When you have diabetes, you don’t need to eat special “diabetes foods.” However, that doesn’t mean that grocery shopping with diabetes is easy. Sometimes, it’s best to sit down with your dietitian or doctor and determine what foods you should grab and which you should skip. That way, you’ll end up with a list of health-boosting foods that you can enjoy and fit into your budget. Here are a few foods that often find their way onto healthful grocery lists. Remember to add lost of fresh, canned, and frozen fruits and vegetables.
- Oats: This breakfast favorite is rich in the fiber beta-glucan, which helps lower cholesterol levels and control blood glucose.
- Barley: Also rich in beta-glucan, barley potentially has even greater effects on blood glucose than oats.
- Canned Salmon: Very affordable when canned, salmon is jam-packed with heart-protective fats. Omega-3 fatty acids tame the inflammation that precedes heart disease, lower the risk of irregular heartbeats, and make blood less likely to form clots.
- Sardines: Here’s another omega-3-rich pantry item.
- Nuts and Nut Butters: Research suggests that nut and peanut butter consumption is associated with reduced risks of type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease. Choose all types of nuts and nut butters for their different flavors and nutrient profiles.
- Beans and Lentils: These have more protein than other vegetables. They also contain resistant starch, a type of carbohydrate that does not get digested, so it doesn’t contribute to blood glucose. Additionally, resistant starch feeds the healthy bacteria in our guts, producing compounds that improve insulin resistance.
- Canned Tomatoes: Is there a more versatile pantry item? Use them to punch up pasta, soups, and casseroles, or serve them with fish, chicken, or black beans.
- Nonfat Plain Greek Yogurt: Another versatile food, Greek yogurt is higher in protein and lower in carbohydrates than conventional yogurt. It’s perfect for making low-fat, creamy sauces or when served with fresh or frozen fruit as a nutrient-packed breakfast.
- Reduced-Fat Cottage Cheese: Cottage cheese is also high in protein and low in carbohydrates. It makes a perfect backdrop for any favorite food. Mix it with fresh basil and chopped tomatoes for a very low carb snack, or mix with fruit and cinnamon for a tasty breakfast.
By Jill Weisenberger, MS, RD, CDE
Stephanie Ronco has been editing in a professional capacity for the past 10 years. In addition to her work as an editor, Ronco has also served as a ghostwriter and writing tutor. A voracious reader, Ronco loves watching language evolve and change. When she’s not delving into her latest project, Ronco can be found teaching acting classes, performing in community theater, or sailing with her husband.