Meal Ideas

It's one thing to understand what you should be eating and why you should be eating it, but it's another to actually apply that knowledge. Keep reading to get some specific meal ideas and to find out how easy it can be to make healthy eating a part of your everyday life. For recipes, see below.

Breakfast and Snacks
Although it's tempting to skip breakfast, it's actually a good idea to eat at the beginning of your day, even if it's just something small because it will give you energy and kick-start your metabolism. Eating breakfast will also help you from getting overly hungry before or by lunch time, which can lead to unhealthy snacking and bingeing. If you do get hungry for a snack, feel free to have the sorts of foods that you would normally eat for breakfast.

Here are a few quick, easy breakfasts that are a great way to start your day and make perfect snacks (if you have diabetes, discuss with your diabetologist or doctor which of these options would be best for you):

  • Apple slices spread with additive-free peanut butter or topped with high-quality cheese
  • Unsweetened apple sauce topped with chopped nuts and cinnamon
  • A bowl of oatmeal made from steel cut oats or quinoa topped with cinnamon, chopped nuts and chopped fruit
  • Almond flour cakes (see recipe below)
  • A slice of 100% whole grain toast spread with additive-free nut butter, hummus, mashed avocado or tahini
  • Trail mix (see recipe below) or granola by the handful or as cereal (try almond, rice or coconut milk for a change)
  • Additive-free cashew butter spread on celery
  • Cottage cheese topped with chopped fruit and cinnamon
  • A greens smoothie (see recipe below)
  • Cut vegetables dipped in hummus
  • Half an avocado with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice
  • Plain unsweetened, full-fat yogurt (because low-fat yogurt is very processed and you need fat to absorb calcium) or kefir (a fermented dairy product similar to yogurt) topped with chopped nuts, chopped fruit and an optional drizzle of honey, maple syrup or agave nectar.


Lunch and Dinner
Although there might be a bit more involved in putting together a main meal, it still doesn't have to be complicated or time-consuming. The basic "anatomy" of lunch and dinner is really quite straightforward. Some pre-washed spinach, a lightly seasoned piece of fish or a simple rice and bean salad, and a few spoonfuls of frozen peas are all it takes to have a healthy feast ready in minutes.

Let's face it - everyone loves dessert. Fortunately it's possible to indulge in foods that taste sinful, but are actually still good for you. A handful's worth of any of the suggested healthy desserts below will help you discover the joy of eating guilt-free treats, but if you have diabetes, some of these desserts may not be appropriate for you. Always check with your diabetologist or doctor before incorporating any sweets into your diet:

  • Almond flour cakes (see recipe below)
  • A square or two of dark chocolate (with a cocoa content above 80%)
  • Medjool dates
  • A pomegranate
  • Kale chips (usually found in health food stores)
  • Chopped fruit (raw or warmed in a pan) topped with high-quality grated dark chocolate and a drizzle of honey or maple syrup
  • Strawberries dipped in high-quality melted dark chocolate
  • Frozen grapes (a refreshing treat on a hot day)
  • A yogurt sundae (see recipe below)
  • Apple slices dipped in honey
  • Lightly sautéed bananas drizzled in maple syrup
  • Peanut-y chocolate-banana milk shake made from almond milk, 2 tsp cocoa powder, a ripe banana, a drizzle of honey and 1 Tbsp of additive-free peanut butter
  • Organic plain popcorn dressed with a pinch of salt and cayenne pepper, and a few shakes of paprika and real Italian grated parmesan cheese.


And if you eat a treat with absolutely no nutritional value, don't beat yourself up about it. As long as you don't have diabetes, eating small portions of unhealthy desserts every few weeks is no big deal. So, go to that birthday party or office function and enjoy indulging in the most decadent sweets you can find!



Here are a few simple, nutritious, delicious recipes to help start you on your new road to good health. Enjoy!

Trail Mix

Makes 8 to 10 servings

This snack or breakfast takes minutes to toss together and it's easy to take with you if you're in a rush. It's packed with nutrition and fibre to keep you going on your busiest days.

1 cup (250 mL) sliced almonds or chopped cashews
1 cup (250 mL) chopped walnuts
1 cup (250 mL) additive-free whole grain cereal of your choice
½ cup (125 mL) ground flax seeds
½ cup (125 mL) unsalted sunflower or pumpkin seeds
1 cup (250 mL) additive-free dried fruit
1 Tbsp (15 mL) cinnamon (optional)

  1. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl
  2. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use.

If you have diabetes and your daily routine makes it hard for you to eat regularly, try creating an emergency snack kit. Buy a fanny pack that you can attach to your waist or a small lunch bag that you can keep in your office or in your briefcase and fill it with diabetic-friendly snacks, such as an apple and peanut butter, trail mix, a small nut butter sandwich on 100% whole grain bread, or yogurt and chopped fruit.

Greens Smoothie

Serves 1 or 2

Who doesn't like a milkshake? This healthy version of this classic treat will satisfy your body as well as your soul.

1 cup whole milk, unsweetened almond or rice milk
1 cup fresh or frozen chopped fruit
2 tbsp additive-free peanut butter, almond butter or cashew butter
1 handful dark green leafy vegetables, such as spinach or kale
Drizzle of honey (optional)

  1. Put ingredients in a blender.
  2. Blend until smooth.

Yogurt Sundae

Serves 1 or 2

This decadent indulgence makes a wonderful dessert that still has lots of nutritional value. Have some extra fun by letting your guests or family put together their own personalized sundaes.

