Healthier You Series: Go Meatless with Delicious Diabetes-Friendly Recipes from Chef Ronaldo Linares

January 20th, 2019

Start smart eating habits on Mondays for a happier and healthier you! Did you know increasing your consumption of plant-based foods and decreasing red meat could help you lower the risk of type 2 diabetes in the long term? Find out more!

Photo credit: Kelly Campbell Photography

This week we catch up with Chef Ronaldo Linares, a leading expert on healthy Latino cooking who is helping his community fight diabetes in a big way, with food. Known for creating modern recipes from ancient flavors, he recently published Chef Ronaldo’s Sabores De Cuba, where you can find close to 100 diabetes-friendly recipes using Latin flavors. The cookbook meets the dietary guidelines of the American Diabetes Association, plus it’s bilingual!

Here’s Chef Ronaldo’s advice for keeping it sabroso y sano (flavorful and healthy):

1) What are some of your most popular tips for making dishes diabetes-friendly?

Mother Earth gives us a lot! We only have to educate ourselves about food to make delicious diabetic-friendly dishes. Here are my suggestions:

• Simplicity is key.

• Stick to three main ingredients.

• Choose ingredients that are high in fiber, low in sugar, and contain healthy fats.

• Mix up the spices to avoid using too much salt, i.e. consider adding fresh herbs to the mix!

2) Why is it important to reduce the amount of meat you eat in your diet?

That’s a great question. By eating less red meat and more plant-based foods, you could lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Reducing your consumption of red meat can also reduce your intake of cholesterol, a change that can help heart health. This means if you are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes or heart disease, by eating more whole grains, vegetables and fruits, and less red meat, you could lower your risk of developing these diseases.

3) What’s your favorite Meatless Monday dish? 

Quinoa Mango Jicama Salad! You get a great balance of protein, fat, and carbs in this tasty recipe. The crunch of the jicama, the nutty flavor from the quinoa, and the fresh herbs all add the perfect touch. This is also a great meal prep salad: Make the salad at home and bring it to work, put the dressing in a separate container, and when you’re ready, mix everything up and enjoy!

For me, it’s about keeping it simple and maximizing the flavors.

4) What’s your favorite plant-based protein and why?

My top choice has to be quinoa! The possibilities are endless. From quick soups and bowls to stir-fries, it’s such a versatile, diabetic-friendly, and plant-based protein. One cup of cooked quinoa has 8 grams of protein and is rich in nutrients, iron, and fiber. You could make a big batch on Sunday and eat it throughout the week.

5) What is the number one piece of advice you give people who are starting a new healthy diet and lifestyle?

Be patient. Eating plant-based foods comes with a whole bag of new benefits like weight loss, physical transformation, and maybe feeling better, too!

Enjoy the journey, TOMA!

Use Mondays to make positive change in your life that will do you a world of good. Meatless Monday is a global movement followed by millions who choose not to eat meat one day a week for their health and the health of the planet.

Help spread the word about the many health benefits of Meatless Monday, such as reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes. Download our fun and shareable free graphic:

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