78 Recipes unlikely to spike blood sugar

Eating for optimal metabolic health doesn't have to be limiting. Here are dozens of our favorite recipes with whole, healthy ingredients.

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When you want to eat to support metabolic health, stocking your kitchen with the 110 foods that are unlikely to spike blood sugar is a good place to start. But meal planning and preparation bring up a host of other questions. Like what do you do with leeks? How do you make beans that taste good? And what’s the best way to add a touch of sweetness without sugar?

It never hurts to have a roster of expert-reviewed recipes bookmarked for times you’re stumped about what to cook. We’ve rounded up 78 ideas for every meal of the day—from breakfast to dinner and all of your snacking needs in between—that rely on a mix of low-glycemic index vegetables and fruits, lean protein from plant and animal sources, nuts and seeds rich in healthy fats, micronutrients and antioxidants, and other foods that support metabolic health. Each dish is satisfying, nutritious, and unlikely to cause a blood sugar spike.

Main Dishes  |  Breakfasts  |  Salads  |  Sandwich Alternatives  |  Soups  |  Sides  |  Snacks


Image courtesy FitFoodieFinds

Main Dishes

These recipes offer a range of diverse flavors and they would make excellent standalone meals or main courses. Many are high in protein and they all steer clear of glucose-spiking ingredients like pasta, rice, potatoes, and grains.

  1. Greek Herb Roasted Chicken Thighs from Cotter Crunch
    This one-pan chicken dinner is unlikely to spike blood sugar, but it will bring big flavor to your weeknights, thanks to a mingling of lemon, rosemary, oregano, garlic, and balsamic vinegar.
  2. Salmon Avocado Boats from Fit Foodie Finds
    These salmon bowls don’t require any cooking. The recipe calls for canned salmon, but you can also use fresh or frozen if you prefer (but you will need to cook these alternatives). 
  3. Grilled Salmon with Avocado Salsa from Gimme Delicious
    This salmon can be grilled, pan-seared, or baked. The avocado and tomato salsa adds healthy fats, antioxidants, and bright flavor.
  4. Butter Chicken from Mad About Food
    This version of the popular Indian recipe uses coconut milk, and the blend of spices—turmeric, ginger, chili powder, and cinnamon—are beneficial for metabolic health.
  5. Turkey-Stuffed Delicata Squash from Kelly Leveque
    Ground turkey pairs with autumnal vegetables and spices to create a Thanksgiving-worthy dish that also happens to be ideal for busy weeknights. 
  6. Tortang Talong from Live Eat Learn
    This Filipino eggplant preparation is satisfying on its own or served with a side of cauliflower rice and a grilled protein like chicken or a fish. 
  7. Shirataki Noodle Chicken Stir-Fry from Low Carb Africa
    Shirataki noodles are typically made from konjac root and water, have no carbs and only 10 calories, and can be found at many grocery stores, including Walmart.
  8. Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Peppers from Nyssa’s Kitchen
    This recipe is all about the buffalo sauce, and fortunately it’s now easy to find options with clean ingredients. Primal Kitchen’s buffalo sauce is one that our team swears by.
  9. Mediterranean-Style Fish in Parchment from Marisa Moore
    Wrap fish in parchment paper with aromatics, tomatoes, and olives then pop it in the oven where the flavors meld together. Clean-up is easy because there’s no mess on the pan.
  10. Fish Tacos with Watermelon Salsa from Dr. Hyman
    Watermelon might spike blood sugar when eaten in excess or paired with other foods high in carbs or sugar, but the high protein in this meal can help blunt its impact.

Image courtesy WholesomeYum

Breakfasts

These breakfasts are unlikely to spike blood sugar thanks to high-protein, high-fiber, low-carb ingredients. Since convenience is key in the morning, many of these recipes can be prepped ahead, frozen for later, or put together at a moment’s notice.

