12 of the best foods for people with diabetes


According to the American Diabetes Association, 30.3 million Americans, or 9.4 percent of the population, had diabetes as of 2015. As more people learn to live with this common disease, they usually have to make diet changes to best manage their condition.

If you or someone you love has diabetes, you may be overwhelmed with all of the advice out there about which foods are most healthful to eat if you’re diabetic. While you should consult with your doctor before making any major nutritional changes to your diet, there are some common foods that have been proven to be a part of a healthy diet for people living with diabetes. Check out these 11 foods that may be beneficial for diabetic individuals.

1. Salmon

You’ve likely heard about the many nutritional benefits of eating more fatty fish like salmon. Because it’s packed with omega-3 fatty acids, salmon is great for reducing the risk of heart disease, keeping your weight in check and improving insulin resistance, which is the driving force behind diabetes.

salmon photo
Flickr | mdid

2. Berries

If you have diabetes, you know that you need to watch your sugar intake. But that doesn’t mean everything that tastes sweet is off the menu. The carbohydrates in berries are balanced by their high amount of fiber, meaning they won’t spike your blood sugar like some other carb sources. And since they’re naturally sweet, you won’t feel like you’re missing out!

blueberries photo
Getty Images | Sean Gallup

3. Peanut Butter

Peanut butter may taste creamy and indulgent, but it’s actually pretty good for you. The combination of low carb content paired with healthy fats can help keep your blood sugar steady while also keeping you full for a long time, guarding against overeating. Make sure your peanut butter does not have any added sugar, and keep your portion sizes in check, because it is relatively high in calories.

peanut butter photo
Flickr | JeepersMedia

4. Beans

Beans are versatile and come in many varieties, making them a great addition to soups, salads and more. Because of their low glycemic index, beans will have minimal impact on your blood sugar, while their high protein and fiber content will fill you up.

beans photo
Flickr | grongar

5. Eggs

Eggs are carb-free and packed with protein as well as omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids, vitamin A, D and some B vitamins, making them a nutritional powerhouse for anyone. Plus, the prior concerns about the cholesterol in eggs have been largely disproven, making them a healthy part of a diabetes-friendly diet.

eggs photo
Getty Images | Andreas Rentz

6. Shirataki Noodles

When you have diabetes, you probably need to limit your consumption of carb-heavy traditional pasta. But you can still get your fix with shirataki noodles, which are a low-carb, high-fiber alternative. They’re made from a yam-like tuber, which is soaked in liquid and shredded into “noodles.”

shirataki noodles photo
Flickr | miheco

7. Broccoli

Broccoli is a non-starchy, low-calorie, high-fiber, high-vitamin vegetable that is great for everything from preventing cancer and heart disease to, yes, managing diabetes. Thanks to the antioxidant compound sulforaphane found in broccoli, it can help lower blood sugar.

broccoli photo
Flickr | [puamelia]

8. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are full of lycopene, which can prevent cancer, heart disease and macular degeneration. They are also considered a non-starchy fruit, meaning they won’t cause your blood sugar to skyrocket, and a study found they can also lower blood pressure, thereby reducing the cardiovascular risk associated with diabetes.

tomatoes photo
Flickr | Cooking etc.

9. Lentils

The lentil is a hearty, edible pulse (the dried seed of a legume). Common in South Asian cuisine, lentils are great for diabetics because they are full of resistant starch, which does not get digested and actually feeds the healthy bacteria at the bottom of your digestive tract. As a result, lentils have little impact on blood sugar.

lentils photo
Getty Images | Sean Gallup

10. Avocado

High in healthy fats, avocados are great in Mexican food, smoothies and simply spread on toast, just to name a few popular uses. “Avocados contain a significant amount of healthful fats and dietary fiber, which help slow carbohydrate digestion and absorption and prevent spikes in blood sugar,” Jackie Newgent, author of “The All-Natural Diabetes Cookbook,” told Eat This, Not That.

avocado photo
Getty Images | Sean Gallup

11. Garlic

When managing diabetes, you may be working on cutting back on added salt and sugar in your diet. However, that doesn’t mean you have to forgo flavor. Garlic can punch up a variety of dishes, and it may help manage blood sugar as well as reduce the incidence of heart disease, which is more common among diabetics.

garlic photo
Getty Images | Ben Pruchnie

12. Zucchini

Thanks to their mild taste and texture, zucchini can make for a great low-carb pasta alternative. Vegetables are the foundation of healthy eating for diabetics and non-diabetics alike, and zucchini is the perfect way to sneak in more veggies, like with this grilled zucchini paired with feta cheese.

zucchini photo
Getty Images | Sean Gallup

Food, Health
, , ,

Related posts

Healthy frozen entrees
15 of the healthiest frozen meals you can find in the freezer aisle
Mark Andrews of the Baltimore Ravens
NFL player Mark Andrews helps save woman's life mid-flight with diabetic test kit
kitten looking up at camera
Human foods that are safe for your cat to eat
Nutritionists share what they order at 10 fast food restaurants

About the Author
Kate Streit
Kate Streit lives in Chicago. She enjoys stand-up comedy, mystery novels, memoirs, summer and pumpkin spice anything.

From our partners