Diabetic Friendly Foods

Diabetes, a metabolic disorder that continues to rise due to an unhealthy lifestyle, could be very well controlled and prevented by only following a healthy and balanced diet routine. Diabetic friendly foods not only serve to be a source of energy and improve mood, but also are certainly a treat for your taste buds. While you need to control the sugar intake, you definitely don’t need to give them up completely and commit to a bland food routine.

Diabetic Friendly Foods

Dietary and lifestyle modifications play the central role when it comes to managing diabetes. Let's take a look at how you need to stock your kitchen if you’re on a battle against diabetes.

1. Beans

The fiber-rich beans fill up your stomach and take longer time to digest. Whether as a side dish, in soups, salads or simply casseroles, they are an excellent choice. Beans control blood sugar levels and are a good source of protein. Plus they are low in fat. Dried beans are a better option than canned ones, since they’re low in sodium. Different types of beans that you can consume are pinto, kidney, black and garbanzo beans.

2. Whole Grain

Whole grain is certainly packed with a lot of fiber but is pretty tough to find. While buying anything that mentions "contain whole grain", make sure you check for the following ingredients first:

  • Whole wheat flour
  • Whole oats/oatmeal
  • Bulgur/ cracked wheat
  • Cornmeal
  • Popcorn
  • Brown rice
  • Whole rye
  • Whole-grain barley
  • Whole faro
  • Wild rice
  • Buckwheat
  • Buckwheat flour
  • Quinoa

Other ways of incorporating more whole grain in diet is by:

  • Baking with whole wheat flour instead of white
  • Making whole wheat pasta
  • Choosing whole-grain bread sandwiches
  • Trying recipes using less-common whole grains like bulgur or barley
  • Consuming high-fiber bran cereal, choosing one with 3gm of fiber but less than 6gm of sugar per serving

3. Nuts

Nuts are one of the healthiest snack choices, especially those unsalted nuts.With rich omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin E, fiber, plant sterols, unsaturated fats and L- arginine, nuts reduce clotting chances, make arteries more flexible, improve blood sugar and reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol. You can also enjoy your nuts by consuming its butters.

But take care of the portion size as they’re high in calories. Nuts can be paired with fresh fruits, cereal for extra fiber and energy, peanut butter and almond butter to offer a more satisfying meal.

4. Vegetables

An excellent way of regulating blood sugar as well as losing weight is adding more vegetables into your diet. Vegetables are packed with nutrients like vitamins, minerals and fiber. Green veggies are also a good source of carbs.

Choose veggies like spinach, broccoli, peppers and mushrooms. Frozen vegetables are even more convenient because they take less time to prepare, have been sliced and peeled already and are easier to count carbs as they’re mentioned on the packet.

5. Fruits

Among all diabetic friendly foods, fruits should never be neglected. Fruits like berries and citrus fruits not only boost flavour but are also an excellent source of vitamins, fibers and antioxidants, especially unsweetened berries. It’s better to eat the citrus fruit than drinking its juice because of the high fiber content of pulp of oranges and grapefruit. Besides, blue berries, cranberries and strawberries along with citrus fruits can improve HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) levels, lower blood pressure, regulate blood sugar level and contain soluble fibers

6. Fish

While pregnant women and children are advised to avoid certain varieties of fish due to the mercury contamination, a fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, herring, albacore, tuna and sardine in your meal twice a week could be beneficial because they are low in cholesterol and unhealthy saturated fats, and are good source of omega 3 fatty acids that lower arrhythmia risk, regulate triglyceride levels, decrease the growth rate of atherosclerotic plaques, control blood pressure and curb inflammation.

7. Meat

Meaty products like beef, chicken, pork, turkey can help in regulating blood sugar as well. Try consuming baked, boiled, grilled or stewed meat, lower-fat cuts of meat, turkey bacon or skinless breast of chicken or turkey.

8. Dairy

Certain milk products like yogurt and sour cream come in the category of diabetic friendly foods as well. They’re also rich in proteins and minerals like calcium. Best choices here are:

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

9. Sugar Substitutes

These substitutes can replace sugar and satisfy your taste buds without affecting your blood sugar levels because they offer a concentrated dose of sweetness and are calorie-free generally. What's more, sweeteners are not fully absorbed by body.

FDA approved 6 sweeteners that are excellent substitutes of sugar and an effective way of managing diabetes. They include:

  • Saccharin: 200-700 times sweeter than sugar, it present in diet colas and diet food, and is sold in individual packets as well. While pregnant women are told to avoid it, it is safe for type 1 and 2 diabetics.
  • Aspartame: 180-200 times sweeter than sugar, it is not very useful when cooked because heat makes it less sweet. It is regarded safe for all three types of diabetics but not for people with PKU.
  • Sucralose can also be used by diabetics. It is 600 times sweeter than sugar and is widely used for baking.
  • Acesulfame K, 200 times sweeter than sugar, can be used for baking as well. Many studies consider it safe.
  • Neotame is 8000 times sweeter than sugar and derived from aspartame but is safe for people with PKU.
  • Stevia plant is the basis of all sweeteners and is 250 times sweeter than sugar.

10. Other Diabetic Friendly Foods 

  • Watermelon
  • Melon
  • Muskmelon
  • Honeydew
  • Casaba
  • Crenshaw
  • Pepino
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