Our Clear users log their meals in the app. These meals are placed next to their blood sugar levels, so that you can see at a glance what the best meals are, and which ones work less well for you. In 2021, we launched our new way of logging meals: we offer a large database of the most used products. And you see how many carbohydrates, fats, proteins, fiber and sugars the ingredients contain.
Each meal scores slightly different per person. You can read more about how this works in our blog ‘Why everyone reacts differently to food’. We also wrote a blog earlier in which you will find general guidelines on how to improve your meals.
But what are the best meals that our participants have eaten? We looked at 2021 and can present you a top 10 with the best dishes. For this list, we analyzed the meals of hundreds of participants and grouped the meals that were very similar. Of course, no meal is exactly the same, the meals below score well on average but you can always be an exception. Do you want to know for sure if these meals work well for you? Join Clear and build your own plan with the best dishes.
We assess the meals based on the Clear Food Score. The higher your glucose peaks after a meal, the lower the Food Score. We think a Food Score above 70 is good. Below you can see the best dishes of 2021 based on the Clear Food Score.
Note: the recipes below are from Dutch websites.
1. Tomato soup with meatballs (average Food Score: 99)
A classic meal: tomato soup with meatballs. Some participants make the soup themselves (see, for example, this recipe), but the ready-made soup from a bag is gaining popularity. Soup is good to use as a best meal in the evening, you can also think of tomato soup as an appetizer (especially if you plan to have an unhealthy meal afterwards). Or as an alternative or supplement to your lunch. Be careful with croutons and too much bread with the tomato soup: these can raise your blood sugar levels quickly. A day without meat? Nowadays there is also tomato soup with vegetarian balls.
2. Nasi with chicken (average Food Score: 98)
Nasi (fried rice) is a popular Indonesian meal. For most participants, this meal scored well. If we look at the ingredients, the nasi is well filled with stir-fried vegetables, chicken breast and a fried egg. Most participants make this their best dish by opting for brown rice instead of white rice. Do you want to do it even healthier? Then choose cauliflower rice!
3. Chicken Caesar salad (average Food Score: 95)
Salads are a good way to add more (green) vegetables to your diet. It is a good substitute for bread at lunch. But many participants quickly get hungry again after a salad. The solution: add healthy fats and proteins to your lunch. A Caesar salad contains boiled egg and fried chicken breast. This also makes it easier to get your recommended daily amount of protein, in addition to sufficient vegetables. Provide a yogurt-based dressing and top it off with Parmesan cheese. Feeling hungry? Read the recipe here!
4. Quinoa salad with green vegetables, nuts and seeds (average Food Score: 93)
The quinoa salad is gaining popularity. Quinoa is a ‘pseudo grain’ and leads to a less rapid increase in blood sugar levels in most participants compared to white pastas and rice. Cook some quinoa, let it cool down and add your vegetables, nuts and seeds of your choice. There’s also an easy ready-made variant when you’re on the go. Ideal for lunch, snack and dinner and suitable for vegetarians and vegans. Definitely a best dish!
5. Pasta carbonara (average Food Score: 91)
Most participants eat pasta at least once per week. It is versatile and can work well for your blood sugar if you opt for a whole grain variant. Today you will also find pastas based on lentil or pea flour. Plenty of options to experiment with! Pasta carbonara is often overlooked because of the large amount of fat. But in a small portion, this pasta works well (it fills up quite a bit so don’t scoop up too much). Do you want to make this pasta today? The original recipe of this best dish can be found here.
6. Stew kale with sausage (average Food Score: 89)
2021 Had plenty of cold days. In the Netherlands you quickly think of stew. The most popular variant turned out to be the stew kale with sausage. Potatoes can raise your blood sugar, but this dish also contains plenty of fats (sausage and the old-fashioned Dutch ‘dimple of gravy’) and fiber (kale). ‘Hutspot’ (hotch potch) usually scores less well because of the sugars from carrot. But maybe this is one of your best meals!
Are you looking for a modern variant of this stew? Check out 9x the tastiest stew kale recipes here.
7. Pea soup (average Food Score: 89)
We stay in the winter mode. In 2021, pea soup (in Dutch: erwtensoep) was regularly logged. Sometimes even in the summer! Pea soup contains a lot of calories and after one bowl most participants are already full. Peas, carrot and potato can raise blood sugar levels, but the meal seems to be balanced in most participants by the added fats from sausage or bacon. Pea soup originally is accompanied with rye bread: this bread is one of the most fiber-rich breads we know. Check out a recipe for traditional pea soup with split peas here.
8. Chili con carne with beans (average Food Score: 88)
Chili con carne (or chili sin carne for a vegetarian variant) is a meal full of complex carbohydrates because of the beans. Make it with (vegan) minced meat or extra vegetables. Do you like a mild or spicy variant? Add jalapeños peppers and make the chili extra spicy. Not everyone likes spicy food. However, there is some evidence that occasional spicy food is good for you. Tip: make a full pan and you have a quick lunch for the day after. Here you will find a recipe of the vegetarian variant.
9. Omelette or Scrambled Eggs with Onions, Peppers, Tomatoes and Mushrooms (average Food Score: 87)
A nice simple recipe, for an easy but also nutritious meal. This best meal can be put on the table in no time and, in addition to dinner, is also a perfectly filling lunch for when you are at home or working at home. You can easily get your daily amount of vegetables by adding them to the omelet. Egg is packed with choline which is important for your metabolism. Can’t stand onion? For many participants, miraculously, leeks work a lot better. This depends on your microbiome.
10. Lasagna (average Food Score: 80)
Who doesn’t love it? Lasagne sheets (also whole grain available!), fresh vegetables in the colors of the Italian flag (tomato / carrot, leek and onion), (Parmesan) cheese and béchamel sauce. Again, a correct combination of fats and carbohydrates ensures that you do not peak too quickly. But better stick to one serving. If necessary, eat a bowl of soup as a starter. There is good ways to vary with lasagna. To increase your Food Score, you can omit the lasagna sheets and use thinly sliced slices of zucchini or eggplant.
These were the 10 best dishes of 2021. Are you curious how you score on these dishes? Then join Clear now!