Diabetic-friendly healthy steamed fish recipe

Steamed fish

Blanche Clark

Posted July 08, 2022

Maintain a healthy lifestyle with this nutritious steamed fish recipe, which is suitable for those living with diabetes.

The beauty of recipes devised for people living is diabetes is that they are healthy for the whole family.

Celebrity chef Gabriel Gaté, who is also a Diabetes Victoria ambassador, says this recipe for steamed John Dory with a vegetable julienne is healthy, delicious and easy to prepare.

“I love John Dory myself, but you can use any fish fillet of your choice,” he says.  “Snapper and flathead are excellent. You can also vary the vegetables and serve with steamed rice.”

If you’re after more delicious fish recipes, try Gaté’s easy smoked salmon recipe. Or for a winter warmer, the hearty slow-cooked beef ragu with potato gnocchi will hit the spot.

Risk of diabetes 

Two million Australians are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to Diabetes Australia, therefore it makes sense to get regular health checks and maintain a healthy lifestyle that includes exercise and nutritious food.

National Diabetes Week, which occurs in July every year, helps raise awareness of the condition, which currently affects more than 1.4 million Australians. 

If someone has diabetes their body can't maintain healthy levels of sugar in the blood. This occurs when the pancreas fails to produce enough of the hormone insulin to convert sugar from food into energy for the cells. 

In the case of Type 1 diabetes, which is an auto-immune condition, the pancreas doesn't produce any insulin and insulin injections are required.

Type 2 diabetes, on the other hand, results from a combination of genetic and environmental factors. In this case the pancreas still produces some insulin, but not enough to be effective. It is managed by diet and exercise, and if more serious, tablets and/or injections. People are at greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes if they have a family history, are overweight and over the age of 55. 

There is also gestational diabetes, which occurs during pregnancy.

You can find out more at diabetesaustralia.com.au

Woman reaching for healthy snack

A healthy diet and lifestyle changes can help prevent type 2 diabetes, according to Diabetes Australia. Image: Getty


Impact on mental wellbeing

The other factor that is not widely recognised is the link between diabetes and mental wellbeing, with depression, anxiety and distress affecting more than 30 per cent of all people with diabetes.

Diabetes Australia’s Heads Up on Diabetes campaign aims to remove the stigma associated with diabetes. That stigma includes people being judged for eating certain foods or shamed for using insulin or checking their glucose levels in public. 

“It’s important that people remember that what might seem like a harmless joke or comment, can actually add to the burden of stigma that people with diabetes experience every day – and this can all contribute to poorer mental and emotional health outcomes,” Diabetes Australia Group CEO Justine Cain says.

An important part of mental wellbeing is eating a nourishing, balanced diet, and that includes fish and plenty of vegetables — making this diabetic-friendly fish recipe, below, a good one to add to your cooking repertoire.

Gabriel Gaté's diabetic-friendly steamed John Dory with a vegetable julienne recipe



Time to make

30-45 min




  • 2 large button mushrooms

  • 10 cm length of the white part of a leek 

  • 1 small carrot

  • 10 cm piece of celery 

  • 1 tomato

  • 1 tablespoons olive oil 

  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped onion (about 1/4 of a small onion)

  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder 

  • 2 tablespoons water

  • 2 pieces of john dory fillet, each about 150 g 

  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 tbsp finely cut chives 


  1. Wash mushrooms and leek.  Peel the carrot and cut mushrooms, leek, celery and carrot into matchsticks (julienne) about 5 cm long.

  2. Halve tomato, and squeeze out the seeds, then chop tomato.
  3. In a non-stick frypan place the olive oil, chopped onion, chopped tomato and curry powder.  Add the julienne of the four vegetables and 2 tablespoons water, and mix well together.  Cook vegetables on a medium heat for 3 minutes.  Place fish on top of vegetables.
  4. Season fish with salt and pepper.  Cover pan well with foil and cook on medium heat for about 5 to 8 minutes until the fish is cooked through.
  5. Serve fish on the vegetables.  Spoon a little cooking liquid over the fish and serve sprinkled with chives and a wedge of lemon.