Grocery shopping with diabetes can be overwhelming. Instead of walking down each aisle and throwing in what sounds good, you have to be a bit more careful about what you choose to add to your cart.
It can feel restrictive to limit your grocery shopping to only things that fit within the parameters of your diabetes-friendly diet. If you’ve recently been diagnosed with diabetes, it can be tough to say goodbye to some of your favorite foods. With all that being said, there are still some extremely tasty, healthy options out there for people with diabetes.
To ensure that you leave the grocery store satisfied and with plenty of ingredients to prepare some delicious meals, here is a helpful grocery list for people with diabetes. Plus, 5 of some of our favorite meals to cook!
As always, consult with your doctor or dietitian about the perfect grocery list for you, as everyone is different.
Everyone, whether they have diabetes or not, could probably use some more veggies in their life. Veggies tend to be low in carbohydrates while still being full of nutrients that will help you take on the day with confidence. It is recommended that about half of your dinner plate should be vegetables. So, make sure to stock up on them during your shopping.
There are two types of veggies that we’ll focus on for our list. The first is non-starchy vegetables, which you can typically eat more of compared to the second category (starchy).
Non-starchy vegetables to include in your grocery list.
- Brussel sprouts
- Green beans
- Bean sprouts
- Baby corn
- Water chestnuts
For starchy vegetables, you can still eat these, but they should be in smaller portions on your plate.
- Sweet potatoes
Beans and legumes are perfect for adding more protein and fiber to your meals.
- Black beans
- Garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
- Pinto beans
- Kidney beans
It’s also important to include fruit in your grocery list. Fruit is high in fiber content, as well as sweet, which can help you address any sweet tooth cravings you may have. It is generally recommended that you keep your portions to about half a cup. Mixing them with a protein (like peanut butter) is also recommended.
If you love to cook, then it’s essential that you know which oils or dressings are limited in saturated fats. Here are some of the healthier oils, dressings, and spreads.
- Canola oil
- Olive-oil based unsweetened dressing
- Olive oil
- Olive oil spray
- Olive-oil based mayonnaise
- Almond butter
- Peanut butter
It should be noted that there are some ingredients not on this list that you can still eat as long as it is low sodium. For example, soy sauce and barbeque sauce can be thrown in your cart as long as they are labeled as having “low sodium.” Today, food brands are pretty good at letting you know whether or not their products contain sodium and have expanded their offering to include more diabetes-friendly foods.
One common misconception about a diabetes-friendly grocery list is that you can’t have any grains. However, you certainly can, as long as they are whole grains. Check out this helpful article, which breaks down the correct serving amounts for whole-grain foods.
- Brown Rice
- Whole farro
- Whole oats
- Whole rye
- Whole wheat
- Whole wheat pasta
- Cooked oatmeal
- Whole grain bread
Next up, we have dairy. When placing dairy items in your cart, be careful not to add any products that have added sugar. In addition, try some non-dairy alternatives and see if you enjoy those (such as almond, oat, or soy milk).
- Low sodium cheese
- Low-fat cottage cheese
- Low-fat milk
- Yogurt (with no added sugar)
Here are some of the best meats and seafood options to add to your grocery list.
- Lean meat
- Turkey breast
- Fatty fish like salmon or tuna
- Eggs (you should have no more than four eggs per week)
- Egg whites
But what about in between meals when you need a quick snack to hold you over? Here are some of the best snack ideas for people with diabetes. Read the full list here.
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Yogurt with berries
- Veggies and hummus
- Sliced apples with peanut butter
- Beef sticks
- Turkey roll-up
- Cheese and whole-grain crackers
- Trail mix
If you are looking for more ways to lower your blood sugar? While healthy meals and snacks should be the primary focus, supplements can be an effective way of keeping your blood sugar low.
5 Great Diabetes-Friendly Dishes
Here are some of our favorite diabetes-friendly recipes to try today!
Cucumber Tomato Salad (With Chickpeas and Feta)
Many folks have trouble finding salad recipes that fill them up. But, this cucumber tomato salad courtesy of Kalyn’s Kitchen will leave you feeling full but not bloated. For a refreshing, tasty meal that has everything you need to keep you feeling good, this salad is a must-try.
Chilled Avocado Zucchini Soup
A delicious starter for any dinner, this avocado soup provides a rich flavor and has the added benefit of being vegetarian. Head on over to Simply Quinoa for the recipe!
Grilled Chicken Kebabs (With Pistachio Gremolata)
Yes, this dish is as good as it sounds. This tasty meal courtesy of Hello Glow is the perfect summer grilling option for people with diabetes. Make sure to pay attention to the yogurt you use and make sure it is low-fat. In addition, adjust the amount of olive oil based on your needs.
Cherry Balsamic Grilled Pork Tenderloin
A sweet and savory dish, this cherry balsamic pork tenderloin recipe has a healthy dose of antioxidants from the dark stone fruit. The fruit pairs perfectly with the other ingredients in this recipe from Give it Some Thyme.
Spiced Pumpkin-Raisin Cookies
We had to include at least one dessert on this list! These cookies are extremely easy to make and are absolutely delicious!