Being diabetic does not mean you have to eat boring or bland foods. There are many healthy and flavorful food choices that are less likely to cause blood sugar spikes.
Printable Food List
If you're diabetic, the following printable list can help you make smart eating decisions. It may be browsed online or downloaded to print and carry with you or display on your fridge. If you need downloading assistance, check out these helpful tips.
Foods on the List
Following a diabetic eating plan may seem daunting, but when you are armed with the right information, it gets easier with time. As your knowledge grows about how specific foods affect blood sugar in the body, food selection will be a breeze. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), the following foods can be enjoyed on a diabetic menu:
- Whole grains: Avoid refined grains and white or enriched flours since, according to the ADA, they only include the starchy part of the grain. Think out of the box and give grains other than wheat a try, such as quinoa, farrow, millet or triticale.
- Beans and legumes: Beans provide fiber, protein, and a heavy dose of nutrition. They're also inexpensive and versatile. The ADA recommends incorporating several meals of beans into your diet each week.
- Vegetables: Diabetics can enjoy starchy and non-starchy vegetables, but starchy veggies such as potatoes, pumpkin, and corn should be consumed in moderation. Non-starchy choices such as mushrooms, cauliflower, cucumbers, and greens should fill half of your plate each meal.
- Fruits: Fruits offer nutrition and sweet taste without added refined sugars, but they still impact blood sugar. The ADA says on its website that most fruits have a low glycemic index and can be enjoyed. Within a glycemic scale diet, fruits that fall in the medium range on the scale such as melons, pineapple, raisins, and dried figs should be consumed in moderation.
- Dairy: According to the ADA, milk is low on the glycemic scale, so incorporating low-fat dairy products into your diet is a great way to get calcium and other nutrients.
- Meats and protein: Plant-based proteins such as beans and nuts, seafood, poultry, cheese (low-fat), and eggs top the ADA's list of protein food recommendations.
Combining Whole Foods
With vegetables and fruits, all varieties are suitable for a diabetic meal plan. Remember that the slower the digestion of the fruit or vegetable, the better. Include adequate fiber, such as eating the peel of the apple, and combine the food item with a small amount of protein and/or fat. These are some of the important basics of the diabetic diet.
Whole foods are encouraged for a healthy eating plan, but whether diabetic or not, it is sometimes convenient and necessary to rely on processed food products. Such items include frozen entrees, prepared salads, and canned soups. Consider the following items:
- Vegetable-based or bean soups
- Prepared vegetable, egg, seafood, seafood, or bean salads
- Sugar-free gelatin, hard candies, or chocolate
- Sugar-free jams/jellies
- Condiments (low-sugar if possible)
Seasonings and Herbs
There are no restrictions on the amount or type of fresh or dried herbs and spices you can use. They add flavor and texture to foods and are a beneficial alternative to sugar that may be missing from a recipe. If you have high blood pressure, it's a good idea to limit your salt intake.
Sweets are often considered off limits for diabetics. But you can create your own sweet treats with Stevia, which is a sweet herb, or artificial sweeteners. It is most healthful to use these sweeteners sparingly. Since aspartame contains phenylalanine, avoid it if you have phenylketonuria.
Take Control of Your Diet
Keep this list of diabetic friendly foods on hand as you adjust to your diet. You may be surprised to find just how many good foods are still enjoyable as you watch your blood sugar and food intake.