The Best Cookbooks for Diabetes, According to a Dietitian

"The Easy Diabetes Cookbook" provides easy-to-cook recipes for diabetes-friendly food

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Best Cookbooks for Diabetes

Verywell Fit / Lecia Landis

Evidence shows that diet is crucial to the overall management of diabetes, but a diabetes diagnosis does not mean that you have to be resigned to a life of flavorless, boring food. Cookbooks for diabetes are a great way to maintain a balanced diet while still consuming the foods you love. The best cookbooks for diabetes appeal to your tastebuds and have recipes with clear nutritional values listed, especially carbs per serving.

Reviewed & Approved

Our top pick is "The Easy Diabetes Cookbook" because its recipes are easy to cook and engineered for optimal nourishment. If you're looking for something on the sweeter side, try "The Easy Diabetes Desserts Cookbook."

Also consider your cooking level, budget, and time when shopping for a cookbook. If you live an on-the-go lifestyle, a cookbook with shorter and quick-cooking recipes will be a great option. Checking the credibility of the author is another important factor to consider. To help you find the right diabetes cookbook for your needs, we researched a variety of options with these factors in mind.

Here are the best cookbooks for diabetes, according to a dietitian.

Best Overall

The Easy Diabetes Cookbook: Simple, Delicious Recipes to Help you Balance Your Blood Sugars

Pros
  • All recipes include photos

  • Recipes include nutritional information

  • Includes guide on managing diabetes

Cons
  • Some of the recipes may be high in carbohydrates for certain people

The "Easy Diabetes Cookbook" is our top pick because it provides recipes for unique, delicious meals packed with nutrition. It's written by Mary Ellen Phipps, a Registered Dietitian, and she makes sure that each of the recipes is simple and accessible.

The recipes cover breakfasts to appetizers, dinners and desserts, including 15-minute ideas. It's always nice to get a visual image of the food you are planning to make, and this book doesn't disappoint with 60 images to go along with the 60 recipes!

We love that "The Easy Diabetes Cookbook" also includes a guide that goes over understanding how to manage diabetes through eating certain foods. The guide is informative and so easy to follow that you can use it to create your own recipes to balance your blood sugar.

Price at time of publication: $22 for paperback

Number of Recipes: 60 | Author Credentials: MPH, RDN, LD

Best for Pre-Diabetes

The Everything Easy Pre-Diabetes Cookbook: 200 Healthy Recipes to Help Reverse and Manage Pre-Diabetes

Pros
  • Recipes take 30 minutes or less

  • Includes salt-free spice mix ideas

  • Beneficial to reduce fear around a pre- diabetes diagnosis

Cons
  • Some recipes include refined carbohydrates, which may not be suitable for all

Lauren Harris-Pincus' "The Everything Easy Pre-Diabetes Cookbook" takes away a lot of the confusion that comes with a pre-diabetes diagnosis. She emphasizes proper nutrition and exercise as a way to avoid progressing to Type 2 Diabetes, and provides readers with 200 easy recipes.

The best part of "The Everything Easy Pre-Diabetes Cookbook" is that these recipes take 30 minutes or less to make but still pack a ton of flavor. In addition, Harris-Pincus opens the book with evidence-based research on pre-diabetes, which can help introduce you to some of the terms and recommendations.

Price at time of publication: $19 for paperback

Number of Recipes: 200 | Author Credentials: MS, RDN

Best for Newly Diagnosed

Diabetic Cookbook and Meal Plan for the Newly Diagnosed: A 4-Week Introductory Guide to Manage Type 2 Diabetes

Diabetic Cookbook and Meal Plan for the Newly Diagnosed

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Includes a month-long meal plan

  • Recipes include easy reference labels

Cons
  • Some people have found that following the meal plan can be pricey

Specifically designed for those newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, the "Diabetes Cookbook & Meal Plan for the Newly Diagnosed" lays out an easy-to-follow meal plan to prevent side effects and maintain normal blood sugar levels.

Written by Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator Lori Zanini, each recipe notes the carbohydrates per serving and features quick reference labels for different categories such as no-Cook, 5-Ingredient, gluten-free, vegetarian and 30-Minutes-or-Less. There are 100 recipes to try with shopping lists and nutrition labels. As a bonus, Lauren answers several common questions and gives practical tips for managing diabetes.

Price at time of publication: $18

Number of Recipes: 100+ | Author Credentials: RD, CDE

Best with Short Ingredient List

The 4-Ingredient Diabetes Cookbook

The 4-Ingredient Diabetes Cookbook

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Supported by the American Diabetes Association

  • All meals are quick and easy

Cons
  • Not ideal for those who enjoy more elaborate meals

  • Author is not a Registered Dietitian or Medical Practitioner

Supported by the American Diabetes Association, "The 4 Ingredient Diabetes Cookbook" contains simple recipes that meet the ADA's nutritional standards for diabetes. It's ideal if you want to eat healthy but are short on time or aren't excited about cooking.

