Comfort Food That’s Diabetes-Friendly

Delicious Tips for Keeping Your Blood Sugar Under Control

When the weather cools down, it’s natural to crave warm, hearty dishes. Fortunately, with a few simple recipe changes, your favorite comfort food can also be diabetes-friendly.

“Add fiber-rich carbohydrates, such as the beans and vegetables in this vegetarian chili recipe, to keep you feeling satisfied,” advises Dorothy Palen Szast, RDN, CDCES, Diabetes Education and Prevention Coordinator at Clara Maass Medical Center.

“It’s also a good idea to experiment with flavors and spices, such as the balsamic vinegar and chipotle pepper in this recipe, to keep your food interesting.”

Other simple swaps include switching to low-fat dairy items; choosing lean cuts of meat, such as chicken breast; and, when possible, cooking with liquid fats (avocado and olive oils) instead of solid fats such as butter, lard, or shortening.

“These steps, in addition to keeping up with regular physical activity, will help control your blood sugar during the fall and winter months and holidays,” Szast says.



  • 2 cups diced onion
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 cup diced bell pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 jalapeño peppers (or amount to taste), diced and seeded
  • 2 quarts crushed tomatoes (no salt added)
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 2 cups cooked pinto beans (no salt added; if canned, rinse underwater)
  • 1 tablespoon chipotle pepper (or smoked paprika)
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • Optional garnishes: chopped cilantro, sliced avocado, plain nonfat Greek yogurt


  1. In a stockpot over low heat, cook onion, celery, bell pepper, and garlic in 2 tablespoons of water until onions become translucent, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients. Cover and simmer for 1 to 2 hours, stirring occasionally. If chili becomes too thick, thin with a little water.
  3. Garnish and serve.

Clara Maass Medical Center offers diabetes self-management education classes, both in person and through telehealth, tailored to individual patient needs. Topics include counting carbohydrates, dosing insulin, monitoring blood sugar levels, and much more. A physician's prescription is required. To learn more, visit Diabetes Self-Management Education or call (888) 724-7123.