How to Make a Healthy Grocery Shopping List When You Have Diabetes

6 minute read

Living with diabetes doesn’t have to be a challenge. In fact, with the right diet, you can live a normal life. The best diet for diabetics is a balanced one that is also heart conscious.

Staying healthy with diabetes involves more than just watching sugar intake. The various particulars all need to be kept in mind, but this can make grocery shopping a real headache unless you come prepared.

The Diabetics Shopping List

The easiest way to follow a balanced diet is to prepare for your meals ahead of time. By following a list, you will only buy what you need and what is healthy. This will keep you from buying unnecessary or dangerous food items.

The following image contains a wealth of information on what foods should be on your list, how much to eat of each, and a lot more.

The list below delivers a balanced diet that is ideal for diabetics as well as anyone looking to promote their health.

1. Produce

When it comes to fruits and vegetables, you want to avoid anything canned or dried as these often have added sugars or syrups that can elevate blood sugar levels. The top produce choices for diabetics are fresh fruits, leafy greens, and red or orange vegetables.

When choosing produce, stick with options that are high in fiber and low in starch. These will not only fill you up, but keep your overall carbohydrate load down.

Fresh fruits and vegetables are always better, but if needed you can opt for the frozen variety. Just be sure to grab products that do not have any added salt or sugar. If you must buy canned or packaged fruit, be sure to get a variety that has natural fruit juice or water as opposed to syrup.

2. Dairy

When it comes to dairy, you always want to choose low-fat or fat-free options. Even better than dairy are non-dairy alternatives, such as those made with soy or almond milk.

If you do get an alternative non-dairy item, be sure to check the label for added sugars and sweeteners, and opt for the ones without any.

Yogurt is a tricky item because it is full of probiotics and valuable nutrients, but flavored varieties are loaded with sugar. Get yourself natural yogurt instead and add in some honey or fresh fruit to flavor.

Also, buy low-fat sour cream and reduced-fat cheese, making sure to avoid processed cheese at all costs. The key to buying dairy items is to stay away from whole fats. Full fat dairy increases your cholesterol levels as well as fat storage, which can compound diabetes and increase your risk for other serious diseases.

3. Protein

With your protein options, you want to go with lean and low-salt options. Stay clear of fish or poultry that has skin and avoid red meat, bacon, and processed meats. Eggs in moderation and peanut butter are ideal protein providers for diabetics, but make sure your peanut butter is natural and not overly processed. A diet high in protein and low in fats helps regulate blood sugar levels.

| Related: 6 Healthy Habits You Need to Start When You Have Diabetes |

Tofu and nuts are also great protein sources, but again watch the sodium content and keep your choices as natural and plain as possible. Being a diabetic does not mean you have to give up salt, but it is wise to cut down.

Too much sodium can elevate blood pressure, the leading cause of heart disease in diabetics.

4. Starches

Even though you want to limit starch intake, your body still needs some of it to function properly. As long as you are wise about the starch choices you make, your diabetes will remain unaffected.

Grains are great for diabetics due to their fiber, but you need to be aware of the potential impact on your blood sugar levels. Shop around for whole grain foods and low-starch options to get the fiber you need without the blood sugar spikes.

Steel cut oats, brown rice, and whole grain breads and pastas are the best items for your shopping list.

5. Sauces and Spices

Sauces add the flavors you love but can be dangerous for diabetics. The trouble with sauces is that most contain hidden sugars that will negatively impact your blood sugar.

When it comes to spices, it’s not sugar you need to watch for, but salt. Check your sauces for low-sodium options and check the labels for hidden sugars.

Opt for herbs rather than salt when it comes to flavoring your favorite dishes. Oil-based salad dressings will be healthier for you and jams and jellies need to be low-sugar.

| Related: Enjoy Your Leafy Greens With This Diabetic-Friendly Kale Salad |

Always opt for olive or canola oil when cooking instead of butter to ensure that you get healthier fats.

The Bottom Line

The number of diabetes diagnoses in this country continues to increase each year. Sadly, this is because the Western diet is full of processed, high-fat, and sugar-laden foods. These are not only bad for your health but contribute to the development of diabetes, even if it’s a little more complicated with sugar. Switching to a diabetic-friendly diet will help manage your diabetes better and improve overall health.

For those already living with diabetes, your life can be full and with the right grocery list you can eat great tasting and healthy meals. Just remember to stay balanced; your health is about more than just cutting sugar. Don’t let diabetes control your life by taking control of your menu.

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