1 cup (250 mL) full-fat plain yogurt

1 lightly sautéed chopped banana or 1 cup (250 mL) lightly sautéed chopped figs or mango
3 squares of dark chocolate, chopped
A sprinkle of chopped nuts
Honey or maple syrup to taste

  1. Place the yogurt, fruit and chocolate in alternating layers in a bowl or sundae glass.
  2. Top with chopped nuts and honey or maple syrup.

Almond Flour Cakes

Makes 12 mini-cakes

Satisfy your baked good cravings with these cakes, which are rich in both flavour and nutrition. The almond flour can help lower your cholesterol, while the cinnamon helps to stabilize your blood sugar - but you and your guests will only be thinking about how good they taste!

2 cups (500 mL) finely ground almond flour (available from
Up to 1 Tbsp (15 mL) cinnamon
½ tsp (2 mL) baking soda
Pinch salt
1 very ripe mashed banana
2 tsp (10 mL) pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1 cup (250 mL) chopped fresh or frozen fruit or berries (e.g., apple, blueberries, strawberries, banana)
Chopped pecans (optional)

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C) and line a muffin tin with paper baking cups.
  2. Mix the almond flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.
  3. Add the mashed banana, vanilla, and eggs to the flour mixture and whisk together until combined thoroughly and smooth.
  4. Stir in the berries or chopped fruit until they are distributed evenly throughout the batter.
  5. Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin tin and sprinkle the chopped pecans if desired. Bake until a knife comes out clean when inserted, about 18 to 20 minutes.
  6. Let cool.

Baked Rainbow Trout

Serves 3

Rich in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats, this rainbow trout dish is the ultimate in healthy "fast food." It takes minutes to prepare and minutes to bake.

½ lb fillet rainbow trout
2 tsp (10 mL) olive oil
2 tsp (10 mL) dried herbs or 2 Tbsp (30 mL) chopped fresh herbs, such as chives, lemon balm, dill, thyme, tarragon, basil or parsley
A sprinkle or two of salt and pepper
Lemon wedges

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
  2. Place the trout skin-side down in a glass baking dish and place the rest of the ingredients on top of the fish.
  3. Rub the oil, herbs, salt and pepper evenly over both sides of the trout.
  4. Bake the fish for 8 to 15 minutes, until the flesh is opaque and flakes easily when poked by a fork.
  5. Serve with a large green salad, lightly sautéed spinach or grated beets, baked squash and some quinoa. Squeeze the juice from a wedge of lemon over the fish, if desired. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 4 days and them to make a cold fish salad eaten on 100% whole-grain bread or a bed of dark leafy greens.

Baked Chicken

Serves 4

This savoury baked chicken features the anti-inflammatory spice turmeric, but can be made plainer if you're not a fan of its more exotic flavours. A sprinkle of salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil are all you need to make a quick and satisfying baked chicken meal.

1 Tbsp (15 mL) turmeric
1 Tbsp (15 mL) cumin
1 Tbsp (15 mL) paprika
½ tsp (2 mL) ground black pepper
1 tsp (5 mL) salt
2 lbs (1 kg) chicken legs
1 head cauliflower, chopped into florets
2 Tbsp (30 mL) olive or coconut oil

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Mix the turmeric, cumin, paprika, pepper and salt in a bowl and stir until combined thoroughly.
  3. Place the chicken and cauliflower in a large casserole dish and sprinkle them evenly with the spice mix.
  4. Drizzle the olive or coconut oil over the chicken, cauliflower and spices.
  5. Using your hands, rub the spices and oil into the chicken and cauliflower.
  6. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes, until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 180°F. Serve hot and save leftovers for up to 4 days in the refrigerator for making sandwiches, salads and soups.

Gluten-Free Bean Salad

Serves 4

If you'd like to try a vegan meal, a classic rice and bean salad is a good place to start. Here is a basic recipe that you can try when you're feeling adventurous. Serve with a large green salad (see salad dressing recipe below).

3 cups (750 mL) beans, drained and rinsed
2 Tbsp (30 mL) minced onions or scallions
1 garlic clove, pressed
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
¼ cup (60 mL) fresh herbs, such as parsley, cilantro, basil, thyme, oregano or sage
2 Tbsp (30 mL) cold-pressed flax or olive oil
Add 2 cups (500 mL) cooked brown rice or quinoa to make this into a meal (optional)

  1. Put all the ingredients in a bowl and toss until thoroughly mixed.
  2. Adjust seasoning to taste and store in the refrigerator in an airtight container until ready to serve.


Gluten is found in certain grains, such as wheat, rye, spelt, kamut and barley. But if you can't eat gluten, there are lots of gluten-free grains to choose from, such as corn, rice, quinoa, buckwheat, millet and amaranth. Oats are also naturally gluten-free, but tend to be processed on equipment that comes into contact with gluten-containing grains. If you want to eat oats, you must find a manufacturer that mills pure, uncontaminated oats.


Salad Dressing

Many store-bought salad dressings have unhealthy additives, such as MSG, stabilizers and sugar. As you can see from the recipe below, it's actually quite easy (and a lot cheaper) to make your own salad dressing, so give it a try and experiment with different herbs until you find the flavours you like.

1/3 cup (75 mL) cold-pressed flax oil, walnut oil or olive oil (see More Info box to find out more about oils and fats in your kitchen)
2 Tbsp (30 mL) balsamic vinegar, lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
Chopped fresh herbs (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Put all the ingredients into a clean jar, close the lid and shake vigorously until the oil and vinegar have emulsified.
  2. Pour over a dark leafy green salad, but not until you're ready to eat. Dressing the salad in advance will make it mushy and limp. Store in the fridge if you have leftovers and shake before using.