Diabetes Diet: Foods to Avoid
Things like fried fish, candy and too much alcohol are poor choices for anyone, but diabetics have a longer list of foods to avoid than the average person, and some of those foods may not be so obvious. This is why we will be going over foods to avoid when it comes to a diabetes diet. We will also discuss grocery shopping tips for finding the right foods, as well as meal delivery services that are suitable for diabetics.
To sidestep serious complications, people with insulin resistance and blood sugar problems need to craft a menu with the right amount of carbohydrates, the right type of carbohydrates and a careful balance of the other nutrients necessary for good health. Straying too far from your diabetic diet plan can burden you with more than a few unwanted pounds, so be sure to keep these foods far away from your kitchen table.
How to Find the Right Foods
Before we talk about foods to avoid, you should learn how to find the right foods, as you will have to prepare to substitute your current meals for healthier ones. Firstly, discuss any diet changes with your doctor. Not only will they be able to recommend you the best foods, but they may also refer you to a dietician or nutritionist to make sure you are eating the right nutrients to keep your blood sugar in check.
Grocery Shopping Tips for Diabetics
Diabetics need to pay more attention to the ingredients of food when shopping. This might seem frustrating to you, so here are some tips to make this process go more smoothly:
- Do weekly meal planning.
- make a list of the foods you need (write it down, don't just keep it in your head).
- Review your blood glucose levels before leaving, as you may buy more unhealthy products on an empty stomach.
- Read all the labels.
- Make sure you have a colorful selection of produce.
- Get meats and fish that are high in omega-3s.
Best Meal Delivery Services for Diabetics
If you are looking for a more creative and convenient option for meal prepping and planning, then meal kits and meal delivery services might be the best option for you. They come right to your door with ready-to-go ingredients. Here are some of the best ones for diabetics.
1. Sam's Club
Sam's Club offers a convenient and reliable meal delivery service, allowing customers to enjoy delicious and wholesome meals from the comfort of their homes. With a wide selection of fresh ingredients, pre-packaged meals and ready-to-cook options, Sam's Club ensures that members can easily access high-quality and satisfying meals without the hassle of grocery shopping or meal preparation.
2. LA Meal Prep
LA Meal Prep is a premier meal delivery service in Los Angeles, offering a convenient and healthy solution for busy individuals and families. Their customizable meal plans cater to various dietary preferences, providing delicious and nutritious meals made from fresh, locally sourced ingredients. With their emphasis on taste, quality and convenience, LA Meal Prep ensures that customers can enjoy chef-prepared meals without the stress of cooking or meal planning.
3. Sun Basket
If you are looking for a low-carb option, then Sun Basket should be your go-to. The great thing about this company that others lack is that they have a Carb-Conscious plan that consists of meals under 35 grams of net carbs per portion. They also have a minimum of 20 grams of protein per meal. Sun Basket also comes in a variety of diet options: vegetarian, paleo, pescatarian and gluten-free.
4. Purple Carrot
If you are a diabetic who prefers plant-based options, then try Purple Carrot. The benefit of this brand is that they have a new meal to try every week, which means you will never get bored with your diet. This can also help you stay more consistent with your healthy eating habits. This delivery service spans all meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and includes foods like coconut ginger congee with crispy tofu.
5. Green Chef
Some diabetics like to follow a keto diet. If this is you, then Green Chef is where you should order from. All ingredients are organic, but this kit is made more for people who enjoy cooking, so if you aren't handy in the kitchen, then try looking for a simpler box. Many meals on this plan have less than 15 grams of carbs per serving, making it suitable for diabetics.
Here are some specific dishes you might want to try:
- Moroccan shrimp bisque with zucchini, tomato, feta, spiced yogurt and almonds.
- Sesame-ginger glazed barramundi with coconut cauliflower "rice," slaw and cilantro.
- Creamy chimichurri chicken and cabbage with cilantro, toasted pepitas and roasted zucchini
Foods Diabetics Should Avoid
1. Flavored Water
The veil has been lifted on vitamin water: with more calories and sugars than some juices or sodas, it is about as far away from pure and healthy water as you can get. Even though the label might advertise a relatively low amount of carbs and calories, keep in mind that the values are for one serving, and there are typically at least two servings in a bottle. Sports drinks are off limits for the same reasons, as are most other energy drinks. Luckily, you can spruce up water with fruits and herbs that add fresh and interesting flavor without the huge portion of carbohydrates.
Sure, juice technically comes from fruit, but it leaves behind the best parts of the produce. Essentially, the juice is the sugar and water from the fruit without any of the fiber, and fiber is the component that slows calorie absorption and blunts the effect of carbohydrates. So, even if it is 100% natural with no added sugar, fruit juice is a recipe for a big spike in blood sugar and should only be used to quickly bring glucose levels up in cases of hypoglycemia. Stick with a glass of water with a piece of juicy, high-fiber fruit on the side.
