Diabetes Diet

Diabetes Superfoods

Your list of the top 10 diabetes superfoods has arrived. As with all foods, you need to work the diabetes superfoods into your individualized meal plan in appropriate portions. All of the foods in our list have a low glycemic index or GI and provide key nutrients that are lacking in the typical western diet such as:

 

  • Calcium
  • Potassium
  • Fiber
  • Magnesium
  • Vitamins A (as carotenoids), C, and E.

 

 

There isn’t research that clearly points to supplementation, so always think first about getting your nutrients from foods. Below is our list of superfoods to include in your diet.

Beans

Whether you prefer kidney, pinto, navy, or black beans, you can’t find better nutrition than that provided by beans. They are very high in fiber, giving you about 1/3 of your daily requirement in just a ½ cup, and are also good sources of magnesium and potassium.

They are considered starchy vegetables, but ½ cup provides as much protein as an ounce of meat without the saturated fat. To save time you can use canned beans, but be sure to drain and rinse them to get rid of as much sodium as possible.

Dark Green Leafy Vegetables

Spinach, collards, kale – these powerhouse foods are so low in calories and carbohydrate. You can’t eat too much.

Citrus Fruit

Grapefruit, oranges, lemons and limes. Pick your favorites and get part of your daily dose of soluble fiber and vitamin C.

Sweet Potatoes

A starchy vegetable packed full of vitamin A and fiber. Try in place of regular potatoes for a lower GI alternative.

Berries

Which are your favorites: blueberries, strawberries or another variety? Regardless, they are all packed with antioxidants, vitamins and fiber. Make a parfait alternating the fruit with light, non-fat yogurt for a new favorite dessert.

Tomatoes

An old standby where everyone can find a favorite. The good news is that no matter how you like your tomatoes, pureed, raw, or in a sauce, you’re eating vital nutrients like vitamin C, iron, vitamin E.

Fish High in Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Salmon is a favorite in this category. Stay away from the breaded and deep fat fried variety… they don’t count in your goal of 6-9 ounces of fish per week.

Whole Grains

It’s the germ and bran of the whole grain you’re after.  It contains all the nutrients a grain product has to offer. When you purchase processed grains like bread made from enriched wheat flour, you don’t get these. A few more of the nutrients these foods offer are magnesium, chromium, omega 3 fatty acids and folate.

Pearled barley and oatmeal are a source of fiber and potassium.

Nuts

An ounce of nuts can go a long way in providing key healthy fats along with hunger management. Other benefits are a dose of magnesium and fiber.

Some nuts and seeds, such as walnuts and flax seeds, also contain omega-3 fatty acids.

Fat-free Milk and Yogurt

Everyone knows dairy can help build strong bones and teeth. In addition to calcium, many fortified dairy products are a good source of vitamin D. More research is emerging on the connection between vitamin D and good health.

Some of the above list can be tough on the budget depending on the season and where you live. Look for lower cost options such as fruit and vegetables in season or frozen or canned fish.

Foods that every budget can live with year round are beans and rolled oats or barley that you cook from scratch.

Diabetes and Breads, Grains, and Other Starches

Your body needs carbs. But you want to choose wisely. Use this list as a guide.

 Best Choices

  • Whole-grain flours, such as whole wheat flour
  • Whole grains, such as brown rice
  • Cereals containing whole-grain ingredients and little added sugar
  • Whole-grain bread
  • Baked sweet or white potato or baked steak fries
  • Whole-grain flour or corn tortillas
  • Corn, popcorn or products made from corn

 

Worst Choices

  • White flour
  • Processed grains, such as white rice
  • Cereals with little whole grain and lots of sugar
  • White bread
  • French fries
  • Fried white-flour tortillas
Vegetables and Diabetes

Most vegetables contain fiber and are naturally low in fat and sodium (unless they are canned or frozen in sauces). Starchy vegetables, such as potatoes and corn, aren’t included in this category. They are considered part of the breads, grains, and other starches group.

