20 Diabetic-Friendly Pork Recipes
Pork can be a healthy, lean protein for people with diabetes. It's all about choosing the right cut and pairing it with vegetables, nutritious carbs and heart-healthy fats. Here are the best diabetic-friendly pork recipes.
Health Benefits of Pork
Did you know that certain cuts of pork are as lean or leaner than skinless chicken breast? To choose lean cuts of pork, look for “loin” or “chop” in the name. Both pork tenderloin and pork sirloin roast have an American Heart Association heart check mark, meaning they contain less than 5 grams of fat and 2 grams or less of saturated fat per serving.
Each 3-ounce serving of pork tenderloin offers roughly 21 grams of protein with only 120 calories, 3 grams of fat and 1 gram of saturated fat. The diabetic-friendly pork recipes in this collection are also protein-packed to support muscle growth and repair.
1 pork chop with 1/3 cup sauce: 232 calories, 10g fat (3g saturated fat), 60mg cholesterol, 161mg sodium, 7g carbohydrate (2g sugars, 1g fiber), 24g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 3 lean meat, 1/2 starch, 1/2 fat.
This delectable pork marsala uses whole wheat flour instead of refined white flour to up the fiber and nutrients. It’s also loaded with mushrooms, a low-calorie, meaty-tasting vegetable that contains antioxidants such as glutathione and selenium. These antioxidants help protect cells from free radical damage and may help reduce inflammation and lower the risk of chronic diseases.
1 pork chop: 316 calories, 13g fat (4g saturated fat), 82mg cholesterol, 463mg sodium, 15g carbohydrate (12g sugars, 0 fiber), 33g protein.
These tender and flavorful pork chops are glazed with pure maple syrup. What sets maple syrup apart from other natural sweeteners is it contains vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, including polyphenols.
When you’re shopping for maple syrup, don’t be fooled by syrups that are “maple-flavored.” These syrups are often made with lower quality, highly-processed sweeteners that can raise blood sugar levels. Look for “100% pure maple syrup” on the label.
Two tablespoons of maple syrup has 110 calories and 35% of the daily value for manganese, making it an excellent source. Manganese is particularly important for people with diabetes because this mineral plays a role in the metabolism of carbohydrates, along with proteins and cholesterol. Serve this recipe with roasted Brussels sprouts for a satisfying sweet and savory meal.
1-3/4 cups: 395 calories, 12g fat (4g saturated fat), 89mg cholesterol, 1055mg sodium, 34g carbohydrate (9g sugars, 8g fiber), 39g protein.
Chili can be a great choice for people with diabetes—as long as you keep the fat and sodium in check. Lower the sodium in this recipe by using half low sodium beef broth, half water. To make this recipe even more heart-healthy, use pork loin to further lower the fat and calories.
The addition of black beans in this recipe helps boost the nutrition and adds healthy carbohydrates, along with plenty of filling fiber. In addition to beans, find out which foods are best for people with diabetes.
1 cup: 232 calories, 7g fat (2g saturated fat), 42mg cholesterol, 614mg sodium, 19g carbohydrate (12g sugars, 1g fiber), 19g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 2 lean meat, 1 starch, 1 vegetable, 1/2 fat.
This easy recipe uses pantry staples but definitely doesn’t skimp on flavor. The garlic in this recipe makes it especially healthy. Garlic could help reduce high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure and may help lower the risk of heart disease. Pair this pork stew with sweet potato noodles and blanched green beans for a balanced and delicious meal.
For more dinner ideas, check out these diabetes-friendly comfort food recipes.
3 spring rolls (calculated without salad dressing): 255 calories, 12g fat (3g saturated fat), 48mg cholesterol, 91mg sodium, 19g carbohydrate (10g sugars, 3g fiber), 18g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 3 lean meat, 1 starch, 1 vegetable, 1 fat.
This takeout-inspired recipe is fresh and diabetes-friendly! It has less than 300 calories and 19 carbs per serving, and is packed with lean meat and vegetables. (Just be sure to double-check the label on your dipping sauce.)
3 ounces cooked pork with about 2 tablespoons sauce: 271 calories, 7g fat (2g saturated fat), 63mg cholesterol, 107mg sodium, 28g carbohydrate (25g sugars, 0 fiber), 23g protein.
The sweet and tangy raspberry balsamic sauce is the perfect accompaniment to roasted pork medallions.
You can lower the sugar content by using sugar-free raspberry jam. Replacing the ½ cup of sugar-sweetened jam with sugar-free will bring the carb count down to close to zero.