Each recipe calls for four ingredients or less, with 175+ recipes! The author, Nancy Hughes, has vast experience in writing cookbooks—she's written over a dozen and contributed to more than 40. So, if you're looking for some easy recipes, this is the book for you.

Price at time of publication: $18

Number of Recipes: 175+ | Author Credentials: Cookbook author and food consultant

Best for Quick Recipes

The 30 Minute Diabetes Cookbook: Eat to Beat Diabetes with 100 Easy Low-carb Recipes

Pros
  • Authors own restaurants and cookery schools

  • All recipes take 30 minutes or less to make

Cons
  • Some recipes photos are not labeled and this can cause confusion

Katie and Giancarlo Caldeis have co-authored several best-selling cookbooks. One of their bestsellers is "The 30 Minute Diabetes Cookbook." Giancarlo truly understands what it's like to cook while managing diabetes, as he himself was diagnosed years ago.

The two authors have a strong background in recipe development, as they own several restaurants and cookery schools in London. The compiled 100 recipes each take 30 minutes or less, and would be enjoyable for even those who do not have diabetes. They include dinners, no-cook meals and even desserts.

Price at time of publication: $25 for hardcover

Number of Recipes: 100 | Author Credentials: Restaurant and cookery school owners

Best for Desserts

The Easy Diabetes Desserts Cookbook: Blood Sugar-Friendly Versions of Your Favorite Treats

Pros
  • Lower sugar variations of favorite desserts

  • Tips on how to make your own ingredient swaps

  • All recipes include photos

Cons
  • A few of the recipes can take an hour or more to make

A diabetes diagnosis doesn't mean desserts are off the table and you can't enjoy any sweets. Instead, try some of the low-sugar dessert recipes from "The Easy Diabetes Desserts Cookbook," including cinnamon rolls, peanut butter chocolate fudge, pies, cookies and more!

Registered Dietitian and author Mary Ellen Phipps focuses on including some sort of fiber and/or protein in each recipe along with plant-based fats to prevent spikes in blood sugar levels. She's also conveniently included labels to meet different dietary restrictions or preferences, such as gluten-free, quick, dairy-free, high fiber and more.

Phipps also includes several tips on how to swap out different sugars, flours and fats while maintaining certain qualities in recipes. With this book in your hands, you won't feel deprived of your favorite treats

Price at time of publication: $23

Number of Recipes: 60 | Author Credentials: MPH, RDN, LD

Best for Gestational Diabetes

The Gestational Diabetes Cookbook & Meal Plan: A Balanced Eating Guide for You and Your Baby

The Gestational Diabetes Cookbook & Meal Plan

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Ideas for when you don't feel like cooking

  • Handy charts with guidelines and food references

  • Includes a 4-week meal plan

Cons
  • A focus on "American classic foods" may not be suitable for all

Pregnancy in and of itself can be a stressful period in a woman's life; add a gestational diabetes diagnosis to the mix, and eating well can seem even more challenging. "The Gestational Diabetes Cookbook & Meal Plan" offers readers a four-week meal plan with tasty recipes like Italian zucchini boats and a maple sausage frittata.

This book is written by registered dietitian Joanna Foley and Traci Houston, a trained chef who has herself experienced gestational diabetes. In addition to tasty recipes, they provide a guide on reading a nutrition label and a glycemic load list to help navigate different foods and meals.

Price at time of publication: $18 for paperback

Number of Recipes: 90 | Author Credentials: coauthors: culinary expert and RD

Best for Kids

Super Foods for Super Kids Cookbook: 50 Delicious (and Secretly Healthy) Recipes Kids Will Love to Make

Super Foods for Super Kids Cookbook: 50 Delicious (and Secretly Healthy) Recipes Kids Will Love to Make

Amazon

Pros
  • Many of the steps can be completed by kids

  • Introduces kids to a variety of foods

  • Provides educational information on nutrients in foods

Cons
  • Not specifically written for kids with diabetes

Getting kids into the kitchen is an excellent way to prevent or manage picky eating and get your child excited about nutritious foods. Although "Super Foods for Super Kids" is not specifically focused on children with diabetes, the recipes within its pages are nutrient-dense, and the nutrition information provided helps parents design balanced meals suitable for kids with diabetes.

Designed for children ages 8 to 12, many of the steps can be completed by kids; however, recipes are labeled if a knife, stove, or oven is needed. Registered Dietitian and author Noelle Martin introduces superfoods like avocados, lentils, and walnuts to get kids eating a variety of foods.

