Smart Diabetes Grocery Shopping

When you are living with diabetes, even everyday activities take on extra importance. That includes grocery shopping.

Choosing well in the supermarket is your first stop on the path to healthier eating.  Buying healthy food will help you maintain control of your diabetes.

And if you have type 2 diabetes, healthy changes to your diet could result in positive changes to your overall health, including weight loss.

This is the first of three blogs on “smart” grocery shopping for people with diabetes.

  • Today’s blog will provide some general tips for the grocery store.
  • Number two will explore some of the new shelf tag programs supermarkets are adding to help consumers shop healthier, shop quicker.
  • And number three will take a “diabetes look” at each of the aisles in a typical supermarket.

So, let’s start shopping!

Before you go!

  • Make a list–shopping from a list ensures you get all the things you need and fewer of the things you don’t.
  • Go when you aren’t hungry.

While You are There

  • Shop the perimeter of the store–the outer aisles contain the most healthful foods: fruits and vegetables, dairy, and meats.
  • Read the food labels and the shelf tags–this will allow you to find the product with the most nutritional punch in a category.
  • Focus on fiber. Adults should consume about 20 to 35 grams of dietary fiber per day from a variety of sources such as legumes, whole grains, fruit and vegetables. Be careful, though. If you increase your fiber intake too quickly, a result could be constipation. Instead, gradually introduce fiber-rich foods into your diet and drink plenty of water.
  • Cut the sodium:  Aim for more fresh foods; many packaged items are loaded with sodium. The Joslin Guidelines recommend less than 2300 mg of sodium a day.  Some canned soups have more than 1,000mg  per serving.

Choose the right type of fats Buy more poly- and mono-unsaturated fats (such as olive, canola and safflower oils) and less lard, butter and stick margarine.

Pick the right carbohydrates. Carbs are necessary for energy, so don’t cut them out of your diet. Just make smarter choices about the ones you consume. Unprocessed, unrefined carbs such as whole oats, whole-wheat pasta and beans and whole fruits are the way to go. Be sure to pair them with lean protein and vegetables for a nutritionally balanced meal. Work with your doctor and dietitian to determine how many carbohydrates you can consume each day.

Consider your choice of proteins. Instead of red meat or chicken all the time, try some omega-3-containing fish such as mackerel, salmon or fresh tuna.  Having a vegetarian entrée once or twice a week will lower your intake of saturated fat and increase how much fiber you are getting.  Look for beans and peas, tofu or tempeh.    Nuts and seeds are also a good protein source.  In addition to their protein benefits, nuts leave you feeling much more satiated than do a bag of chips and they don’t wreak havoc on your blood glucose.

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1 Comment

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