These 10 tried-and-true staples are win-win foods for people with type 2 diabetes: nutritious and delicious! Put them on your shopping list.
Berries. A smart substitute when you need to limit candy, berries offer sweet flavor, few calories, and lots of fiber. Plus, they have antioxidants, chemicals that help protect against cancer and heart disease. Raspberries, strawberries, and pomegranates (yes, they're considered a berry) also have plenty of ellagic acid, an antioxidant that may counter cancer. Toss fresh or frozen berries in your morning cereal and noontime salads, and keep dried or freeze-dried versions handy for snacking. High-fiber foods like berries help keep blood sugar levels normal.
You've heard breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and that's especially true when you have type 2 diabetes. A healthy breakfast can help you control your weight and keep blood sugar stable, says Melissa Joy Dobbins, RD. She's a Chicago-based certified diabetes educator.
What should your focus be for the first meal of the day? When you have diabetes, it's key to keep total carbs consistent day to day, get more fiber, choose fewer processed foods, and make heart-healthy choices, Dobbins...
Eggs are an inexpensive source of protein, and they may help you lose weight. Research shows that people who eat eggs at breakfast tend to take in fewer calories the rest of the day. The American Heart Association says healthy adults can eat one egg a day. One reason is that they have little saturated fat. (To be safe, talk to your doctor about your bloodcholesterol level.) Hard-boil eggs while you prepare dinner. Then store them in the refrigerator so they're ready for a quick breakfast or snack.
Extra virgin olive oil. Called "EVOO" for short, this type of olive oil offers great taste plus type-2-diabetes-friendly monounsaturated fat. "Extra virgin" means the oil is minimally processed, which protects its more than 30 antioxidant and anti-inflammatory plant compounds, says Kathleen Zelman, RD, MPH. Drizzle it on salads, dip bread into it, and use it to sauté meat and veggies. Go easy. Like all oils, it packs 120 calories per tablespoon.
Kale. This nutrition darling is one of healthiest vegetables. One cup delivers 206% of your daily requirement for vitamin A, 134% of your vitamin C requirement, and 684% of your recommended intake of vitamin K (critical for blood clotting and bone health). It's also a top source of lutein and zeaxanthin, which may help prevent age-related eye diseases. Add chopped kale to soups and salads, or toss it with pasta and pine nuts. You can also tear the leaves into 2-inch pieces, spritz with olive oil, and bake until crisp for a bowlful of kale chips.
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