NORTHWOODS COOKS: Diabetes-friendly and heart-healthy lunches

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Black beans corn avocado cucumber tomato salad with lime dressin
Black bean salad featured on is a diabetes-friendly lunch packed with protein and healthy vegetables.
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The website has 16 diabetes-friendly lunch ideas. These recipes follow the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet that promotes a healthy heart. They also feature complex carbs like whole grains and legumes, pack on potassium, have low amounts of saturated fat and are sodium-conscious, which help promote a diabetes-friendly eating pattern.

Black Bean Salad

1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion

1 medium ripe avocado, pitted and roughly chopped

1/4 cup cilantro leaves


1/4 cup lime juice

2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 tsp. salt

8 cups mixed salad greens

2 medium ears corn, kernels removed, or 2 cups frozen corn, thawed and patted dry

1 pint grape tomatoes, halved

15-oz. can black beans, rinsed


Place onion in a medium bowl and cover with cold water. Set aside. Combine avocado, cilantro, lime juice, oil, garlic and salt in a mini food processor. Process, scraping down the sides as needed, until smooth and creamy.

Just before serving, combine salad greens, corn, tomatoes and beans in a large bowl. Drain the onions and add to the bowl, along with the avocado dressing. Toss to coat.

Sweet Potato, Kale and Chicken Salad

1 lb. sweet potatoes (about 2 medium), scrubbed and cut into 1-inch cubes

1-1/2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 tsp. kosher salt

1/8 tsp. ground pepper

6 cups chopped curly kale


2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast (see Tip)

1/4 cup chopped unsalted peanuts

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Lightly coat with cooking spray and set aside. Toss sweet potatoes with oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl.

Arrange the sweet potatoes in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Roast, turning once, until tender and lightly browned and crispy on the outside, about 20 minutes. Set aside to cool before assembling bowls.

Divide kale among 4 single-serving containers (about 1-1/2 cups each). Top each with one-fourth of the roasted sweet potatoes and 1/2 cup chicken. Seal the containers and refrigerate for up to 4 days.

Just before serving, drizzle each salad with 1 portion of peanut dressing from the recipe below and toss well to coat. Top with 1 tablespoon chopped peanuts.

Peanut Dressing:

1/2 cup smooth unsweetened natural peanut butter


1/4 cup reduced-sodium tamari or soy sauce

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

2 Tbsp. water

1 Tbsp. honey

1 tsp. minced garlic

Whisk peanut butter, tamari (or soy sauce), lime juice, water, honey and garlic in a jar.

Refrigerate for up to 4 days.

Veggie and Hummus Sandwich


2 slices whole-grain bread

3 Tbsp. hummus

1/4 avocado, mashed

1/2 cup mixed salad greens

1/4 medium red bell pepper, sliced

1/4 cup sliced cucumber

1/4 cup shredded carrot

Spread one slice of bread with hummus and the other with avocado. Fill the sandwich with greens, bell pepper, cucumber and carrot. Slice in half and serve.


Lorie Skarpness has lived in the Park Rapids area since 1997 and has been writing for the Park Rapids Enterprise since 2017. She enjoys writing features about the people and wildlife who call the north woods home.
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