Healthy cooking and snacking means having the right foods on hand. Whether you're preparing the evening's dinner, fixing a brown-bag lunch, or grabbing breakfast, you can stick with your diabetes meal plan if the right foods are in the pantry or fridge.
"I believe in leading people toward smart fats and lots of fiber to keep blood sugar balanced -- and to prevent heart disease," says Elaine Magee, MPH, RD. Magee is the "Recipe Doctor" for the WebMD Weight Loss Clinic and author of Tell Me What to Eat If I Have Diabetes.
Andrea Kolligian has learned that she's likely to get well-meaning comments if she eats a donut.
"Can you eat that? Are you sure you can eat that?" a friend or coworker will ask.
Kolligian, an administrative assistant at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was a teenager, and has been taking insulin ever since. But like many people with type I diabetes, she's learned that the growing prevalence of the type 2 form of the disease, which is often...
Magee's pantry holds lots of beans, high-fiber pastas, and grains. In the fridge: fresh fruits and veggies, lean meats, and low-fat dairy products because they contain important vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
Need a little help with ideas for stocking your own kitchen? Here are some of our experts' suggestions:
Foods for a Diabetes-Friendly Pantry:
Canned beans: Garbanzo, pinto, black, red kidney, navy beans.
Low-fat dairy: 1% or 2% cheese like Baby Bell or Laughing Cow; string cheese (part-skim mozzarella); fat-free sugar-free yogurt; skim or 1% milk; I Can't Believe It's Not Butter spray; Butter Buds.
Fresh lean protein:
Boneless skinless chicken breast
Ground turkey white meat
Laura's Lean 4% fat ground beef
Beef: fillet, flank steak
If fresh produce isn't always practical for you, stock up on canned or frozen.
Stocking a Diabetes-Friendly Freezer:
Blueberries, blackberries, strawberries.
Green Giant Select:
Broccoli, cauliflower and carrots
Broccoli, carrots, and water chestnuts
Sugar snap peas
Whole green peas
Pepper stir fry
Sugar snap stir fry
Seven vegetable stir fry
Szechwan vegetables in sesame sauce
Winter blend vegetables and cheese sauce
Frozen lean protein: salmon, tuna, tilapia, orange roughy; Louis Rich, Butterball or Jenni-O turkey sausage; egg substitutes.
Ground flaxseed (sprinkle over fruit, breakfast cereal, yogurt, smoothies, sandwich spreads for extra omega-3 fatty acids).
Spicing Up a Diabetes-Friendly Spice Rack:
Spice rubs for meat and seafood.
Garlic and onion powders, not salts.
Mrs. Dash; Mr. Dash.
And when you're shopping for all these goodies, it's critical that you read food labels for carbohydrate, salt, and fat content, says Dianne Davis, RD, LDN, CDE, a dietitian with the Vanderbilt Diabetes Center in Nashville, Tenn. "There is a wide range of nutritional value in many products, and you have to choose carefully. That's why I give specific recommendations on products."