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Your Diabetic-Friendly Meal Plan for December

You can take dinner planning off your busy to-do list this December.

1 / 31
Winter Vegetable Shepherd S Pie Exps Hck18 197397 B03 07 7b 8

Day 1: Winter Vegetable Shepherd’s Pie

We seem to eat for comfort during the holidays…but comfort foods aren’t necessarily healthy. To make a classic comfort food dish more healthy, I came up with this lovely take: turkey shepherd’s pie. It’s perfect for putting out on your holiday buffet table. —Ann Sheehy, Lawrence, Massachusetts
2 / 31
Greens And Beans Turkey Soup Exps Tcbbz18 36465 C05 04 3b 7

Day 2: Greens and Beans Turkey Soup

On winter evenings, we like nothing better than a piping hot bowl of soup. This one uses the turkey carcass to make a flavorful stock for the soup. —Susan Albert, Jonesburg, Missouri
3 / 31
Potato Topped Ground Beef Skillet Exps Hck18 191121 B04 014 6b 25

Day 3: Potato-Topped Ground Beef Skillet

Compared to other ground beef skillet recipes, the depth of flavor in this recipe is amazing, and I never have leftovers when I take it to potlucks. I love recipes that I can cook and serve in the same skillet. If your butcher has chili grind beef, which is coarsely ground, go for that; it lends an extra meaty texture. —Fay Moreland, Wichita Falls, Texas
4 / 31

Day 4: Crispy Almond Tilapia

Since changing to a healthier style of cooking, I’ve come up with new coatings for baked fish. I use almonds, panko bread crumbs and a smidge of hot sauce to add crunchy texture with nice heat. —Amanda Flinner, Beaver, Pennsylvania
5 / 31
Crispy Asian Chicken Salad Exps Cf2bz19 133008 E12 14 4b 2

Day 5: Crispy Asian Chicken Salad

Asian flavor, crunchy almonds and crispy breaded chicken make this hearty salad something special. —Beth Dauenhauer, Pueblo, Colorado
6 / 31
Cumin Quinoa Patties Exps Sdam19 133393 C12 07 2b 1

Day 6: Cumin Quinoa Patties

This easy to make veggie burger packs an amazing taste, and the crunch from the addition of quinoa makes the texture to die for. This is an easy and delicious vegetarian burger option that you must try. Pan-frying adds a perfect crisp that takes it to the next level. The mixture can be made ahead of time, and it freezes very well. Enjoy! —Beth Klein, Arlington, Virginia
7 / 31
Hearty Ale Bean Soup Exps Tohfm20 197953 E07 10 9b 8

Day 7: Hearty Pork Bean Soup

It's wonderful to come home to this pork bean soup dinner simmering away in a slow cooker, especially on a busy weeknight. This soup uses dried beans and is simple to throw together in the morning before work. When you get home, just add a few more ingredients, and in half an hour dinner is ready! Do not put the tomatoes in for the first 8 hours of cooking, or the beans will not become soft. —Colleen Delawder, Herndon, Virginia
8 / 31
Salmon With Root Vegetables Exps Thd17 188340 B08 11 6b 3

Day 8: Salmon with Root Vegetables

This cozy hash is loaded with protein and healthy fats that keep you going on busy days. We've been known to devour it at breakfast, lunch and dinner! —Courtney Stultz, Weir, Kansas
9 / 31
Turkey Stroganoff With Spaghetti Squash Exps149842 Thhc2377564a06 28 4bc Rms 11

Day 9: Turkey Stroganoff with Spaghetti Squash

My twin sister and I came up with this entree after we both successfully lost weight but still wanted to indulge in comfort food. Spaghetti squash is a fantastic healthy alternative to pasta, and we use it in many recipes. —Courtney Varela, Aliso Viejo, California
10 / 31
Slow Cooked Italian Chicken Exps Qebz20 21061 E01 30 3b 7

Day 10: Slow-Cooked Italian Chicken

With its nicely seasoned tomato sauce, this enticing chicken entree is especially good over pasta. My father loved this dish. —Deanna D’Auria, Banning, California
11 / 31
Beef Cabbage Roll Ups Exps Hrbz17 21521 B09 01 4b 7

Day 11: Beef Cabbage Roll-Ups

Cooking up original recipes is a hobby of mine. My version of classic cabbage rolls is delicious served over rice or noodles. —Irma Finely, Lockwood, Missouri
12 / 31
Spicy Turkey Stir Fry With Noodles Exps Toham20 191520 B11 13 3b 12

Day 12: Spicy Turkey Stir Fry with Noodles

I created this ground turkey stir-fry recipe when I began my journey to get fit. Healthy eating always sounds so bland and boring, so I wanted to bring life to the world of healthy eating. I think I did it with this spicy dish. —Jermell Clark, Desert Hot Springs, California
13 / 31
Spinach And Shrimp Fra Diavolo Exps Sdam19 232951 B12 07 5b 14

Day 13: Spinach and Shrimp Fra Diavolo

This quick shrimp fra diavolo is spicy, garlicky, saucy and loaded with delicious shrimp. Plus, with the addition of spinach, you’re also getting a serving of veggies. When you need a perfect low-fat weeknight meal that is easy to pull together, this is it. You can substitute arugula or kale for the spinach if you'd like. —Julie Peterson, Crofton, Maryland
14 / 31
Exps190278 Sd163575b10 14 4b 1

Day 14: Whole Grain Chow Mein

My kids are picky eaters, but teriyaki and hoisin sauces work wonders with them. They love the meatballs, and I swap the noodles for whole grain pasta. —Kelly Shippey, Orange, California
15 / 31
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Day 15: Steak San Marino

