Comparison shop and read labels on your weekly grocery trips
You have diabetes. That doesn’t mean you have to shop on a special aisle or purchase special foods. But you will need to make choices. If you comparison shop and read food labels, you can find the healthiest foods for you and your family.
Compare items to find the best ones for your needs. Remember:
- No sugar added does not mean sugar free.
- Low fat means 3 grams of fat or less per serving. Reduced fat or less fat means 25 percent less fat than the regular version. Some of this fat may be saturated or trans fat. And calories per serving may be similar to the regular version.
- Fat free means less than 1/2 gram of fat per serving. This does not necessarily mean the food is low in calories.
Make small changes. Don’t try to change all of your less-than-healthy eating habits at once. Start small:
- Load up on fresh or frozen vegetables. If you have to buy canned, choose ones marked low sodium.
- Try fat-free or low-fat dairy products. Also try leaner cuts of meat. This will help you cut down on saturated fat.
- Select whole-grain breads, whole-wheat pasta and brown rice.
- Cut saturated fat by trying tofu or meat substitutes.
- Avoid processed foods. They are low in fiber and high in sodium and trans fats.
- Learn to read food labels. Healthy foods can help you control blood sugar, so learn how to read food labels. These will tell you how much sugar, carbohydrate, fat and fiber is in a serving.
Plan meals. For good blood sugar control, planning is key. Create a meal plan that includes all the food groups. Then, time your meals to help keep your blood sugar level steady. Adjust your plan for special situations and occasions.
- The basis of a healthy meal plan is variety. Make sure to include lean meats, fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and low-fat or non-fat dairy products. Eating a wide variety of foods provides the nutrients your body needs—and keeps you from getting bored.
- Extra calories and added sugar in sodas, fruit drinks and sports drinks make it hard to keep blood sugar in range, so eliminate as many liquid sugars from your meal plan as you can. Replace them with lots of water and other sugar-free beverages.
- If losing weight is part of your goal, reduce the amount of fat in your diet. Use small amounts of liquid oil for cooking, and read food labels carefully to avoid foods with unhealthy trans fats.
- When you eat is as important as what you eat when it comes to blood sugar control. You may need to eat several small meals throughout the day to stay in your target range. So don’t skip breakfast or wait until late in the day to get most of your calories.
- Remove skin from chicken and turkey.
- Broil, steam, bake or grill meats and vegetables.
- Season foods with herbs, vegetable purée, or lemon or lime juice instead of cream-based sauces or sugary glazes.
- Find easy, low-fat, low-sugar recipes in cookbooks. When making your usual food creations, cut sugar by 1/2 and fat by 1/3.