Health & Fitness

Chicken pita pockets & Greek salad make for healthy diabetes meal

Chicken Pita Pocket with Greek Salad
Chicken Pita Pocket with Greek Salad MIAMI HERALD

This diabetes-friendly meal is perfect for a quick summer supper that the whole family will enjoy. A chicken pita pocket is garnished with a tomato and corn salsa and served with a Greek salad.

There are many myths about diabetes. One is that people with diabetes need to follow a special diet. According to the American Diabetes Association, “people with diabetes benefit from the same healthy diet that is good for everyone else.” This includes foods low in saturated and trans fats, moderate salt and sugar intake and meals based on lean protein, non-starchy vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats and fruit. For more information go to

Helpful Hints

▪ A quick way to defrost the corn kernels is to place them in a sieve and run hot tap water over them. Squeeze out extra liquid.

▪ Fresh corn can be used instead of frozen. Cut the kernels from the corn and microwave on high for 1 minute.

▪ Let the supermarket do the work and doctor up store-bought salsa with frozen corn kernels.

▪ Make sure your bottles of dried herbs and spices are less than six months old.


▪ Prepare tomato and corn salsa and set aside to marinate for a few minutes.

▪ Make the Greek Salad.

▪ Cook the chicken and finish the pita pocket.

Shopping List

3/4 pound boneless skinless chicken breast cutlets, 1 package frozen corn kernels, 1 jar tomato salsa, 1 package whole-wheat pita breads, 1 bottle dried oregano, 1 bag washed ready-to-eat lettuce, 1 cucumber, 1 container green or black olives.

Staples: Canola oil, reduced-fat oil and vinegar dressing, salt and black peppercorns.

Look for whole-wheat pita breads, about 6 inches in diameter, weighing 64g (a little over 2 ounces), with 170 calories, 1.7 g fat and 284 mg sodium.

Linda Gassenheimer is the author of several books published by the American Diabetes Association, including “Fast and Flavorful Great Diabetes from Market to Table” and “Quick and Easy Chicken.” All books are at bookstores and


1 teaspoon dried oregano or 2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves

2 tablespoons reduced-fat oil and vinegar dressing

2 cups washed, ready-to-eat lettuce

2 cups peeled and sliced cucumbers

7 green or black olives

Mix oregano and vinaigrette dressing in a medium-size salad bowl. Add the lettuce, cucumber, and olives. Toss with dressing. Makes 2 servings.

Per serving: 50 calories, 25 calories from fat, 3 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 1.5 g monounsaturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 120 mg sodium, 350 mg potassium, 6 g carbohydrates, 2 g dietary fiber, 3 g sugars, 2 g protein, 40 mg phosphorus

Exchanges/choices: 1 vegetable, 1/2 fat


1/4 cup frozen corn kernels, defrosted

1/4 cup store-bought tomato salsa

2 teaspoons canola oil

1/2 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast cutlets (1/2 inch thick)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

2 large whole-wheat pita breads (about 6-inches each)*

Mix corn and salsa together and set aside. Heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and sauté 3 minutes, turn and sauté 3 more minutes. A meat thermometer inserted into chicken should read 165°F. Remove chicken from skillet, add salt and pepper to taste, and slice into thin strips. Toast pita bread in a toaster oven to warm slightly. Do not let it get too crisp. Cut both pieces of pita bread in half and open pockets. Spoon the chicken into the pockets and top with the salsa. Makes 2 servings.

Per serving: 370 calories, 80 calories from fat, 9 g fat, 1.5 g saturated fat, 4 g monounsaturated fat, 85 mg cholesterol, 480 mg sodium, 610 mg potassium, 41 g carbohydrates, 6 g dietary fiber, 2 g sugars, 33 g protein.

Exchanges/choices: 2 1/2 starch, 3 1/2 lean protein, 1/2 fat