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'Now You're Cooking Culinary Studio' in Chesapeake spotlights American Diabetes Awareness Month

This month, we are teaming up with the American Diabetes Association to give you recipes to try for a healthier lifestyle.

CHESAPEAKE, Va. — November is American Diabetes Awareness Month. It's also a time of year when those not-so-good-for-you holiday foods start popping up. 

So, this month we are teaming up with the American Diabetes Association to give you recipes to try for a healthier lifestyle instead of falling into more bad habits.

13News Now went to Now You're Cooking Studios in Chesapeake, where Chef Dedra Blount and her twin sister Debra Brabson showed us a familiar favorite dinner of sheet pan chicken, green beans and potatoes. 

Chef Dedra had a tip to get the dish started. 

"Boil your potatoes ahead of time, because it will take less time for them to cook, and you won't burn your green beans or overcook your chicken," she said. 

This recipe is on an approved list by the American Diabetes Association. Though simple, it's packed with flavor because of the Italian Dressing Mix packet that contains less salt and sugar, which is put on before and after baking.  

Unsurprisingly, sheet pan meals are better for you, but the flavor makes this dish stand out above the rest. And you don't have to stick to these three main ingredients.

 "I would say flip it around a little bit based on the seasons. So, if you would do this for the fall, I would do sweet potato," Blount said. 

"If you do a lean product, your vegetable and your starch, you can kind of do the same one and keep mixing it around and make people think you're working really hard and you really know what you're doing."

This meal is quick and easy -- plus it's friendly to your wallet, too!  

Unstuffed Eggrolls are also easy to make.

 This recipe is a great low-carb entrée on its own or served over a grain, like brown rice, quinoa, or over cauliflower rice. 

You could also switch the meat out depending on your family's preference.

 "You can do pork, or chicken, or ground turkey. You can do vegan alternatives. You can do cauliflower as an alternative," Blount said. 

Pro tip: Instead of chopping up a bunch of cabbage and carrots, buy pre-chopped coleslaw mix in a bag, add the sauces and garlic and enjoy all the flavor without the guilt.

 "Everything was in one pan. We didn't have a pan to brown in or a pan to sauté in; we started in one pan and just kept going to the end. That makes it easy because in the end, when it's time to clean up, you got one pan, one spoon," Blount added. 

Then, you can finish things off with some mini pumpkin pie tarts.

It's hard to believe that these are diabetes-friendly! 

They're perfect for a party to grab and go -- with a Nilla wafer on the bottom and a pumpkin tart creation baked on top -- but you can switch things up too! 

"If you like the mousse, or dips, or things like that, make this same recipe without the egg, and just put it in a container, and you can use your little Nilla wafer as a dip for it," said Chef Dedra.

You can go to the American Diabetes Associations Food Hub for a complete list of recipes.

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