  1. Green Ginger Fab 4 Smoothie from Kelly Leveque
    Protein powder delivers 20 to 30 grams of filling protein, but be sure to pick a sugar-free variety. Kelly Leveque’s Be Well protein powder contains no added sugar, gluten, or dairy, and 23 grams of protein per 24-gram serving. 
  2. Instant Pot Tofu Scramble from Blissful Basil
    This plant-based alternative to scrambled eggs uses nutritional yeast and smoked paprika to add an eggy color and flavor. Cooking in an Instant Pot makes prep simple.
  3. Cloud Eggs from Wholesome Yum
    With just three ingredients—eggs, salt, and pepper—these cloud eggs are a breeze to make. Pair them with a veggie-rich smoothie to add more nutrients to your meal. 
  4. Spinach Egg Bake from Healthy Seasonal Recipes Eat this dish fresh out of the oven or freeze for future use. When freezing, pack in an airtight container to prevent freezer burn. Reheat in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes when you’re ready to eat.
  5. Egg Muffins from A Couple Cooks
    Prep these ahead and take them as a grab-and-go breakfast through the week. Cottage cheese adds protein, though you can also use a plant-based alternative if you’re avoiding dairy. 
  6. Grain-Free Overnight Oats from Eating Bird Food 
    Traditional oatmeal is one of the worst foods for blood sugar. This recipe uses a mix of hemp hearts and chia seeds to create a tasty substitute less likely to spike glucose levels. 
  7. Avocado Baked Eggs from Fit Foodie Finds
    If you find yourself with a craving for an egg in a basket, the iconic egg-fried-in-bread dish, this recipe will help you scratch that itch without the refined carbs. 
  8. Oatless Oatmeal from Food Faith Fitness
    Here’s another oat-free oatmeal, featuring a mix of almond flour, coconut flakes, flax meal, and chia seeds that produces a texture and taste almost identical to the real thing.
  9. Spinach-Artichoke Breakfast Casserole from DownShiftology
    When you have time for a sit-down breakfast, turn to this crowd-pleasing casserole that’s brimming with protein, thanks to ground turkey and eggs. Artichoke hearts and baby spinach add fiber and iron. 
  10. Turkey Breakfast Patties from Being Brigid
    These ground turkey breakfast patties taste like traditional breakfast sausage thanks to fennel, sage, and thyme. Wrap in lettuce for a quick, grab-and-go breakfast.

Image courtesy Inspired Taste

Salads

Surprisingly, many salad recipes are packed with ingredients that are likely to spike blood sugar, like dried fruits, grains, sweet potatoes, and dressings sweetened with honey or maple syrup. The recipes in this list don’t skimp on flavor but make sure to avoid ingredients that could cause a large rise.

  1. Greek Salad from Inspired Taste
    Packed with water-dense vegetables like cucumbers and tomatoes, this salad will nourish and hydrate you at the same time. Olives and feta cheese deliver satisfying fat and protein. 
  2. Green Goddess Salad from Wholesome Yum
    Save the leftover dressing from this recipe for all your salad needs during the week. You can even use it as a flavorful dip for a quick raw veggie snack. 
  3. Roasted Cauliflower, Chickpea, and Arugula Salad from Gimme Some Oven
    Chickpeas may spike blood sugar for some, and they are often paired with other starchy or sugary ingredients. But if they don’t raise your blood sugar, this salad matches them with low-glycemic index ingredients like cauliflower and avocado. 
  4. Cauliflower Tabbouleh Salad from Every Last Bite
    This spin on tabbouleh substitutes the traditionally used bulgar wheat for riced cauliflower, an ingredient with a lower glycemic index. 
  5. Mediterranean Black Lentil Salad from Healthy Seasonal Recipes
    This recipe is packed with protein and fiber from black lentils, healthy fat from feta and a link to a luxurious homemade vinaigrette. 
  6. Healthy Egg Salad from Real Simple Good
    Unlike a lot of egg salad recipes, this one uses coconut yogurt rather than mayo to bind all the ingredients, though you can use any plain, unsweetened dairy-free yogurt that you prefer. 
  7. Classic Three Bean Salad from Budget Bytes
    Packed with fiber, protein, and healthy fats, beans deliver a trifecta of macronutrients. This recipe uses apple cider vinegar to add a bit of sweetness without any sugar. 
  8. Green Bean Salad with Toasted Almonds and Feta from Cookie and Kate
    Trimming the tips off green beans is a labor of love. Skip the step without sacrificing flavor by using pre-trimmed, packaged, fresh green beans.
  9. Greek Kale Salad with Lemon Olive Oil Dressing from Gimme Delicious
    This recipe has all the same flavors as a traditional Greek salad, plus the nutrients and satisfying fiber from kale.
  10.  Kachumbari from Healthier Steps
    This salad of chopped tomato, onion, and cucumber is popular in Africa. Plus, odds are you already have everything you need in your pantry to make it.
  11. Avocado Tofu Salad from Healthier Steps
    Avocado and tofu may seem like an unusual match, but this protein- and healthy-fat-rich salad proves that they belong together.