3. Dried Fruit
Although it is still fruit, your body cannot handle dried fruit nearly as well as fresh fruit. The reason is the concentration of sugars: when the fruit is dehydrated, all the water is drained and the relative sugar content shoots sky-high. Although they have some vitamins and minerals, dried cherries, blueberries, currants and raisins are essentially candy — a sugar delivery system that sends your blood sugar soaring out of control. Beware of snacks like trail mix, which may seem like a healthy alternative to salted nuts or potato chips on the surface, but could be a calorie-packed sugar fest on further inspection.
4. Sweet Condiments
Ketchup, relish even mayonnaise may seem like savory additions to hearty meals, but they are packed with sugar; corn syrup, cane juice or fructose is often the second or third ingredient on the label. Just like soda and candy, this sugar will elevate your blood glucose, but because these condiments often have a good deal of salt as well, you may not realize just how significantly they impact your metabolism. Sauces of all sorts are also usually high in calories, so it is best to give them a pass; lemon juice, grainy mustard, or plain Greek yogurt are healthy, low-sugar and low-fat substitutes.
5. Energy Bars
In most cases, energy bars are simply candy bars with better marketing. The sugar count and carbohydrate haul is typically through the roof – a glycemic load upwards of 49, which is well above a healthy allowance. Granola bars and breakfast granola raise the same concerns, with far too much-refined flour and sugar to be considered a healthy snack. The lesson here is to watch out for clever marketing ploys – buzzwords like healthy, natural and organic. Also, look deeper into the ingredient list before purchasing any processed food.
6. White Rice
All refined grains bring too many simple carbohydrates to the table, but white rice is particularly bad for diabetics. A recent study showed that diabetes risk can rise substantially — up to 11% — for every daily serving of white rice you consume. The problem is that all the fibrous husk has been removed, leaving just the starch, and starch has a major effect on blood sugar.
Jasmine rice and diabetes should not be combined. Brown rice is a good substitute, or better yet, opt for wild rice. It's lower in sugar and calories. Wild rice (which is a seed from marsh grass) is packed with an array of wholesome nutrients and minerals without starch.
7. Artificial Sweeteners
They might not be sugar, but that does not mean artificial sweeteners don’t carry some similar risks. Research shows that sugar substitutes like aspartame, sucralose and saccharin are worse for diabetics than they may seem; there may be fewer calories in a serving, but they will slow down your metabolism and encourage your body to store fat, leading to a greater diabetes risk, setting the stage for complications. Even though too much sugar can be dangerous, if you need to have something sweet, it is best to have natural sugars in moderate amounts, as your body can process them much better than artificial sweeteners.
White pasta is at the top of the list of offenders when it comes to blood glucose since it is so high in starch and so easily digested. Not only does the huge help of simple carbohydrates interrupt your metabolism, but it also tends to move quickly through your digestive system, which leaves you feeling hungry for more food before you know it. Whole wheat pasta or brown rice pasta is better since the fiber ensures a steadier rise in blood sugar than the refined varieties, but you should still be careful about your serving size. Limit yourself to a 1/2 cup of cooked pasta at any meal, and top it with plenty of fresh veggies and a handful of nuts to round out the dish.
9. Coffee Drinks
Caffeine isn’t necessarily bad for your diabetes management, but how you take it in could be sabotaging your efforts. Fancy coffee drinks are tempting, with their whipped cream and flavor shots, but many have far too many calories and carbs. A medium-sized coffee drink with cream and chocolate can have more than 400 calories and 15 grams of fat! It’s alright to have a comforting full-fat cappuccino or hot chocolate on occasion, but try to stick to coffee with a dash of 2% milk or else switch to herbal tea with a drizzle of honey. It may be challenging at first, but after a week or two of trimmed-down beverages, you will likely lose the taste of super-sweet drinks.
10. Cured or Processed Meat
Protein is an important part of any diet, but poor-quality proteins can complicate your diabetes management. For instance, bacon, cold cuts and store-bought burgers, meatballs or chicken strips are packed with sodium and fat, which are two major players in heart disease. Diabetics are already at a higher risk for cardiovascular problems, so it is important to limit your salt intake and stick to lean proteins. In addition to skipping the deli counter, try going vegetarian a couple of days each week, swapping meat for chickpeas, eggs, or tofu; you will get a big boost of important minerals and save on fat and calories.
Crafting a healthy menu can be easier said than done. Start by eliminating these big offenders, but do not limit your choices too much. Variety is the key to enjoying your healthier diet – try fresh seasonal dishes, new cuisines and different styles of preparation to keep things interesting while you stay on track.