Yes, healthy meals bursting with flavor can be made in minutes! The trick is to let others do much of the work by buying prepared sauces and foods that are already chopped or cubed, such as shredded carrots and cubed pineapple. These recipes have been designed to fit a diabetes-friendly menu, but as the American Diabetes Association points out, this is the way we all should be eating. Here are a few simple and delicious meals that take only 15 minutes to prepare, all from my new book Fast and Flavorful: Great Diabetes Meals from Market to Table. They all make two servings.


Fresh tuna is glazed with a sweet-and-hot sauce. It’s best to undercook the tuna a little. It will continue to cook in its own heat when removed from the stove.

Hot Glazed Tuna Steak

2½ Tablespoons orange marmalade

½ Tablespoon Dijon mustard

Several drops hot pepper sauce

1 teaspoon olive oil

¾ pound fresh tuna steak

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Mix together the marmalade and the mustard. Add several drops of hot pepper sauce. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a medium-sized nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sear the tuna for two minutes. Turn. Season the cooked side with salt and freshly ground pepper. Sear the second side for two minutes for a half-inch-thick tuna steak. For a one-inch-thick tuna steak, reduce the heat and cook two minutes more. Remove the tuna to individual dinner plates. Add the marmalade mixture to the skillet, and sauté for 30 seconds or until the marmalade melts, scraping up any brown bits in the pan. Spoon the sauce over the tuna.

Preparation time: 10 minutes.

Pecan Spinach Salad

5 cups washed, ready-to-eat baby spinach (about 5 ounces)

2 cups bagged, shredded carrots (about 3 ounces)

½ cup broken unsalted pecans (1 ¾ ounces)

2 Tablespoons reduced-fat vinaigrette dressing

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place the spinach, carrots and pecans into a salad bowl. Add the dressing, and toss well. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Preparation time: 5 minutes.


Look for a bottled oyster sauce with about nine calories and 490 milligrams (mg) of sodium per tablespoon. Also, in most supermarkets, you can buy the green beans trimmed and the steak precut. Chinese wheat noodles can be found in the produce section of the market.

2 Tablespoons bottled oyster sauce

3 Tablespoons water

1 Tablespoon sesame oil

2 cups trimmed green beans, cut in half (½ pound)

½ pound bottom round steak, cut into strips (2 inches by ½ inch)

2 Tablespoons broken walnuts

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

¼ pound steamed or fresh Chinese wheat noodles (1¾ cups cooked noodles)

Mix the oyster sauce and water together in a bowl. Set aside.

Heat the sesame oil in a wok or skillet over high heat until just smoking. Add the green beans. Stir-fry for three minutes. Add the steak, and stir-fry for one minute. Add the oyster sauce and walnuts, and toss for 30 seconds. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove the beef and green beans, and set aside.

Bring a large saucepan filled with water to a boil over high heat, and add the noodles. Boil for one minute, drain and add salt and pepper to taste. Add the noodles to the wok after the beef and vegetables have been removed, and toss for one minute. Divide the noodles between two dinner plates, and serve the beef and green beans on top.

Preparation time: 15 minutes.


Buy fresh pineapple already cut up in cubes.

Hawaiian Chicken

¼ cup low-salt marinara sauce

2 Tablespoons pineapple juice (from the pineapple cubes container)

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons sugar

Olive oil spray

2 6-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breast cutlets (¼ inch thick)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Mix the marinara sauce, pineapple juice, mustard and sugar together, and set aside.

Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, and spray with olive oil spray. Sear the chicken for three minutes. Turn. Add salt and pepper to taste to the cooked side. Sear the second side for three minutes. The chicken is done when a meat thermometer reads 165°F.

Remove the chicken from the heat, and brush the sauce over the cutlets.

Preparation time: 10 minutes.

Pineapple Salad

1 cup fresh pineapple cubes (if large, cut into bite-size pieces)

4 cups washed, ready-to-eat Romaine lettuce

2 Tablespoons reduced-fat vinaigrette dressing

8 macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped

Place the pineapple cubes and lettuce in a salad bowl. Add the dressing. Toss well. Sprinkle the top with macadamia nuts. Serve with the chicken.

Preparation time: 5 minutes.


This delightful lamb dish features a Middle-Eastern yogurt sauce.

Middle-Eastern Lamb

½ cup plain, nonfat yogurt

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon ground cumin

¼ cup peeled, diced cucumber

Olive oil spray

½ pound lamb cubes, cut from the leg into ½-inch pieces

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Mix the yogurt, garlic, cumin and cucumber together, and set aside.

Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Spray with olive oil spray. Add the lamb to the skillet. Sauté for two minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Remove the lamb to two dinner plates, and spoon sauce on top.

Preparation time: 10 minutes.

Spinach Brown Rice

1 package microwaveable brown rice (for 1½ cups rice)

5 cups washed, ready-to-eat spinach

2 teaspoons olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Microwave the rice according to package instructions. Measure 1½ cups cooked rice into a bowl. Reserve the remaining rice for another meal. Add the spinach to the warm rice, and toss well. Add the olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Toss again.

Preparation time: 5 minutes.