If you have diabetes, it is important to make healthy food choices since good nutrition is key to managing your blood sugar levels. Here are 17 foods to stock up on
However, you may not always find it easy to whip up a healthy meal when you don’t have the luxury of time. Here are 17 diabetes-friendly foods to stock up on so that you can have the right ingredients at hand.
17 foods you should stock up on if you have diabetes
- Canned vegetables: Having canned vegetables on hand (no added salt) can make it easy to add nutrition to your meals.
- Canned beans: Beans are nutrient-dense and high in fiber. Look for beans that are salt-free or rinse them for a minute under water to reduce sodium levels.
- Canned tomatoes: Tomato paste and chopped tomatoes are nutritious and versatile cooking ingredients that are good to have on hand.
- Canned fruits: Look for fruits that are packed in their own juices instead of those with added syrups.
- Canned soup: Soup is convenient to have on hand, but it can be heavy in sodium for people with diabetes. To keep salt under control, look for labels that specify “low sodium.”
- Fish: Stock up on water-packed tuna, salmon, and sardines, and always check the amount of sodium. Canned fish is a wonderful complement to salads, soups, and whole-grain pasta dishes, as well as a quick sandwich filling.
- Chicken: This is a fantastic source of protein to have on hand for last-minute meals.
- Roasted red peppers: Roasted red peppers are a quick way to add flavor and acidity to a range of foods and helps you to get some extra vegetables.
- Whole grains: Look for whole grain pastas and other products such as oatmeal, quinoa, polenta, and wild rice blends to serve as a side dish or as a meal base.
- Salsa: A jar of salsa can be used as a healthful dip for raw veggies, a zesty soup base, or a fresh salad topping. Avoid brands with too much added sugar and salt.
- Nuts: Almonds, walnuts, and hazelnuts are nutritious snacks to keep on hand. Nuts are high in fiber and will keep you full. However, they should be eaten in moderation. Two teaspoons of shelled nuts equal one serving.
- Herbs and spices: Since you want to keep your salt intake low, make sure to stock up on herbs and spices such as pepper, cinnamon, curry, oregano, and rosemary.
- Vinegars: White vinegar, apple cider vinegar, and balsamic vinegar make marinades and salad dressings more flavorful without the need for added salt.
- Low-fat dressings: Low-fat dressings are another choice for marinades and salads, and they can be used as a quick dip for vegetables. Use yogurt dressings instead of mayonnaise.
- Low-sodium soy sauce: You can stir-fry vegetables and rice in soy sauce for some Asian flavors.
- Syrup with no added sugar: This adds a pop of sweetness to whole-grain pancakes and fruits, making it a great breakfast option for people with diabetes.
- Popcorn: Popcorn is a great snack, especially if you make your own with a hot-air popper that eliminates the need for oil. Instead of salt and butter, you can use spices for flavor.
How to make a diabetes-friendly diet plan
While you don’t need to follow a fancy diet plan if you have diabetes, you do have to be careful about what foods you consume. This is especially true when it comes to choosing the types of carbs you eat, since carbohydrates have a greater effect on blood sugar levels than fats and proteins.
Limit refined carbs such as white bread, pasta, and rice, as well as soda, sweets, ready-to-eat meals, and snacks. Concentrate on complex carbohydrates with a high fiber content, often known as slow-release carbohydrates. Because they are digested more slowly, your body does not produce as much insulin when consumed.
Heart-healthy diets such as the Mediterranean diet are good options for people with diabetes, since they are designed to lower blood sugar, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels, all of which contribute to the development of diabetes. Keep the following in mind:
- Nuts, olive oil, fish oils, flaxseeds, and avocados are all good sources of healthy fats.
- Eggs, legumes, low-fat dairy and unsweetened yogurt are all good sources of high-quality protein.
- Avoid red and processed meats
In addition to eating healthy, it is also important to exercise regularly and lose excess weight.
Medically Reviewed on 5/5/2022