Shopping for a Diabetes-Friendly Diet
Shopping for a Diabetes-Friendly Diet

Eating healthy is essential in managing diabetes and begins with wise choices when grocery shopping.

You can’t just roll the cart down the aisles and grab what looks good. Instead, prepare before leaving home for the store.

1. Scan the web and magazines for diabetes-friendly recipes. Save the ones you like, then narrow your list to seven dinners and a few breakfast/lunch ideas. Make sure you have a mix of quick recipes along with a few more time-intensive ones. Note with each if any part of the recipe can be prepared ahead of time. Visit for recipe inspiration!

2. Plan a menu for the week. You can plan and shop for longer menus when you feel confident of your system, but in the beginning, it’s probably best to start with only one week at a time. Plan your menu keeping the Diabetes Plate Method in mind: half of a 9-inch plate contains nonstarchy veggies, while one quarter has carbs (good complex ones like whole grains, fruits and beans), and the remaining quarter has protein from eggs, lean meats, fish, chicken and tofu.

3. Take inventory of your kitchen. Look over your recipes and menu and determine what ingredients you need, checking to see what items you already have on hand.

4. Check labels carefully. Ignore empty claims such as, “lower in fat,” or “reduced sugar.” Choose foods with three or more grams of dietary fiber and fewer than eight grams of sugar per serving. Also, pay attention to the total carbs, which includes sugar. If you only go by sugar, you may miss out on nutritious, naturally sweet foods, or you may choose foods that are low in sugar but contain a high amount of processed or refined carbs. Also, remember that fat-free doesn’t necessarily mean carb-free.

5. Aim for a colorful cart. If you focus on the labels, looking for whole grains and whole fiber, and you also see a colorful variety in your foods, odds are good you have chosen well. Also, make sure you’re opting for healthy fats when possible.

6. Finally, aim to limit rather than exclude temptation. If you deny yourself all your favorite treats, you are more likely to overindulge later. Instead, have a few less nutritious choices and remember to eat those rarely and in moderation. That’s not the same as stuffing your pantry with packaged donuts, cookies, potato chips and sugary drinks. You also don’t want to have constant temptation lurking in your kitchen, either.