Best Choices

  • Fresh vegetables, eaten raw or lightly steamed, roasted, or grilled
  • Plain frozen vegetables, lightly steamed
  • Low sodium or unsalted canned vegetables
  • Lettuces, greens, kale, spinach, arugula

Worst Choices

  • Canned vegetables with lots of added sodium
  • Vegetables cooked with lots of added butter, cheese, or sauce
  • Pickles (if you need to limit sodium; otherwise, pickles are okay)
  • Sauerkraut, (same as pickles; limit only if you have high blood pressure)
Fruits and Diabetes

fruits

Fruits have carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They are naturally low in fat (except for avocados) and sodium. Most fruits have more carbs than do vegetables.

Best Choices

  • Plain frozen fruit or fruit canned in fruit juice
  • Fresh fruit
  • Sugar-free or low-sugar jam or preserves
  • No-sugar-added applesauce
  • 100% fruit juice

Worst Choices

  • Canned fruit with heavy sugar syrup
  • Chewy fruit rolls
  • Regular jam, jelly, and preserves (unless portion is kept small)
  • Sweetened applesauce
  • Fruit punch, fruit drinks, fruit juice drinks
Diabetes and Meat and Other Proteins

This category includes beef, chicken, fish, pork, turkey, seafood, beans, cheese, eggs, nuts, and tofu.

Best Choices

  • Baked, broiled, grilled, or stewed meats
  • Lower-fat cuts of meat, such as top sirloin
  • Turkey bacon
  • Low-fat cheeses
  • Skinless breast of chicken or turkey
  • Baked, broiled, steamed, or grilled fish
  • Tofu lightly sautéed, steamed, or cooked in soup
  • Beans
  • Eggs
  • Nuts

Worst Choices

  • Fried meats
  • Higher-fat cuts of meat, such as ribs
  • Pork bacon
  • Regular cheeses
  • Poultry with skin
  • Fried fish
  • Fried tofu
  • Beans prepared with lard
Dairy and Diabetes

This group includes milk and foods made from milk, such as yogurt and sour cream. Milk has a lot of protein and minerals, including calcium.

Best Choices

  • 1% or skim milk
  • Low-fat yogurt
  • Low-fat cottage cheese
  • Low-fat or nonfat sour cream
  • Frozen low-fat, low-carb yogurt
  • Nonfat half-and-half

Worst Choices

  • Whole milk
  • Regular yogurt
  • Regular cottage cheese
  • Regular sour cream
  • Regular ice cream
  • Regular half-and-half
Diabetes and Fats, Oils, and Sweets

Eating too much of these kinds of foods can lead to weight gain, making it harder to keep diabetes under control.

Best Choices

  • Baked snacks, such as baked potato chips, baked corn chips, puffed rice, or corn snacks, in small portions
  • Vegetable oils, non-hydrogenated butter spreads, margarine
  • Reduced-fat mayonnaise
  • Light salad dressings
  • Air-popped or calorie-controlled popcorn

Worst Choices

  • Snacks fried in fat, such as potato chips, corn chips, pork rinds
  • Lard, hydrogenated vegetable shortening, butter
  • Regular mayonnaise
  • Regular salad dressings
  • Butter-flavored stove-top popcorn.
Beverages and Diabetes

Some drinks have lots of carbs but very little nutrition. Others may be a better choice most of the time.

Best Choices

  • Water, unflavored or flavored sparkling water
  • Light beer, small amounts of wine or non-fruity mixed drinks
  • Unsweetened tea (add a slice of lemon)
  • Coffee, black or with added low-fat milk and sugar substitute
  • Plain coffee and hot chocolate
  • Sport drinks, in limited quantities

Worst Choices

  • Regular sodas
  • Regular beer, fruity mixed drinks, dessert wines
  • Sweetened tea
  • Coffee with sugar and cream
  • Flavored coffees and chocolate drinks
  • Energy drinks
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