Everyone who has diabetes knows that what he eats matters. She/he knows that the balancing act that the body performs naturally in healthy people has to be done externally and manually… Vegetable and fruit are good for everyone, but they are very important to diabetics. Knowing what to eat and when will determine the success of this balancing act.
Vegetables and fruit contain carbs, vitamins and minerals. Most of them contain fiber as well and have fewer carb than any other food group. They are also naturally low in fat and sodium. Starchy vegetables, such as potatoes, sweet potatoes and yams which contain a larger amount of carbs, should not be considered a vegetable for your purposes. Consider them in the bread and grain category. Same goes for corn and peas.
When you are ready to go food shopping, prepare a list at the comfort of your home. You need to know and have a guide to determining what food is good or bad for you. Making the right choice will help you maintain your blood sugar levels.
Eat five servings of fruit and vegetables a day, and make it a habit to have dinner with “meat and two veg” as the British call it. You can make it easy and fun by thinking about color combinations of the two vegetables you’ll eat with dinner. They can be both fresh or both cooked, or one of each. With a vegetable in the morning and two servings of fruit – you are set for the day.
The vegetables should be eaten fresh, lightly steamed, roasted or grilled. Avoid canned vegetables because they contain large amounts of sodium. Opt for the frozen vegetables instead. Avoid cooking the vegetables with added butter, cheese or sauce. Pickles and sauerkraut are ok only if you do not have high blood pressure. Usually non starchy vegetables contain about 5 grams of carbs in 0.5 cup cooked or 2 cups raw vegetables. Most of the vegetables in the list below are full of fiber so unless you eat more than 1 cup at a time you may not need to count the carbs at all.
The best vegetables for diabetes:
- Bean sprouts
- Bamboo shoots
- Brussels sprouts
- Greens (collard, kale, mustard and turnip)
And all other green leafy vegetables that are not on the list. When consuming vegetables high in sugars like beets, carbs should be counted.
Vegetables to eat in small quantities:
- Sweet potatoes
A small piece of fruit or 0.5 cup of cut or frozen fruit contain about 10-15 grams of carb. Only 2 tablespoons of dried fruit (raisins or cranberries for instance) contain 15 grams of carb. It is recommended to eat the fruit fresh and not in chewy fruit rolls which eliminated the water and leave only the sugary substance.
Frozen fruit or fruit that are canned in fruit juice are allowed, not those in heavy syrup. Use no-sugar-added apple sauce and sugar free jams. Avoid fruit “drinks” because they are high in corn syrup. The best fruit are those who are low on the Glycemic index.
3 ounces of these fruits contain 10g of carbs:
- Watermelon – even though it has some carbs, watermelon is full with water as well which offsets the higher Glycemic index.
Fruits to count:
Some fruits should be carefully eaten although they are high in nutritional value. The sugar content in these is abnormally high and can make it difficult to manage diabetes. Eat them in small portions only.
So if you have diabetes, do not avoid fruits. Fruits have almost all the same advantages as vegetables; they are high in fiber, full of nutrients and they are loaded with antioxidants that help protect the nerves, the eyes and the heart from free radicals. Many nutrients are found in the skin of the fruit and in the flesh and seeds so you lose a lot by juicing. Eat from the farm, they say, and stay healthy.