Image courtesy CastIronKeto

Sandwich Alternatives

It is possible to make a meal that has the same flavors and mouthfeel as your favorite sandwich in a blood sugar-friendly way. From protein lettuce wraps to homemade, grain-free breads, keep reading to find some of the best ways to satisfy your sandwich cravings.

  1. Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps from Joyful Healthy Eats
    Make sure to use a hot sauce that doesn’t have any added sugar or ingredients that could potentially spike blood sugar. Our experts recommend the buffalo option from Primal Kitchen. 
  2. No-Bread Turkey Club from Mad About Food
    This turkey club knows that the best part of the sandwich isn’t the bread—it’s the many tasty fillings. Wrap unprocessed, roasted turkey meat, tomato, bacon, and avocado in lettuce.
  3. Bunless Burger from Nyssa’s Kitchen
    Burgers are another sandwich that’s really all about the meat inside. Lose the bun but keep things interesting with toppings like bacon, avocado, and a sunny-side-up egg.
  4. Flaxseed Wraps from Sugarfree Londoner
    These flaxseed flatbreads are rich in protein, fiber, and healthy fats, and an excellent base for all sorts of quick wrap recipes. 
  5. Keto Chicken Sandwich from Keto Summit
    This recipe uses a mix of almond flour, egg, and various seasonings to create a grain-free bread that is unlikely to spike blood sugar when paired with high-protein and high-fiber fillings as it is here. 
  6. Low-Carb Chicken and Avocado Quesadilla from Mama Bear’s Cookbook
    Use a store-bought tortilla made from almond flour, or another low-carb alternative, to make this quick quesadilla.
  7. Bell Pepper Sandwich from Real Balanced
    Instead of bread, this recipe uses two halves of a bell pepper to sandwich all the fillings together. Make sure to use organic bacon and unprocessed, roasted deli turkey to avoid blood sugar spikes. 
  8. Cucumber and Turkey Sandwiches from Savvy Honey
    Sandwich turkey and cream cheese between cucumber slices for a sandwich snack unlikely to spike blood sugar. 
  9. Banh Mi Bowls from Cast Iron Keto
    Even though this recipe technically isn’t in sandwich form, it contains all the same delicious fillings of a decked out banh mi. 
  10. Spinach and Herb Sandwich Wraps from My Happy Simple Living
    These homemade wraps use a mix of tapioca and coconut flour to achieve a similar texture to flour-based wraps without the refined carbs. Add-ins include spinach, chives, garlic, and fresh herbs. 

Image courtesy Love and Lemons

Soups

Soups are one of the few comfort foods that are usually packed with nutritious ingredients, and these recipes are no exception. These also steer clear of starchy vegetables and noodles to minimize the likelihood of glucose spikes.

