Diabetes Cookbook: Delicious Food for People with Diabetes
by the American Diabetes Association
128 Pages; Color Photographs; Soft cover; $14 US, $22 CAN
DK Books, New York, NY
Reviewed by Chiwha Christina Chang for Good Cooking, Inc. December 2006

The review---

This book contains so much more information than just a cookbook. It explains that the problem of diabetes comes from the malfunction of insulin which balances the glucose level in the blood. High glucose levels can lead to complications such as eye and kidney problems, heart disease and nerve damage, but the good thing is that diabetes can be improved by a balanced, healthy diet.

This cookbook has more than 100 innovative recipes including low-fat, low sugar and low salt, which are what this healthy cooking emphasizes. And the recipes prove that cooking low-fat, low sugar and low salt not only is healthy but can be tasty also. One of the things I liked about this book is the information about types of fats, sugars and starches. For example, oatmeal makes glucose rise more slowly than potatoes and rice. With this type of information, we readers can know how and what to choose when cooking at home or eating away from home.

I tried four recipes from the book and they all came out delicious. Each recipe has a nutritional analysis, a preparation time, a preparation tip and an ingredients highlight. I also found the colorful pictures very helpful—I could get an idea of what the dish should look like when done. I tried the Paella (pg. 60), Chicken, Butter bean, Tarragon and Leek Pie (pg. 62), Cornmeal Braids (pg. 112) and Fruity Tea Bread (pg. 113). They all came out good and delicious, but most of all, they are simple to make.

This book provides a wide variety of recipes for appetizers, snacks, main dishes, and desserts. It is a truly inspirational source for people dealing with a diabetes diet, and a wonderful book for anyone who is looking for a healthy diet.


This combination of seafood, poultry, rice, and vegetables makes a spectacular dish guaranteed to impress family and friends.

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 red pepper, cored, seeded (see page 71), and sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp paprika
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast half, about 5oz (50g), chopped
2 cups (375g) risotto rice
1/3 cup (50 ml) dry white wine
2 1/2 cups (600ml) hot chicken stock
1 tbsp tomato puree
few strands saffron 1lb (500g) mixed seafood (see Preparation Tip, left)
2-3 (7oz) plum tomatoes; skinned and chopped salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 tbsp chopped fresh parsley, plus extra to garnish
charred lemon and lime quarters, to garnish (optional)

1. Heat the oil in a large, non-stick frying pan. Add the onion, pepper, and garlic, and fry gently for 3-4 minutes, until softened.

2. Stir in the paprika and fry for 1 minute. Add the chicken and fry over a medium heat for 2 minutes, then add the rice. Pour in the wine and simmer until it has been absorbed into the rice.

3. Mix together the chicken stock, tomato puree, and saffron, and add to the rice mixture. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat, cover the pan, and simmer gently for 25 minutes, adding the seafood and plum tomatoes about 7 minutes before the end of the cooking time.

Season well and stir in the parsley. Turn the ingredients into a warmed serving dish and serve immediately, garnished with the fresh parsley and the charred lemon and lime quarters, if desired.

* Star Ingredient

Shellfish, an essential ingredient of Paella, are low in fat. However, they are high in cholesterol, but cholesterol in food does not cause cholesterol levels (see pages 12 and 18) to rise as much as saturated fat or other factors, such as being overweight. Each serving provides:

Calories 525 O Protein 33g
Carbohydrate 75g Fiber 1g
Total Fat 7g Saturated Fat 1g
Sodium 364mg

Preparation tip: Prepared mixed seafood, fresh or frozen, is sold in supermarkets and fish shops. The usual mixture is squid rings and shelled clams, mussels and shrimp; "luxury" mixtures may include scallops and baby octopus.

Preparation Time: 50 minutes
Serves: 4

Chicken, Butter Bean, Tarragon & Leek Pie

This variation on the traditional meat pie with a potato, rather than pastry, topping is an ideal dish for a family dinner.

