Diabetes Food List

Diabetes Food List

Diabetics need to be careful about what they eat.  There are some foods a diabetic shouldn’t eat, such as those with simple sugars in them or foods that are high in fat and calories.  There are some good foods a diabetic can eat, however.  When you next go shopping, consider using this diabetes food list in order to select foods that are good for you to eat and that won’t increase your blood sugar levels as much.
diabetes food list

Foods for the Refrigerator

Foods you might want to put in your refrigerator include the following:

  • Foods for the RefrigeratorFresh vegetables—select those vegetables that are highly colored and that don’t have a lot of starch in them, like potatoes.
  • Fresh fruits—whole fresh fruits are the best as they contain fiber. Eat them raw and avoid juices made from fruits as these don’t add many nutrients and have a high glycemic index.
  • Skim milk—you can also use 1 percent reduced fat milk or soy milk that has not been sweetened with sugar.
  • Eggs or egg substitutes—these are high in protein and do not have a high glycemic index.
  • Low fat or nonfat yogurt—plain yogurt is best but If you like yogurt sweetened, choose those that have fruit in them rather than those containing honey.
  • Reduced-fat cheese—these are lower in calorie than high fat cheese
  • Cottage cheese—get low fat or 1 percent milk fat cottage cheese
  • Margarine—choose the type of margarine that is free of trans fats and that contains plant stanols or plant sterols.
  • Fresh poultry, meat, or fish—remember that they do not keep indefinitely and must be eaten with in a few days if kept in the refrigerator.

Freezer Foods

Here are some food choices you might make to put in the freezer:

  • Frozen vegetables—choose the kind that doesn’t come with sauces or butter in them.
  • Frozen fruit—these usually don’t have added sugar and are good frozen or thawed in a smoothie.
  • Frozen shellfish or fish fillets—they are high in omega 3 fatty acids, which are good for the heart in diabetic patients.
  • Frozen chicken—choose only chicken breasts that have been de-boned and are skinless


These are spices that help make the food more palatable and that won’t add extra calories and fat:

  • Pepper
  • Salt-free spices—there are many to choose from for various types of cooked meals.
  • Balsamic vinegar—you can also choose other types of vinegar, such as rice vinegar, white wine vinegar, or apple cider vinegar.
  • Cooking spray—this is preferable to cooking your foods in oil and add very little fat to the diet.
  • Vegetable oil—choose vegetable oil that is high in monounsaturated fats.
  • Olive oil—this is perhaps the healthiest oil you can cook with.

Pantry Foods

Here are some foods you might want to include as part of your dry goods and pantry foods:

  • Pantry FoodsCanned beans—these have a low glycemic index and have protein in them.
  • Canned fruit—choose the kind that is canned in juice instead of syrup as this is lower in calories and sugar.
  • Canned vegetables—try to choose canned vegetables that are low in salt.
  • Canned tuna or salmon—these are high in omega 3 fatty acids, which are heart-healthy for diabetics.
  • Fat-free refried beans—these can be used in healthy Mexican recipes.
  • Instant oatmeal—this has a low glycemic index and will help decrease the cholesterol in the bloodstream.
  • Unsalted nuts—these are high in protein and nutrients.
  • Dried fruit—these are high in fiber but should be eaten in a small quantity because they have concentrated calories in them.
  • 100 percent whole wheat bread—you can use whole wheat pita bread as well. Both have a low glycemic index.
  • Whole wheat pasta—this has a lower glycemic index when compared to regular white/yellow pasta.
  • Brown rice—this is high in fiber and has a low glycemic index. Other similar grains include barley, bulgur, and quinoa.
  • Whole grain cereal—choose cereal that is vitamin-fortified and that does not contain added sugar.
  • Spaghetti sauce—this can be used as a meal with whole grain pasta.
  • Potatoes—sweet potatoes are best but whole white potatoes are also good for you if you are diabetic.
  • Popcorn—choose light popcorn that can be cooked in the microwave or air-popped popcorn.
  • Seeds—seeds like flaxseeds and sunflower seeds have good oils in them and have many good nutrients.
  • Natural peanut butter—you can choose from a variety of nut butters as well.

Superfoods for Diabetics

There are some foods a diabetic can eat that are considered superfoods because they are especially high in nutritive value and have other benefits besides just their nutrients.  Most have a low glycemic index so they won’t raise your blood sugar as much.

Superfoods contain those nutrients that are usually missing in a typical Westernized diet, such as vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, magnesium, fiber, potassium, and calcium.

Good superfoods include the following:

  • Beans Beans are highly nutritious, including pinto beans, navy beans, kidney beans, and black beans. They are extremely high in fiber, which binds glucose in the gut.  Besides having high amounts of potassium and magnesium, they have about a third of your recommended daily requirements for fiber.
  • Dark leafy green vegetables. This includes kale, collard greens, and spinach. They are high in nutrients and yet low in calories.  You can eat a lot of these types of foods without gaining weight.
  • Citrus fruits. This includes lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruit. They are high in fiber and have plenty of vitamin C in them.
  • Sweet potatoes. These are high in fiber and vitamin A.  They have a lower glycemic index when compared to white potatoes.
  • Any berry would be good, including blackberries, blueberries, and strawberries. They are high fiber foods that are high in vitamins and antioxidants.  They can be eaten whole or as part of a smoothie.
    These can be used in many recipes and are high in iron, vitamin C, and vitamin E.
  • Omega 3 fatty acids in fish. The best choice is salmon but you can also eat sardines, tuna, halibut, or mackerel.
  • Whole grains. These are high in fiber and contain many healthful nutrients.
  • Just an ounce of nuts will give you fiber, magnesium, and vitamins.  Try walnuts, peanuts, almonds, or Brazil nuts.  Seeds, too, are high in omega 3 fatty acids.
  • Fat-free milk or yogurt. These are not only high in calcium and vitamin D but they are high in protein and low in sugar.
  1. Sample Shopping List
  2. Diabetes superfoods
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