Diabetic Friendly Foods

Are you constantly asking yourself, "What can I eat?" It's time to stop worrying! Living with diabetes doesn't have to mean feeling deprived. We'll help you learn to balance your meals and make the healthiest food choices.

Once you get the hang of eating a healthy diet, you can relax and dig in to a wide variety of delicious meals and snacks.

Diabetes Food List:

    Canned beans: Garbanzo, pinto, black, red kidney, navy beans.
    Whole-grain pasta.
    Grains: Brown rice, barley, oats.
    Cereals: Fiber One, Cheerios, Rice Krispies, Kix.
    Diet, light, low-carb whole-wheat: bread, pancake mix, tortillas.
    Chocolate treats: Cocoa Via Crispy Chocolate Bar; Cocoa Via Chocolate Snack Bars; Cocoa Via Chocolate Blueberry Snack Bar.
    Water-packed tuna, chicken breast, and salmon (canned or pouch).
    Canola and extra-virgin olive oil and cooking sprays.
    Low-salt canned tomatoes, tomato soup, broth-based vegetable soups, V-8 juice, tomato juice, Diet V-8 Splash.
    Orville Redenbacher Smart Pop popcorn (snack-size bags).
    Ritz Chips crackers.
    Reduced-sugar jams, jellies, pancake syrups.

Fare for a Diabetes-Friendly Fridge:

    Fresh fruits: Berries, cherries, oranges, tangerines, peaches, grapefruit, grapes, kiwi, plums, watermelon, peaches, melons.
    Fresh vegetables: Spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, eggplant, cucumber, Romaine lettuce, mushrooms, radishes, snow peas, sugar snap peas, cabbage, carrots, green beans, asparagus, garlic, tomatoes, small sweet potatoes, small russet potatoes, edamame (soy beans).
    Low-fat salad dressings.
    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
        Turkey loin
        Ground turkey white meat
        Laura's Lean 4% fat ground beef
        Pork tenderloin
        Beef: fillet, flank steak
        Meat-substitute/soy products.

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 florets
        Broccoli, cauliflower and carrots
        Broccoli, carrots, and water chestnuts
        Sugar snap peas
        Whole green peas
    Birds Eye:
        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."

The Truth About Sugar-Free

If you're buying 'sugar-free' products, be careful Label-reading is very important. Compared to the regular version, a sugar-free product might have similar calories -- or it may have even more calories." And foods with labels like sugar-free, no sugar added, reduced sugar, still may contain carbohydrates. Read the nutritional fact label and look for total carbohydrates.

Products with low-calorie sweeteners like Splenda, Nutrasweet, and Sweet'N Low are generally good choices -- but still require label-reading, Davis tells WebMD. "Those sweeteners don't contain carbs, but the product itself may contain carbs. For example, ice cream sweetened with Splenda still has carbs from the milk." So again, the bottom line: how many carb grams does the food have?

To be wary of sorbitol (and other sugar alcohols), an artificial sweetener often used in sugar-free products and one which can cause diarrhea in some people. "It can be awful"