My Top 5 Favorite Diabetic-Friendly Items

My Top 5 Favorite Diabetic-Friendly Items

Apr 15, 2022Paige Green, RD, LD

The number of cases of both pre-diabetes and diabetes are rapidly increasing across the United States, not only among adults, but with children, too. Many people assume that when you have diabetes, you need to completely remove carbs from the diet. However, carbohydrates are the foundation of a healthy diet, regardless if you have diabetes or not. If you need more convincing that pasta and breads can be enjoyed once again, continue reading as your Hy-Vee registered dietitian highlights foods that will keep your blood sugars steady (carbs included!).

  1. Quinoa: When placed on a diabetic diet, it’s assumed carbs need to be limited – and they do, but not how you’d think. Carbohydrates are good for us, for our waistline, and for leaving us feeling satisfied. (Enjoying these in excessive portions may tip the scale and our blood sugars, but we all know that). The goal? Look for carbs that are dense in fiber, like quinoa. (And keep the baked goods, candies and sugar-sweetened beverages to a minimum.) Quinoa cooks up just like rice and can be enjoyed either warm in soup or chilled in a salad.
    • Diabetic Tip: If you’re not already looking at the Nutrition Facts Label on a food product, now is the time to start! A high-fiber product is one that includes more than 3 grams of fiber per serving. Men should strive for 38g of fiber per day, and women should shoot for 25g of fiber daily.
    • Product recommendation: Full Circle Organic Quinoa
  2. Greek Yogurt: A perfect, pre-portioned, protein-packed snack? Check! Greek yogurt is a great go-to option when the 2 p.m. slump occurs. This creamy choice contains both carbs and protein, which is the perfect combo when controlling hunger levels. Plus, fueling your body with these two important food groups is key in preventing spikes in blood sugar levels.  
    • Diabetic Tip: Greek yogurt has twice has much protein as regular yogurt, yet it’s still important to select an option that keeps sugar in check. Check the label and find one that contains less than 8 grams of added sugar.
  3. Berries: Fruit is a carbohydrate and is often restricted on many diet plans because it contains “too much sugar.” However, the sugar found in fruit is from natural sugar – plus it contains vitamins and fiber, filling you up and keeping you healthy. If a diet plan states that fruit is off limits – run. Fruit is one of the best, most wholesome ways to curb a sweet tooth.  
    • Diabetic Tip: Include 2 servings of fruit each day. One serving = ½ a medium banana, 1 cup raspberries, 1 cup whole strawberries (fresh or frozen), or 1 small apple.
  4. Oats: Another carbohydrate, oats are a great option on a diabetic meal plan. Oats are a great source of filling fiber, plus they contain only 30 grams of carbs for a 1-cup serving size. Oatmeal, whether warmed or enjoyed as overnight oats, is an easy breakfast idea.
  5. Zucchini: Include some zoodles, or zucchini noodles, to the menu to keep total carbs in check. Zucchini is one of the most versatile veggies out there, and zoodles make a great companion to whole-wheat noodles.
    • Diabetic Tip: Portion control is the name of the game when it comes to following a diabetic diet. If you’re not satisfied after a meal, non-starchy veggies – like zucchini – can help fill you up without sending your blood sugars on a roller coaster ride.

There are plenty of tasty dinners a diabetic can enjoy, but finding one that’s quick and easy – now that’s a winner. Check out this delicious dish below. Note: if you don’t have time to spiralizer your own zucchini for this recipe, reach for  pre-spiralized zucchini instead.



Chicken Zoodle Pesto

Serves 4

All you need:

  • 2 medium zucchinis
  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 (8-oz) package sliced mushrooms
  • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • ¾ cup pesto
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken

All you do:

  1. Use a spiralizer to create zucchini noodles. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms, tomatoes and zoodles. Cook until softened, about 3-5 minutes.
  3. Stir in pesto and season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Add shredded chicken and cook until warmed through.
*The blog articles, recipes and recommendations found on this site are not intended as medical advice and should not replace consulting with your medical provider. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.



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