I'm a busy pastor's wife and mother of three, and this delicious, inexpensive and easy main dish helps my day run smoother! The steak is so tender and flavorful, my kids gobble it up and my husband asks for seconds. —Lael Griess, Hull, Iowa
16 / 31
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Day 16: Rosemary Pork Medallions with Peas

It's nice to have a quick meal to fix after coming home from work. It's simple to prepare and doesn't use a lot of ingredients, so it's great for beginner cooks. —Laura McAllister, Morganton, North Carolina
17 / 31
Mushroom And Brown Rice Hash With Poached Eggs Exps Sdjj18 189425 B02 09 6b 3

Day 17: Mushroom and Brown Rice Hash with Poached Eggs

I made my mother's famous roast beef hash healthier by using cremini mushrooms instead of beef and brown rice instead of potatoes. It's ideal for a light main dish. —Lily Julow, Lawrenceville, Georgia
18 / 31
Ginger Halibut With Brussels Sprouts Exps Thd16 187828 07b 19 4b 1

Day 18: Ginger Halibut with Brussels Sprouts

I moved to the United States from Russia and love cooking Russian food for family and friends. Halibut with soy sauce, ginger and pepper is a favorite. —Margarita Parker, New Bern, North Carolina
19 / 31
Asian Style Round Steak Exps Sscbz18 35369 D09 08 4b 7

Day 19: Asian-Style Round Steak

My friend gave me this recipe two decades ago. All I added was a little more meat, the celery and mushrooms. My family loves it! —Marilyn Wolfe, Des Moines, Iowa
20 / 31

Day 20: Chicken & Spanish Cauliflower “Rice”

I learned about the paleo diet from some friends who now have tons of energy and are super fit. Since then, I’ve changed my eating habits, too. Everyone from my dad to my little nephew loves this chicken in Spanish cauliflower rice. —Megan Schmoldt, Westminster, Colorado
21 / 31
Wintertime Braised Beef Stew Exps Diydap21 41100 B10 12 1b

Day 21: Wintertime Braised Beef Stew

This easy beef stew is incredibly rich. Since it's even better a day or two later, you may want to make a double batch. —Michaela Rosenthal, Woodland Hills, California
22 / 31
Exps162481 Sd163575b10 08 8b 4

Day 22: Cod with Hearty Tomato Sauce

My father made up this sweet, flavorful recipe for my mother when he took over the cooking. We serve it with whole wheat pasta or brown rice. —Ann Marie Eberhart, Gig Harbor, Washington
23 / 31
Bulgur Jambalaya Exps Hck17 165859 C10 27 6b 1

Day 23: Bulgur Jambalaya

I like making this dish because it allows me to stay on track for my weight loss without giving up foods I love. —Nicholas Monfre, Oak Ridge, New Jersey
24 / 31
Hearty Vegetarian Chili Exps Ssbz18 50373 D03 09 4b 6

Day 24: Hearty Vegetarian Chili

Rich and flavorful, this chili is absolutely packed with fun veggies like mushrooms, beans and sun-dried tomatoes. It's so filling, you'll win over any meat lover. —Pam Ivbuls, Omaha, Nebraska
25 / 31
Pork And Green Chili Stew Exps Cwon19 98542 E06 06 5b 3

Day 25: Pork and Green Chile Stew

As an easily adaptable stew, this dish is ready in 4 hours if cooked on high in a slow cooker or in 8 hours if cooked low and slow. —Paul Sedillo, Plainfield, Illinois
26 / 31
Beef Roast Dinner Exps Cwon17 41032 B06 09 3b 6

Day 26: Beef Roast Dinner

Because this healthy dish is slow-cooked, you can use less expensive roasts with results as mouthwatering as the more costly cuts. Change up the veggies for variety, nutrition or to suit your tastes!—Sandra Dudley, Bemidji, Minnesota
27 / 31
Lentil Loaf Exps Hcka19 18015 C10 13 2b 2

Day 27: Lentil Loaf

This lentil loaf is so flavorful, you won’t miss the meat. And it’s packed with fiber and nutrients. —Tracy Fleming, Phoenix, Arizona
28 / 31
One Pan Roasted Chicken Vegetables Exps Opbz18 232860 B06 28 1b 13

Day 28: Garlicky Chicken Dinner

Flavorful bone-in chicken is enhanced by herbs, lemon and hearty vegetables in this savory meal-in-one entree. —Shannon Norris, Cudahy, Wisconsin
29 / 31
Spicy Turkey Tenderloin Exps Cf2bz19 30402 C12 19 2b 2

Day 29: Spicy Turkey Tenderloin

Here's a full-flavored dish that will really wake up your taste buds.
30 / 31
Steaks With Mushroom Sauce Exps Cwfm18 33026 D10 12 2b 3

Day 30: Steaks with Mushroom Sauce

These rich steaks are smothered in a rich mushroom-wine sauce to create a wonderfully savory entree. The tender steaks are sure to be a hit, and would certainly dress up any plate. —Stephanie Allee, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania
31 / 31

Day 31: Stuffed-Olive Cod

Visit the olive bar in your supermarket to put a new twist on cod in this simple high-protein, low-fat entree that’s a weeknight lifesaver. — Tria Olsen, Queen Creek, Arizona

Peggy Woodward, RDN
Peggy is a Senior Food Editor for Taste of Home. In addition to curating recipes, she writes articles, develops recipes and is our in-house nutrition expert. She studied dietetics at the University of Illinois and completed post-graduate studies at the Medical University of South Carolina to become a registered dietitian nutritionist. Peggy has more than 20 years of experience in the industry. She’s a mom, a foodie and enjoys being active in her rural Wisconsin community.

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