12 Tasty Food Choices for Diabetics

These food pairings, meal selections, and diabetic recipes can help you feel your best.

May 25, 2020

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Figuring out what you can and can’t eat if you are diabetic or prediabetic can be really confusing. Googling for the dos and don’ts can sometimes give a person more questions than answers. But keeping a healthy diabetes diet is actually quite easy to follow and you’ll be surprised at how many of your favorite foods are actually good for you. We’ve even prepared a meal guide filled with a selection of healthy recipes and food pairing ideas.

Eggs

Eggs are one of the least understood foods on the planet. For years people were told to cut back on them to lower their cholesterol but eggs are loaded with health benefits including many vitamins and essential minerals like phosphorus, calcium, and zinc. Just one egg contains 6 grams of protein and 5 grams of healthy fats. And it doesn’t increase bad cholesterol. Let’s face it, eggs are a superfood. Use Omega-3 enriched eggs for a bigger health boost.

Meal Selection:
Wake-up breakfast - spinach omelet paired with whole grain toast.

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Fatty Fish

Fatty fish is one of the healthiest foods for diabetics according to Healthline. These include salmon, mackerel, herring, tuna, and anchovies. These fish have great heart health benefits like lowering blood pressure and triglycerides. Fish oils – and olive oil – are high in omega 3 and are an important part of any healthy diet.

Meal Selection:
Tasty lunch - spinach leaf salad topped with herbed citrus salmon from All Recipes.

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Turmeric

This orange spice has been used as an herbal remedy for centuries. Curcumin – contained in turmeric has  anti-inflammatory benefits, helps allergies, and even lowers blood sugars. According to Healthline, curcumin may even have a role in preventing diabetes. So, add some spice to your life by using turmeric in your favorite Indian and Middle Eastern recipes.

Meal Selection:
Spicy supper -  curry chicken stir fry with broccoli, peppers, onions, and garlic from Cooking Light.

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Seeds & Nuts

Seeds and nuts are the perfect snack foods for people with diabetes according to Medical News Today. Pumpkin seeds are high in magnesium to break down food for energy and could help manage blood sugar.  Chia seeds are rich in antioxidants, omega 3 fatty acids, fiber, and magnesium. Tree Nuts like walnuts and almonds are also chock full of antioxidants, omega 3 oils, and healthy fats. Eating seeds and nuts can help reduce the risk of diabetes if you are prediabetic and are part of a healthy diet.

Meal Selection:
Light Breakfast - sprinkle seeds and berries on low-fat Greek yogurt for a morning on the go.

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Leafy Greens

Leafy green veggies like spinach, kale, or romaine lettuce are full of nutrition and have no calories. They also contain a lot of vitamin C which helps to lower sugar levels for people with type 2 diabetes. They are also loaded with antioxidants which can help protect your eyes.

Meal Selection:
Healthy lunch - asian lettuce wraps from JoyFoodSunshine are the way to go.

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Beans

The American Diabetes Association says that beans are a great food choice for diabetics. Kidney, pinto, or black beans are loaded with vitamins and minerals including magnesium and potassium. While beans do contain carbohydrates that become sugar, they are a great meat substitute. Use fresh or drain and rinse canned to remove salt.

Meal Selection:
Mexican-style dinner - spicy black bean quesadillas from ifoodreal are sure to please.

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Avocado

This superfood is loaded with vitamins, potassium, heart healthy fats, fiber, and antioxidants. According to Healthline, avocados are low carb so they will not cause a spike in blood sugar. As part of a healthy diet, avocados can help you lose weight and increase insulin sensitivity.

Meal choice:
Hearty breakfast - guacamole on whole grain bread to start your day.

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Citrus & Berries

While fruits do contain natural sugars, diabetics do not have to forgo the health benefits that are found in nature’s bounty. Diabetes Organization UK says that portion size is the biggest concern and to eat fresh fruits instead of fruit juices. Citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruit, lemons and limes are full of vitamin C and powerful antioxidants. Berries are packed-full of health benefits like antioxidants, vitamin C and K, manganese, potassium, and fiber. Make citrus fruits and berries a big part of your daily fruit choices.

Meal Solution:
Summer salad lunch – surprise your taste buds with this strawberry broccoli salad from Everyday Diabetic Recipes.

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Cinnamon

This spice has some potent antioxidants according to Healthline. A 2019 study showed that cinnamon can lower glycemic indices (blood sugar levels) and improve insulin sensitivity. So use this spice generously when you cook or bake.

Meal Selection:
Tasty afternoon treat- have a cup of chai tea or add some cinnamon to plain coffee to spice it up.

(Elena Veselova / Shutterstock.com)

Broccoli

Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts and cabbage are high in nutrients like vitamin C and magnesium. But that’s not all. According to Healthline, broccoli can help to lower insulin levels and can help prevent eye diseases that are common in diabetics.

Meal Selection:
Souper Supper – enjoy broccoli cheddar soup from Everyday Recipes for Diabetics.

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Whole Grains

While all grains contain starch, whole grains are full of vitamins, minerals, and are a great source of fiber. The fact is that most people do not get enough fiber. Whole grains include wheat, oats, barley, rye, buckwheat, brown rice, and quinoa. Substitute whole grains in your cooking and baking to make your homemade foods even more wholesome.

Meal Solution:
Healthy Snack- pair whole grain crackers with low-fat cheese or tuna.

(MSPhotographic / Shutterstock.com)

Olive Oil

Pour on the good health oil. Extra virgin olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fat, omega 3, and antioxidants. The Diabetes Council says that olive oil can help diminish oxidative stress due to high levels of blood sugar and other serious health risks due to diabetes. Swap butter and margarine for olive oil in cooking to make all your food healthier.

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BONNIE RIVA RAS, EDITOR & WRITER
Bonnie Riva Ras has dedicated her life to promoting social justice. She loves to write about empowering women, helping children, educational innovations, and advocating for the environment & sustainability.