When you first start eating a diabetes diet, you’ll be thinking a lot about the foods you should avoid. This can be rather depressing and leave you wondering what is safe to eat. In fact there are lots of healthy options out there, and introducing some new foods to your diet can help make up for losing others.
The most important features of a diabetes diet are that it should be balanced and low in sugars and easily processed carbohydrates. The best foods for you to eat are whole foods, with most grains, fruits and leafy or root vegetables safe as long as you don’t overindulge. Lean meat, fish, beans, nuts, cheese, soya, quorn and seitan are all safe sources of protein.
Avocados, apples, melons, grapefruit, cranberries and blueberries are packed with healthy vitamins and minerals and can provide the sweetness you may miss. Eat them in small quantities and spread them throughout the day to avoid problems.
Carrots, radishes, broccoli, spinach and asparagus are all healthy vegetables you can safely eat. They’re good for meals and for snacking. If you suffer from attacks of hypoglycaemia (when you blood glucose levels drop too low), it’s a good idea to incorporate healthy snacks into your diabetes diet.
Porridge is great for breakfast and, because it releases sugars slowly, can help you to keep your blood glucose levels steady throughout the morning. Oatcakes make a great substitute for high sugar crackers or biscuits.
Tea has been linked to a lower risk of heart disease so it’s a great choice for diabetics, who are at higher risk than the general population. Fruit teas are a great way to satisfy your sweet tooth and are usually safe, but avoid bottled varieties which are more likely to have added sugar.
You should be cautious about foods that look like things you’ve been advised not to try but say ‘suitable for diabetics’ on the label. Often they’re not really very different and they could still make you ill. If you’re really tempted by something like this, ask your diabetic nurse or dietician for advice.