Diabetes won’t stop me…from throwing a healthy dinner party

Having a friend or family member living with diabetes may cause you to stop and think when it comes to planning a meal. Millie Padula shares her tips for a diabetes-friendly dinner party.


Special occasions are often stressful for the host – no matter who’s invited! If you have someone coming to dinner who has diabetes, here are a few pointers to keep in mind:

  • Smaller, more frequent meals can be better than one large meal. A good way to do this would be to try a trendy, tapas-style meal instead
  • Bread, pasta, rice, potato and other grains are all great choices to include within your dinner party dishes, especially baby potatoes with their skins on and wholegrain or wholemeal versions of bread
  • Plenty of colourful veggies make for an appealing dish, so think yummy tomato-based pasta dishes, vegetable and meat kebabs, aromatic vegetable curries and fragrant stir-fries with crunchy vegetables
  • Adding legumes such as peas, beans, lentils, chickpeas to meals can not only increase the all-round tastiness of the meal, but can also lower the speed that sugars are released, so it is better for everyone!
  • Aim to keep alcohol within a 1-2 standard drinks per person
  • Have plenty of water available – maybe jazz it up by adding fresh produce into the jugs (mint, lemon/lime etc.) or lower energy drinks like diet soft drinks
  • Fruit juice can be a handy standby in case someone’s blood glucose goes a bit low and needs a quick top-up of sugar

 Ideas for themed healthy dinner parties:

  • Italian/Mediterranean – Mini pizzas, mini pasta bowls with garlic sourdough and salad, healthy bruschetta
  • Mexican Tapas-Style – Tacos, quesadillas and healthy nachos with guacamole and low-fat cheese
  • Grill/BBQ Night – Lamb chops, rosemary and garlic chicken breasts, beef kebabs with capsicum and onion
  • Greek Theme – Souvlakis, Greek salad, lamb kebabs
  • Healthy Pizza Night – Sweet potato and spinach, prosciutto and rocket, pear and walnut

What could an Italian menu look like?


Tomato bruschetta on a wholewheat baguette with kalamata olives, red onions, parsley, basil, fresh lemon juice and pepper.


Farfalle pasta with zucchini and basil-almond pesto with a side salad of mixed peppers, wedged tomatoes and cos lettuce with a light vinaigrette.


Vanilla, passionfruit and cinnamon panna cotta using skim milk and low-fat yoghurt. Fresh berries could be served on the side to add colour.


You might prefer a more relaxed tapas selection that your guests can help themselves to as they chat. Some ideas may include:

  • Spinach arancini balls served with a homemade tomato chutney
  • Tomato, cheese and olive pizzas on a mini pita flatbread
  • Slow cooked meatballs with a roasted red pepper sauce
  • Cheese board and antipasto platter with a selection of olives, cheeses, healthy dips and crostini
  • Mushrooms stuffed with Parmesan and capsicum
  • Mixed vegetable minestrone with small pasta shapes or risoni

Basically, a healthy dinner party is good for everyone. Diabetes definitely won’t stop you from having a good time, so your only real concern should be who is going to clean the dishes afterwards!

Millie Padula

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