Serve with sauteed snow peas and a serving of mashed potatoes—or mashed cauliflower if you want to keep carbs low.
4 ounces cooked pork: 188 calories, 7g fat (3g saturated fat), 75mg cholesterol, 240mg sodium, 0 carbohydrate (0 sugars, 0 fiber), 29g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 4 lean meat.
This savory pork roast uses marjoram and sage, herbs that may help to lower blood sugar levels.
With only 188 calories and 0 grams of carbs for a 4 ounce serving, this protein-packed recipe pairs well with zucchini parsnip fritters and a crisp spinach salad.
1 cup: 206 calories, 5g fat (2g saturated fat), 42mg cholesterol, 435mg sodium, 23g carbohydrate (6g sugars, 4g fiber), 18g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 1 starch, 1 meat, 1 vegetable.
Soup can be a healthy meal, especially for people with diabetes who are watching their weight. The liquid can help fill you up for fewer calories, and including plenty of vegetables in your soup helps increase the fiber and staying power.
1 pork chop: 200 calories, 10g fat (3g saturated fat), 74mg cholesterol, 350mg sodium, 1g carbohydrate (0 sugars, 0 fiber), 26g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 4 lean meat, 1/2 fat.
These herbed lemon pork chops are high in protein and low in carbohydrates, with only 1 g of carbs per serving. They’re also diabetes-friendly because they use a salt-free garlic seasoning blend to maximize the flavor without the sodium of many seasoning blends. Look for salt-free seasonings to add quick and easy flavor boosts to not only pork dishes, but chicken, fish, tofu, soups and homemade salad dressings!
Serve these pork chops with a cranberry kale salad and whole wheat orzo for a satisfying and tasty meal.
1 cup without rice: 207 calories, 4g fat (1g saturated fat), 64mg cholesterol, 595mg sodium, 14g carbohydrate (2g sugars, 3g fiber), 26g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 3 lean meat, 1 starch.
This shredded pork recipe only needs a couple of tweaks to make it even better for people with diabetes. Be sure to use picante sauce with no added sugar. Then, serve the pork in a whole grain tortilla to get more fiber into your meal. Now you’re ready to wrap it up and enjoy!
3 ounces cooked pork with 1/2 cup vegetable mixture: 156 calories, 5g fat (2g saturated fat), 50mg cholesterol, 178mg sodium, 8g carbohydrate (2g sugars, 1g fiber), 20g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 3 lean meat, 1/2 starch.
Serve this gorgeous pork loin with a side salad topped with walnuts. If you have diabetes, including a handful of nuts in your diet is a healthy habit you’ll want to consider trying. People with type 2 diabetes who regularly eat tree nuts such as walnuts may have a lower risk of heart disease. This could be because nuts can help lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure while also helping to manage blood sugars.
1-1/3 cups: 258 calories, 4g fat (1g saturated fat), 42mg cholesterol, 357mg sodium, 34g carbohydrate (11g sugars, 5g fiber), 18g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 2 lean meat, 2 vegetable, 1-1/2 starch.
This hearty pork vegetable soup is lower in calories like a soup but eats like a stew, thanks to the addition of carrots and potatoes. Potatoes are a starchy vegetable and carrots are considered to be higher in sugar than many other non-starchy vegetables. However, these natural sugars are preferable to added sugars because they’re found in foods along with the nutrients we need for health and wellness. Potatoes are rich in potassium, which can help counteract the effects of sodium to lower blood pressure. Carrots also contain potassium and are an excellent source of vitamin A for healthy eyes.
You can lower the added sugar in this recipe by replacing the honey with a low calorie, sugar-free sweetener such as stevia.
3 ounces cooked pork: 163 calories, 7g fat (2g saturated fat), 63mg cholesterol, 488mg sodium, 0 carbohydrate (0 sugars, 0 fiber), 23g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 3 lean meat, 1/2 fat.
This delectable rosemary pork loin calls for only five ingredients (other than the pork). You know you’re enjoying a leaner option because the word “loin” is in this cut of pork. The sodium is on the higher side, but can easily be reduced to 290 mg of sodium by using ½ teaspoon of salt instead of ¾ teaspoon.
This pork loin is fantastic with sauteed zucchini or broccoli rabe on the side. Because this pork recipe contains 0 grams of carbs, you can enjoy it with a serving of brown rice, quinoa or another starch or keep it low carb and double up on non-starchy vegetables.
Find other easy recipes for people with diabetes.