  1. Caramelized Onion and Red Lentil Soup from Clean Food Dirty City
    Caramelized onions add a touch of sweetness to this fiber- and protein-rich stew without any added sugar. 
  2. White Bean Soup from Love and Lemons
    White beans have a creamy texture that’s not unlike dairy when slowly cooked like they are in this soup. Spices like cumin, oregano, coriander, and chiles ensure a flavorful end result. 
  3. Roasted Carrot Soup from Cookie and Kate
    Though carrots can cause blood sugar to spike when paired with other starchy ingredients, this soup pairs the vegetable with only low-glycemic index foods—namely, spices and aromatics like cumin and garlic.
  4. Keto Chicken Soup from Healthy Seasonal Recipes
    Fans of chicken and rice soup will appreciate this recipe, which uses riced cauliflower to achieve a similar flavor and texture. 
  5. Vegetarian Minestrone from Budget Bytes
    Though minestrone usually contains a type of cured pork product like bacon or pancetta, this recipe uses a mix of legumes to provide protein without any meat. 
  6. Green Chicken Chili Soup from The Modern Proper
    This recipe has all the same heat and flavors of a white chili but with a lighter consistency. Double the batch and freeze half of the recipe for later—all it takes is a few minutes over heat and it will be good as fresh.
  7. Lentil Soup with Lemon and Turmeric from Inspired Taste
    Though lentils can cause glucose spikes in some people, if they work for you, this soup pairs them with other, fibrous, low-glycemic index ingredients, like kale.
  8. Split Pea Soup from Eating Bird Food
    This vibrant green soup is best when paired alongside a lean protein source like grilled chicken or fish. 
  9. Crock-Pot Black Bean Soup from Fit Foodie Finds
    The secret to the zesty flavor of this recipe is the addition of store-bought, jarred salsa. Make sure to choose a brand that doesn’t use added sugar or preservatives. 
  10. Chicken No-Noodle Soup from Food Faith Fitness
    This recipe uses zucchini noodles to recreate chicken noodle soup without any refined grains. Make the zoodles yourself with a spiralizer, or use a pre-made, store-bought version. 
  11. Thai Coconut Chicken Soup from Sara Gottfried, MD
    Make sure to select an unsweetened coconut milk option for this fragrant, lemongrass-scented recipe.

Image courtesy Cotter Crunch

Sides

Round out a meal with one of these vegetable-based side dishes in place of starchy potatoes and carb-heavy rice and grains.

  1. Smashed Brussels Sprouts from Wholesome Yum
    Cruciferous vegetables such as brussels sprouts are rich in fiber and eating them may help decrease risk of Type 2 diabetes. Enjoy this savory version flavored with garlic powder, parmesan cheese, olive oil, and cayenne pepper.
  2. Vegan Black-Eyed Peas from The Wanderlust Kitchen
    These black-eyed peas may take all day to make, but they’re easy to freeze. Prepare a big batch and enjoy them with little effort for months at a time.
  3. Green Beans Almondine from Love and Lemons
    This simple green bean salad gets a nutritional boost of protein and healthy fats from sliced almonds and a bunch of flavor from simple ingredients like garlic, black pepper, and lemon juice. 
  4. Roasted Cauliflower from Cookie and Kate
    Cauliflower is a filling alternative to starchy potato-based sides. It’s a good idea to have a basic cauliflower recipe in your back pocket to help you make use of this versatile veggie more often. 
  5. Marinated Grilled Vegetables from Real Simple Good
    This easy recipe for marinated and grilled vegetables is a staple for grilling season. Serve alongside grilled chicken, steak, or tofu.
  6. Spiralized Vegetable Stir-Fry from Cotter Crunch
    Be sure to skip the optional agave nectar in this recipe. Use pre-cut, store-bought spiralized vegetables to save on prep time. 
  7. Boiled Cabbage from A Couple Cooks
    This kind of dish makes an excellent side to poultry-based mains, like grilled chicken or ground turkey meatballs, and the whole thing can be made in just one pot. 
  8. Curry Roasted Carrot Pancakes 
    This recipe calls for ghee or clarified butter, but you can substitute a plant-based oil alternative like coconut oil or avocado oil if you prefer. 
  9. 90-Second Keto Bread from Low-Carb Africa
    Every saucy dish needs a starchy side for sopping up all that gravy. This keto bread recipe is unlikely to spike blood sugar because it uses a mix of almond and coconut flours. Just to be safe, pair it with a main dish that’s rich in protein and fiber.  
  10. Blistered Shishito Peppers from Nyssa’s Kitchen
    Aside from salt and pepper, you need just two ingredients to make this snackable side: avocado oil and a bag of shishito peppers. 
  11. Cauliflower Fritters from Being Brigid
    Though traditional fritters use flour to bind the ingredients together, this one opts for a mix of avocado and egg to create an equally tasty side dish. 
  12. Slow-Roasted Leeks from The Fitchen
    Because the process of slow-roasting leeks is a lengthy one, it’s a good idea to make a bunch of these in advance, freeze them for later, and reheat in the oven when ready to eat. 
  13. Spanish Cauliflower Rice from Food by Mars
    Rice-based side dishes are a mainstay in so many cultures around the world. Cauliflower is a suitable alternative for the grain in even Spanish, paella-inspired recipes. 
  14. Garlic-Roasted Radishes from The Real Food Dietitians
    If you’re not a fan of raw radishes, try them again after they’ve been cooked. That spicy, peppery kick softens into a buttery glow when the vegetable is baked at a high temperature. 

