Best and Worst Foods for Diabetes
Your food choices matter a lot when you've got diabetes. Some are better than others.
Nothing is completely off limits. Even items that you might think of as “the worst" could be occasional treats -- in tiny amounts. But they won’t help you nutrition-wise, and it’s easiest to manage your diabetes if you mainly stick to the “best” options.
Editor's Note: Food Pyramid Replaced
In June 2011, the USDA replaced the food pyramid with a
new plate icon.
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Your body needs carbs. But you want to choose wisely. Use this list as a guide.
Whole grains, such as brown rice, oatmeal, quinoa, millet, or amaranth
Baked sweet potato
Items made with whole grains and no (or very little) added sugar
Processed grains, such as white rice or white flour
Cereals with little whole grains and lots of sugar
Fried white-flour tortillas
Load up! You’ll get fiber and very little fat or salt (unless you add them). Remember, potatoes and corn count as carbs.
Fresh veggies, eaten raw or lightly steamed, roasted, or grilled
Plain frozen vegetables, lightly steamed
Greens such as kale, spinach, and arugula. Iceberg lettuce is not as great, because it’s low in nutrients.
Low sodium or unsalted canned vegetables
Go for a variety of colors: dark greens, red or orange (think of carrots or red peppers), whites (onions) and even purple (eggplants). The 2015 U.S. guidelines recommend 2.5 cups of veggies per day.
Canned vegetables with lots of added sodium
Veggies cooked with lots of added butter, cheese, or sauce
Pickles, if you need to limit sodium -- otherwise, pickles are okay.
Sauerkraut, for the same reason as pickles -- so, limit them if you have high blood pressure
They give you carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Most are naturally low in fat and sodium. But they tend to have more carbs than vegetables do.
Plain frozen fruit or fruit canned without added sugar
Sugar-free or low-sugar jam or preserves
Canned fruit with heavy sugar syrup
Chewy fruit rolls
Regular jam, jelly, and preserves (unless you have a very small portion)
Fruit punch, fruit drinks, fruit juice drinks