Price at time of publication: $15

Number of Recipes: 50 | Author Credentials: coauthors: MScFN RD

Best for Plant-Based

Healthy at Last: A Plant-Based Approach to Preventing and Reversing Diabetes and Other Chronic Illnesses

Pros
  • Recipes by celebrities and health experts

  • Healthy food modifications still honor cultural food staples

Cons
  • Author is not a Registered Dietitian or Medical Practitioner

New York mayor Eric Adams is fighting to tackle chronic disease in the African American community. In "Healthy At Last," he shares his own story as well as the history and background on how cardiovascular disease impacts Black Americans. In this book, Adams shares 50+ plant-based (vegan) recipes as well as important points on living a healthy and active lifestyle.

The recipes come from celebrities and health experts who hope to help people reverse diabetes and other illnesses. These recipes are both plant-based and delicious. Whether you're entirely vegan or you're looking to try something new, this is the book to guide you. You'll also get shopping lists and meal-plans to help along the way.

Price at time of publication: $25

Number of Recipes: 50+ | Author Credentials: Mayor of New York

How We Selected

We reviewed several cookbooks available at top online retailers and consulted with trusted peers in dietetics, including our team of Registered Dietitians.

We considered availability, price, level of difficulty, range and type of recipes, equipment needed, added features and customer reviews. We also considered the credibility of the cookbook authors, highlighting trained professionals.

What to Look for in a Cookbook for Diabetes

Nutrition Facts Information

Cookbooks that provide the nutrition information for each recipe make menu planning super easy by taking the guesswork out. Readers should scan the nutritional information and pay attention to serving size when determining how carbohydrate-dense a meal will be.

We also find it helpful to look for books that highlight certain nutrition labels, such as sugar-free, gluten-free, plant-based, dairy-free, etc.

Carbohydrate Exchange Information

Designed by a committee of the American Diabetes Association and the American Dietetic Association, the Diabetic Exchange List is a helpful tool for carbohydrate counting and meal planning. Diabetes cookbooks that include this in this recipes make it easier on the reader.

Recipe Preferences

Always take a look at the recipe list to ensure that the recipes included in the book appeal to your tastebuds. Some books are more geared towards American classics, while others have a wider variety of options. This is entirely up to you and your preferences.

There are also cookbooks on the market that provide recipes specifically for different kitchen gadgets such as an air fryer or slow cooker. Many may find this convenient!

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Which foods are best for a person with diabetes?

    Like so many others, you may worry that you need to give up all your favorite foods with diabetes. But you can still eat what you like, just in moderation.

    The best foods to eat with diabetes are a mix of healthy, nutrient-dense foods from all the food groups, including fruits, vegetables, grains, proteins, and dairy.

    It’s also best to include heart-healthy fats such as olive oil, nuts and seeds, and avocados. Including these types of fat, along with a healthy balanced diet, may improve heart health and lower your risk of developing heart disease as well. 

    When creating meals and snacks, it’s best to follow the meal plan that helps you maintain blood sugar control. A registered dietitian or health care provider can help you design a plan that works best for you.

  • What is a typical menu for a person with diabetes?

    There’s no single diet or meal plan for people with diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association. A typical menu for a person with diabetes should include a mix of proteins, fats and carbohydrates in the appropriate portions. These portions can be discussed with a registered dietitian or healthcare provider.

    For some reference, there are many healthy eating patterns you can follow to help you manage your diabetes, including the Mediterranean diet, the DASH diet, or the low-carb diet. When it comes to menu planning for your diabetes, you need to take time to plan your meals, shop, and prepare your food. Eating balanced meals, whether you have diabetes or not, requires your active involvement.

  • How do I make sure a recipe meets my nutritional goals?

    Many health-focused cookbooks and recipes provide nutrition information, including serving size, calories, carbohydrates, fat, and protein content. Using this information can help you decide if the recipe meets your nutritional goals. If you have a recipe without nutrition information, take a look at the ingredients to see if it includes items you typically eat.

    In general, a healthy diet for diabetes is one filled with nutrient-dense foods. However, all foods fit as long as you're mindful of your portions.

    Even if it’s your famous family recipe for chocolate chip cookies, you can include these treats in your diet as long as you limit your treat to a reasonable serving size.

Why Trust Verywell Fit?

As a registered dietitian, Sydney Greene puts the same care and thoroughness when researching these products as she would for herself or her clients. An avid home cook herself, she focuses her attention on assessing the feasibility of recipes and the variety of options available.  

4 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Asif M. The prevention and control the type-2 diabetes by changing lifestyle and dietary patternJ Edu Health Promot. 2014;3(1):1. doi:10.4103/2277-9531.127541

  2. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Diabetes, diet, eating, & physical activity.

  3. American Diabetes Association. Diabetes meal plans made easy.

  4. Ueleman S. Ask the Expert: What is the ADA Diet?. American Diabetes Association Diabetes Food Hub.