2 tacos: 282 calories, 6g fat (2g saturated fat), 64mg cholesterol, 678mg sodium, 30g carbohydrate (5g sugars, 5g fiber), 26g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 3 lean meat, 2 starch.
This slow cooker meal means less time spent cooking and more time enjoying dinner! The nutritious carbohydrate source in this recipe is corn—specifically, a corn tortilla.
People with diabetes need to be especially diligent about eye health because high blood sugars can damage the tiny blood vessels in the eyes over time. Corn contains an antioxidant called lutein that may help prevent cataracts and age-related macular degeneration or worsening eyesight as you get older.
2 pork slices with about 2 teaspoons sauce: 189 calories, 10g fat (5g saturated fat), 78mg cholesterol, 330mg sodium, 2g carbohydrate (1g sugars, 0 fiber), 23g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 3 lean meat, 1 fat.
These pork tenderloin medallions contain only 2 grams of carbohydrates per serving and 1 gram of sugar. Serve with roasted broccoli or green beans and wild rice for a low-fuss gourmet meal.
1-1/2 cups: 302 calories, 12g fat (4g saturated fat), 38mg cholesterol, 652mg sodium, 33g carbohydrate (2g sugars, 4g fiber), 14g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 2 medium-fat meat, 2 vegetable, 1-1/2 starch, 1/2 fat.
Look for extra lean or lean ground pork to further reduce the total fat and saturated fat in this recipe.
The vegetable servings in this dish are pumped up further with plenty of crunchy cabbage. Cabbage is high in fiber and low in calories. It’s an excellent source of vitamins C and K, which help boost your immune system and play a role in blood clotting.
1 sandwich (calculated without mayonnaise): 380 calories, 11g fat (3g saturated fat), 55mg cholesterol, 665mg sodium, 37g carbohydrate (4g sugars, 2g fiber), 27g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 3 lean meat, 2 starch, 1 fat.
These delicious pork pitas can be diabetes-friendly when you choose a whole grain pita. You can even try doing an “open-faced” pita and eat half of the bread if you want to lower the carb count. You can boost the vegetables and make your meal more filling by adding plenty of romaine lettuce or arugula along with chopped tomatoes and cucumbers to your pita.
To reduce the sodium, skip the jarred roasted red peppers and saute your own. Just spray a grill pan or skillet with avocado oil cooking spray. Cut a raw red bell pepper into quarters and cook for 3 minutes per side or until softened.
Keep the calories and saturated fat in check by skipping the mayo and spreading on some plain non-fat Greek yogurt instead. The tanginess will pair perfectly with the heat of the black pepper and garlic.
3 ounces cooked pork with about 2 tablespoons sauce: 193 calories, 7g fat (2g saturated fat), 63mg cholesterol, 356mg sodium, 6g carbohydrate (4g sugars, 1g fiber), 23g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 3 lean meat, 1/2 starch, 1/2 fat.
These pork medallions with mustard sauce are slightly sweet thanks to a surprise ingredient: frozen apple juice concentrate. Serve your pork with roasted vegetables such as parsnips, beets, cabbage or cauliflower for a hearty and healthy meal that satisfies.
3 ounces cooked pork: 135 calories, 4g fat (1g saturated fat), 64mg cholesterol, 416mg sodium, 1g carbohydrate (0 sugars, 0 fiber), 23g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 3 lean meat.
Grilling pork tenderloin helps develop the texture and flavor of this cut. It’s also a quick and easy way to get lean protein on your table!
This recipe calls for seasoned salt, regular salt and poultry seasoning, which adds up to too much sodium. People with diabetes or anyone else limiting their salt intake can replace seasoned salt with sodium-free seasoning such as Mrs. Dash Original Blend. You can also just leave out the additional salt when you make this recipe.
3 slices pork with 1 cup potato mixture: 315 calories, 8g fat (2g saturated fat), 63mg cholesterol, 513mg sodium, 36g carbohydrate (20g sugars, 4g fiber), 26g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 3 lean meat, 2-1/2 starch, 1/2 fat.
The natural sweetness of sweet potatoes and apples brings out the best in this tasty pork dish. Sweet potatoes are higher in fiber and raise your blood sugar less than white or yellow potatoes.
This recipe contains no added sugars, but it does call for ½ cup of flour. Use whole wheat or another whole grain flour to increase the fiber—a great way to make this recipe a healthier choice for people with diabetes.
Serve this dish with sauteed kale sprinkled with slivered almonds or crushed walnuts—leafy greens and nuts are diabetes-friendly foods thanks to their fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.