1 tbsp light vegetable oil
2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, each about 5oz (1508), cubed
2 leeks, sliced 3 cups (250g) mushrooms, sliced
2 tbsp flour
2 1/2 cups (600m1) low fat milk
2 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
1/2 cup (60g) sharp cheddar cheese, grated
13oz (400g) canned butter beans, drained and rinsed salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 large (750g) starchy potatoes, cooked and mashed
1 tbsp butter

Preheat the oven to 400 F/200 C. Heat the oil in a heavy-based saucepan. Add the chicken, leeks, and mushrooms, and stir-fry over a medium heat for 4-5 minutes, until the chicken begins to brown.

Stir in the flour and gradually add 2 cups (450ml) of the milk. Gently bring the mixture to a boil, stirring until thickened. Stir in the tarragon, half the cheese, and the butter beans, and season well. Transfer the mixture to an ovenproof dish.

Mix together the mashed potatoes, remaining milk, butter, and remaining cheese. Pipe or spoon the potato over the chicken mixture. Transfer the dish to the preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, until the pie is golden and bubbling.

* Star Ingredient Legumes such as butter beans are good sources of protein. If they are included in main dishes, the amount of meat can be cut down without reducing the protein content. Each Serving provides:

Calories 500 O Protein 42g
Carbohydrate 62g Fiber 9g
Total Fat 11g Saturated Fat 4g
Sodium 648mg

Serving tip:
Serve this pie with a mixture of vegetables. Use either fresh or frozen, since the nutrient values are the same.

Preparation Time: 45-50 minutes
Serves: 4

Cornmeal Braids

2 1/4 cups (375g) cornmeal
4 cups (500g) bread flour
1/4 cup (60g) light brown sugar
2 packages (15g) dried yeast
pinch of salt
4 tbsp (60g) butter, cut into cubes
1 2/3 cups (375ml) warm 1 % or skim milk

Place all but 1 tablespoon of the cornmeal in a large bowl with the flour, sugar, yeast, and salt. Mix together well. Rub in the butter with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the milk and stir the ingredients together to form a soft dough.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes, until smooth.
Divide the dough into 6 pieces and roll each out to a rope about 12in (30cm) long. Lay 3 of the ropes of dough on a lightly floured surface and braid them (see steps 1 and 2, below). Make a second braid with the remaining 3 dough ropes.

Place the loaves on a lightly floured baking sheet, cover with a damp cloth, and leave in a warm place for 1 1/2 hours, until doubled in size. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 450 F/230 C.
Brush each loaf with water, then sprinkle over the reserved cornmeal. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 375 F/190 C and bake for a further 15 minutes. Cool the loaves on a wire rack.

* Star Ingredient: Cornmeal, also called polenta, is gluten-free. When mixed with wheat flour, it makes a coarse-textured bread with a slightly sweet flavor.

Each serving provides:
Calories 322
Protein 9g
Carbohydrate 61g Fiber 2g
Total Fat 6g Saturated Fat 3g
Sodium 57mg

Serving tip:

This cornmeal bread is best served fresh. Eat it the day it is made, or freeze it and use within 3 months.

Preparation Time: 55 minutes, plus 1 1/2 hours rising
Makes: 2 braids; each serves 6

Fruity Tea Bread

Low in fat yet deliciously moist, this tea bread is an ideal family treat. Serve it with tea or coffee, or with a glass of milk as an after-school snack for children.

12 tbsp cold strong tea
1lb (500g) mixed dried fruits, such as raisins, chopped apricots, and golden raisins
2/3 cup (150g) sugar
1 egg, beaten
2 tbsp (30g) unsalted butter, melted
2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Put the tea, fruit, and sugar in a large bowl and mix together well. Cover and set aside overnight for the fruits to soak in the tea.

The next day, lightly grease a 2 lb (1 kg) loaf pan and line it with waxed paper. Preheat the oven to 350 F/180 C.

Add all the remaining ingredients to the bowl of soaked fruit and stir them in well. Spoon the mixture into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 1 1/2 hours, or until a skewer inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Cool the loaf for 10 minutes in the pan, then transfer it to a wire rack to finish cooling.