Diabetes Shopping Guide: “What Should I Eat?”
Below is our guide to healthy shopping with diabetes. We’ve chosen better-for-you items that are higher in
fiber, contain more whole grains, and have less added sugars, sodium, saturated fat and trans fat.
Deli and Prepared Foods
Lean, reduced-sodium meats and low-fat, reduced sodium cheeses can fit into your diabetes meal plan.
While they won’t have much effect on your blood sugar, you should be aware that they may contain high
amounts of saturated fat or sodium.
- Use 100% whole-grain bread for sandwiches. Be sure to read labels.
- Have one slice of cheese on your sandwich instead of 2-3 to cut saturated fat and calories.
- Choose healthy condiments like mustard or light mayonnaise. Or, try hummus as a sandwich spread.
Beef, Pork, Poultry and Seafood
Choose lean cuts of meat and skinless poultry to cut down on saturated fat and cholesterol. Seafood provides
healthy, unsaturated fat and should be included at least two times per week. Beef, pork, poultry and seafood
do not have a direct effect on blood sugar unless they are breaded or prepared in a sweet sauce or marinade.
- Keep portions in check and use low-fat cooking methods: broil, grill, bake pan-sear, roast or stir-fry
- Trim any excess or visible fat
Non-starchy vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, and string beans have little effect on your blood sugar, but
starchy vegetables like potatoes, peas and corn, which contain more carbohydrates, will. It is important to
know the difference when meal planning. Fruit contains essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals and fiber
but it also contains natural sugars, which affect your blood sugar.
- Make half of your plate non-starchy veggies, they’re low-calorie and will not have a big effect on your blood sugar
- When consuming fruit, it is important to monitor portion sizes for good blood sugar control.
- If choosing dried fruit, remember that the sugar in dried fruit is concentrated, so portion sizes should be smaller than for fresh
When shopping in the grocery aisles of your local ShopRite it is best to read food labels. “Sugar-free” does
not always mean carbohydrate-free and “fat-free” items may be higher in sugar. Always check the “total
carbohydrates,” not the “sugars” in a product to make sure the item fits into your diabetes meal plan.
- Look for “no-salt,” “no-sugar-added,” “unsweetened” and “in its own juice” on labels of canned fruits and vegetables
- Drain and rinse canned beans and canned vegetables to remove excess salt
- When preparing canned soup add some water to dilute the added salt
Snacks and Beverages
Nuts and popcorn are healthy snack ideas since they provide important nutrients like fiber and protein.
However, most other “snack foods” provide very little nutrients and should be treated as “once-in-a-while”
- Be mindful of portion sizes when it comes to snack foods and nuts
- When it comes to beverages, choose calorie-free options like water, sparkling water and plain tea and/or diet versions of juice, soda and iced tea.
Dairy foods provide us with important nutrients like calcium, vitamin D, and protein. Dairy foods are
considered a carbohydrate since they contains the natural milk sugar called lactose.
- Aim for three servings of low-fat or fat-free dairy every day
Frozen vegetables and fruit can offer healthy convenience to your everyday meal plan. Frozen dinners, pizza
and other packaged frozen food items can be higher in salt and saturated fat. When choosing these, opt for
varieties that are lower in sodium and fat for a healthier choice. There are an abundance of new frozen
novelties in your ShopRite’s frozen department that have been reduced in sugar, fat and calories.
- Choose frozen vegetables without sauce or added salt
- Choose frozen fruit without added sugar
- Choose frozen novelties with “no-sugar-added” and “slow-churned or double-churned” (low fat)
- Add bulk to frozen meals by adding extra non-starchy vegetables like: broccoli, cauliflower or carrots