What are the foods for diabetics to eat. If you have Type 2 diabetes, you have probably been told to avoid sugar. It’s less likely that you’ve been told what to include in your diet.
A List of the Best of Foods for Type 2 Diabetics
It happens to millions of Americans each year, and it might happen to you: Your doctor sits you down and tells you that you’ve been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. In fact, of the 37 million Americans who have diabetes, the vast majority — nearly 95% — have type 2, which is most often diagnosed in midlife and beyond, but can also be discovered when you’re younger.
Yes, it can feel overwhelming: You may need to start new medications and you’ll have to consistently monitor your blood sugar levels. But the biggest question on your mind may be, What on earth can I eat? Luckily, the answer is: plenty of delicious food. There are some things you’ll have to cut down or eliminate, like sugary sodas and deep-fried foods, but the list of good-for-your-blood-sugar foods is extensive and mouth-watering.
Best Foods for Diabetics:
Here’s a list of some of the best foods for diabetics.
1. Leafy greens
Superstar greens such as spinach, kale, Swiss chard and collard greens can be the hearty side to your dinner, or even the star of your plate, as the base of a salad or protein bowl. “Non-starchy vegetables are great for adding lots of volume, and fiber to a plate with fewer calories,” says Colleen Johnson, M.S., R.D.N., adult diabetes educator at Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston. “They also have fewer carbohydrates than starchy vegetables.”
Everyone’s favorite pink-hued fish is a superstar for people with type 2 diabetes because it’s rich in omega-3 fatty acids, says Samantha Cassetty, R.D.N., nutrition and wellness expert and the author of Sugar Shock. Unfortunately, we tend to consume too many omega-6 fatty acids (which promote inflammation) and not enough omega-3s because they’re harder to come by in foods. If salmon is a stretch for you, Cassetty points out that canned tuna is also a good source of omega-3s. (Just keep it to two or three weekly servings of light tuna to limit your mercury exposure.) Need inspiration? Check out these easy salmon dinner recipes.
No need to give up dessert when you have type 2 diabetes — just be sure to satisfy your sweet tooth with foods that get their yummy flavor naturally, like bright-red strawberries. Berries have a low glycemic load while being high in fiber and antioxidants.
Quinoa is super easy to cook — keep a batch of it in your fridge and top it with veggies, beans and lean proteins for a satisfying meal. Quinoa is actually a seed, but it’s considered to be a protein-rich whole grain. In fact, one cup of cooked quinoa has 8 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber. Plus, research shows that eating it daily can help stabilize blood glucose levels.
There’s a reason parents try so hard to get gets to eat this green veggie—broccoli is really good for you! It’s high in nutrients like vitamin C and potassium as well as fiber. “If you’re not like that crazy about, let’s say, steamed broccoli, maybe you should try it roasted with olive oil and some everything-bagel seasoning,” suggests Cassetty. “I think we forget that food should taste good. We can play it up.”
Almonds, walnuts, pistachios, hazelnuts, cashews … take your pick — they’re all filled with healthy fats. Nuts can be incorporated into recipes (like this quinoa risotto with arugula-mint pesto) or eaten on their own. “When we’re talking to people about bedtime snacks, a handful of unsalted nuts is a really good fit,” says Kathleen Wyne, M.D., Ph.D., professor in the division of endocrinology and metabolism at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.
7. Lean meat
“Lean proteins may help reduce and delay spikes in blood sugar,” says Johnson. Skinless chicken and turkey are more obvious choices, but you can also consider lean cuts of other meat like sirloin tips or pork loin. These give you a healthy portion of proteins while containing less saturated fat than ground beef, bacon, sausages, and other, heftier cuts of meat.
8. Cottage cheese
You may have heard that your grandmother’s favorite snack is having a big comeback. The thick, creamy dairy product is packed with protein and calcium, which research says may have a positive effect on insulin levels in people with type 2 diabetes. Including dairy products in your diet may even lower your risk for getting type 2 diabetes in the first place. Top your low-fat curds with sliced fruit or a sprinkle of cinnamon—skip the sugar or sweetened jams—for a tasty treat.
Zucchini noodles (a.k.a. zoodles) are popular for a reason. Not only do they pair well with nearly any pasta sauce, they’re also rich in antioxidants and fiber which makes them a great lower-carbohydrate alternative to traditional noodles. Check out dozens of delicious recipes right here.
Eggs fall into the lean protein category mentioned above, and they are incredibly versatile (scrambled, hard-boiled, cooked into shakshuka…). They are an affordable protein that can balance out any meal, adding essential vitamins and minerals, plus the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which are important for eye health. And all this at just 80 calories each.
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