Image courtesy A Couple Cooks

Snacks

Packaged snacks are usually highly processed and full of refined grains and added sugars. Make your own healthy snacks like dip, kale chips, and low-carb almond flour crackers as a more nutritious alternative.

  1. Almond Pesto Dip from Eating Bird Food
    Levels data shows hummus is a surprising cause of blood sugar spikes in some people. If that’s true for you, this almond-based dip could be a good alternative with a similar texture. 
  2. Tapenade from Spend with Pennies
    Store-bought tapenade can contain added sugar, but you won’t have to worry about that if you make it yourself.
  3. Lacinato Kale Chips from Healthy Seasonal Recipes
    Swap packaged chips for crispy kale and you’ll be much less likely to experience a glucose spike. Keep it simple with salt and olive oil like this one, or add spices for more flavor. 
  4. Smoked Salmon Cucumber Bites from A Couple Cooks
    Instead of using glucose-spiking crackers or toast, top cucumber with smoked salmon, cream cheese, and herbs for a delicious appetizer or snack.
  5. Deviled Eggs with Greek Yogurt from Food Faith Fitness
    This version of deviled eggs uses greek yogurt instead of mayonnaise to add more protein to what is already a nutritious snack choice.
  6. Brussels Sprouts Chips from Nom Nom Paleo
    Brussels sprouts and kale are in the same plant family so it makes sense that both vegetables would be great candidates for turning into chips.
  7. Low-Carb Almond Flour Crackers from Primavera Kitchen
    Eaten on their own, these crackers may have a chance of causing a blood sugar spike. Pairing it with a protein and fiber rich dip will make this outcome unlikely. 
  8. Curry Lime Roasted Cashews from The Fitchen
    Cashews are another ingredient that contains a lot of protein, fiber, and healthy fats. They’re great on their own or with a bit of seasoning like in this zesty recipe. 
  9. Zucchini Chips from Healthy Recipes Blogs
    These zucchini chips taste great with or without the cheese, so feel free to skip the armesan if you’re trying to avoid dairy.  
  10. Dairy-Free Spinach and Artichoke Dip from DownShiftology
    Spinach and artichoke dip is a classic. This version keeps things vegan and blood sugar-friendly by using soaked and blended cashews and an avocado oil mayonnaise.
  11. Roasted Chestnuts from Nom Nom Paleo
    Though we may associate chestnuts with the holiday season, they’re a worthy snack any time of the year. And they’re the only ingredient you need to make this recipe. 
  12. Coconut Almond Butter Energy Balls from The Honour System
    A lot of energy ball recipes use sugar to bind all the ingredients, but this recipe uses coconut and almond butter to ensure the balls are sticky and gooey rather than falling apart.