Small changes can make a big difference to the nutritional value of your meals. Diabetes UK share their top healthy cooking tips to help you to make healthier choices and reduce the fat in your favourite dishes.


1. Adapt recipes to be healthier

  • Use less salt in cooking – replace salt with spices, herbs and black pepper
  • Trim any excess fat from meat. Use pulses to replace some red meat in dishes
  • Use low-fat or tomato based sauces for curries and pasta dishes. Or why not try reduced fat crème fraîche or natural lower-fat yogurt?
  • Choose lower-fat cheese, cream or milk in recipes
  • Try using dried fruit, a fruit purée or sweet-tasting vegetables like carrots to sweeten cakes naturally or reduce sugar in baking
  • Use healthier fats. The best are unsaturated varieties like cold-pressed olive, rapeseed or sunflower oil

Watch Diabetes UK's video tips for adapting recipes

A selection of vegetables next to a notepad

2. Plan ahead

  • Prepare a weekly shopping list for the whole week
  • Think about the meals you're going to eat on each night
  • Pasta and curry sauces are good to make ahead of time. Portion them out and freeze
  • Make food in bulk and freeze single portions

Watch Diabetes UK's video tips for planning ahead

3. Pack a healthy lunch

  • Grate a full-flavoured cheese instead of slicing for sandwiches – a little will go a long way
  • Use granary or wholegrain bread instead of white
  • Use lower-fat mayo or even a lower-fat, low-sugar yogurt with tuna or egg fillings
  • Bulk up sandwiches with healthy salad
  • Leftover rice and pasta make great salad bases
  • Include vegetables and fruit as snacks
  • Try homemade popcorn with some seasonings instead of crisps and place in a sealable sandwich bag

Watch Diabetes UK's video tips for healthy lunchbox ideas

This article was last reviewed on 8 July 2019 by Kerry Torrens. It was originally written by Diabetes UK. For more information about Diabetes UK, visit their website or try their recipes.

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A qualified nutritionist (MBANT), Kerry Torrens is a contributing author to a number of nutritional and cookery publications including BBC Good Food magazine. Kerry is a member of the The Royal Society of Medicine, Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC), British Association for Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy (BANT).

All health content on is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other healthcare professional. If you have any concerns about your general health, you should contact your local healthcare provider. See our website terms and conditions for more information.


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