) Lightly coat the grill rack with oil, and then grill salmon, skin side down, for 10-12 minutes on medium-high heat.

5) Remove from grill and serve salmon with the sauce prepared in step one.

Quinoa Salad

Another recipe to consider for your diabetes-friendly Easter dinner is a quinoa salad, which is high in protein and rich in flavor. Follow the recipe below to make:

1) Make a dressing by combining the following ingredients in a bowl:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh gingerroot
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

2) Bring two cups of reduced sodium chicken broth to a boil, and then add one cup of quinoa. Reduce the heat and simmer, while covered, for 12-15 minutes.

3) Remove quinoa from heat and transfer to a large bowl.

4) Add the following to the quinoa, and mix:

  • 1 cup chopped tart apple
  • 1 cup chopped cucumber
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh parley
  • 1 thinly sliced green onion

5) Add in the dressing prepared in step one, and you’re ready to serve!

Key Takeaways

With each recipe above, you can enjoy low carb, healthy dishes and still celebrate a memorable Easter dinner with family. The good news is that all the recipes discussed here are delicious, and they use simple ingredients. Friends and family alike will enjoy getting together to celebrate, and you won’t have to worry that you’re ruining your diabetes eating plan.

In general, it’s best to stick to a balanced meal that is free from heavily processed foods or refined carbs. Instead of the chicken and salmon recipes discussed here, you might consider a recipe using lean beef, lamb, or pork. If you’re into seafood, you could also consider shrimp. For side dishes, you can pair these protein sources with fresh fruit, broccoli, carrots, brussels sprouts, and other diabetes-friendly options. Finish off with a lower-carb dessert (if you don’t prefer the recipe discussed here, you can try other flavors using a similar recipe, such as lemon bread or strawberry bread) and pair it with coffee enjoyed around the table with family and friends.

Written by

Supriya Lal

Supriya Lal is a Registered Dietitian based in New York City. She completed her training at Duke University Hospital System and has specific interests in personalised nutrition therapy, nutritional counseling, and sustainability related to food and nutrition. She is currently completing her Master's in Public Health at New York University.

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