21 Cupboard Essentials for a Diabetes Diet

Hello there! We at the business desk are pleased to bring you some very
important tips for diabetics.
The Sterling Creations team

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21 Cupboard Essentials for a Diabetes Diet

by Madeline Vann, MPH

Braille Monitor
October 2012

Medically reviewed by Farrokh Sohrabi, MD

From the Editor: the following good advice is reprinted from
. It is useful information for anyone interested in
healthy eating, not just diabetics.

Healthy food choices are key to a good diabetes diet. But, when you get home
after a long day, the last thing you want to do is go to the grocery store.
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just whip up a quick meal or snack with
basic ingredients? It’s surprisingly simple if you just rethink your weekly
shopping list. You can easily create a pantry stocked with dozens of
delicious options to create healthy meals for diabetes.

Stocking your pantry with the right foods can help you succeed with your
diabetes diet, and the reason is very simple: “It’s more likely that, if
healthy food choices are available, you’ll choose them,” says Susie
Villalobos, LDN, RD, program coordinator for the Tulane Center for Diabetes
and Endocrine Weight Management Program in New Orleans.

Make restocking your pantry an easy-to-attain goal. That way, says Cathy
Kapica, PhD, RD, an adjunct professor of nutrition at Tufts University in
Boston and director of Global Health and Wellness at Ketchum in Chicago,
you’ll always have some convenient diabetes-friendly foods on hand. Make
room in your cupboard by reducing or eliminating foods that you don’t need
to include in your diabetes diet, such as candy, cookies, cake, sweet rolls,
white bread, pretzels, crackers, soda, and fruit drinks.

Your Diabetes Diet Shopping List: If your pantry shelves are somewhat bare,
take heart. Work your way through this list to create an arsenal of healthy
food choices for diabetes:

a. Canned vegetables. “It’s easy to add a can of vegetables to almost any
recipe to boost nutrition,” Kapica says, who recommends keeping no-salt or
low-salt canned green beans, mushrooms, and spinach on hand.

b. Canned fruit. Look for fruit that’s packed in its own juice instead of
syrup.

c. Canned beans. “Beans are nutritious and have a lot of fiber,” says Nessie
Ferguson, RD, a diabetes educator and nutritionist at the Nebraska Medical
Center in Omaha. Add them to soups or salads. Look for beans that don’t
contain sodium, or rinse them for about a minute under water to cut the
sodium content.

d. Canned soup. Soup is great to have on hand, but it can have fairly high
sodium content. Look for labels that say “low sodium” to keep salt under
control.

e. Canned tomato products. Tomato paste, tomato sauces, and diced tomatoes
are healthy, versatile cooking essentials.

f. Canned fish. Stock up on tuna, salmon, and sardines packed in water–and
always check the sodium content. Canned fish can make a quick filling for a
sandwich and a tasty addition to salads, soups, and whole-grain pasta
dishes. Plus they’re a reasonably priced way to help you meet the American
Heart Association’s health goal of at least two servings of fish a week.

g. Canned chicken. This is a good backup source of protein to add to quick
meals.

h. Roasted red peppers. Ferguson says roasted red peppers make a tasty
addition to a variety of dishes, from salads to rice.

i. Whole-grain products. Look for whole-grain pastas and other whole grains
such as oatmeal, quinoa, polenta, kasha, and wild rice blends, which you can
cook for a side dish or use as a base for a meal.

j. Salsa. A jar of salsa makes a healthy dip for raw vegetables, a zesty
base for a bean soup, and even a tasty salad topping. But read labels to
steer clear of too much added sugar and salt.

k. Nuts. Almonds, walnuts, and hazelnuts are healthy snacks and great to
have on hand, but eat them in moderation. One serving of shelled nuts is
about two tablespoons. “Nuts have fiber and will keep you feeling full,”
Ferguson says, who recommends buying them in the shell when possible because
the time it takes to crack open the nuts can keep you from overeating.

l. Dried herbs and spices. “Pepper, cinnamon, curry, oregano, rosemary, and
other seasonings without salt are key cooking ingredients to have on hand,”
Kapica says. They all add unique flavors without relying on salt and butter.

m. Vinegars. A variety of vinegars–such as white vinegar, apple cider
vinegar, and balsamic vinaigrette–means you have interesting taste
additions for marinades and salad dressings.

n. Low-fat dressings. Another option for marinades and salads, low-fat
dressings are also an instant dip for veggies.

o. Low-salt soy sauce. This flavorful condiment adds an Asian flair to
dishes like stir-fry and vegetable fried rice.

p. Sugar-free gelatin. This is a safe, sweet treat for your pantry. If you
can have a bag of chocolate chips, chocolate kisses, or mini cookies around
and not eat more than one or two, that’s okay, Villalobos says. But, if
temptation always wins out, keep your dessert shelf a sugar-free zone with
instant gelatin instead.

q. Sugar-free syrup. This adds a sweet note to whole-grain pancakes and
fruit–an excellent breakfast choice for healthy diabetes eating.

r. Cooking spray. Your favorite cooking spray can help you produce dozens of
healthy meals for diabetes without added fat.

s. Whole-wheat flour. “If you like to bake, you can cut any flour mix with
whole-wheat flour,” Ferguson says. Try replacing half of the white flour in
your baking recipes with whole-wheat flour.

t. Beverages. Keep club soda, low-sodium tomato juice, and low-calorie
powdered drink mixes in the pantry for beverage variety.

u. Popcorn. Popcorn is an excellent snack, especially if you pop your own in
a hot-air popper, which doesn’t need any oil. Serve with a sprinkle of
spices from your collection rather than salt and butter.

Whether you love cooking or not, this pantry list will let you get as
creative as you want. However, if you’re new to cooking or are unsure of how
to make the needed adjustments for a healthy diabetes diet, talk with a
diabetes educator or contact your local American Diabetes Association
chapter to learn more and find healthy cooking classes in your area. “People
learn to cook better if they see a dish made and know they can do it
themselves,” Ferguson says.

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