November is American Diabetes Month. Nearly 30 million children and adults in the US have diabetes, and another 86 million Americans have prediabetes, which puts them at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes. At Festival, we are committed to the health and wellness of our guests and the communities we serve. Whether you have diabetes, have a family member or friend with diabetes, or are looking for ways to help lower your risk for diabetes, here are a few great tips to help you shop carb smart throughout the grocery store. Produce
- Non-Starchy Veggies
- These veggies are naturally high in fiber and low in carbohydrates. They’re a great option for snacking or adding to meals. Try to get at least 3-5 servings of veggies per day. A great way to do this is to focus on making HALF of your plate non-starchy vegetables at lunch and dinner.
- Look for: Brussels sprouts, carrots, asparagus, beets, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, kale, greens, cucumbers, onions, zucchini, tomatoes
- Starchy Veggies
- While starchy veggies have more carbohydrates than non-starchy veggies, they still provide important vitamins, minerals and fiber. Just remember to keep portions small since these vegetables still count towards your daily carbohydrate intake.
- Look for: sweet potatoes, green peas, winter squash, corn, potatoes
- Fresh Fruit
- Just like starchy veggies, fruits have natural sugars, so they will count towards your daily carbohydrate intake. But, fruits are also packed with vitamins, minerals and fiber, making them a great addition to meals and snacks!
- Look for: citrus fruits, berries, pears, apples
Meat, Poultry, Eggs &Seafood
- As always, we recommend to “go lean with protein!” This means choosing skinless, white meat chicken and turkey, and lean cuts of pork and beef that are lower in saturated fat. Also, try to limit meats and seafood that have been breaded and/or fried.
- Add variety to your protein choices by scrambling or boiling an egg.
- Try to eat fish at least two times a week. Fish that are especially heart healthy include tuna, salmon, mackerel and haddock, because they are packed with Omega-3 fatty acids (aka the good fats!)
- While milk does provide 12 grams of carbohydrate per cup, it is also a great source of protein, calcium and vitamin D. Choose low fat or fat free options when possible.
- Some nonfat or low fat Greek yogurts have twice the protein of regular yogurts. Look for “light” varieties of Greek yogurt and regular yogurt with minimal added sugar and 0% fat per serving!
- While 100% fruit juice can be a nutritious option, aim to get more fruit servings through whole fruits which contain beneficial fiber.
- Choose zero-calorie or very low-calorie drinks.
- Look for: water, zero-calorie water flavor packets (i.e. Crystal Light®, True Lemon®), unsweetened tea, coffee, calorie-free beverages
- It is true that beans, legumes, peas and lentils count as a starch. But, they are also a low fat source of protein and fiber. Try to include these items in your meals several times a week.
- Look for: black beans, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, pinto beans, lima beans, black-eyed peas, split peas, edamame, nuts, seeds, nut butters, hummus
- While low-carb breads and pastas seem to be trendy, they are often lacking in fiber and other nutrients naturally found in whole grains. Since fiber has a positive impact on blood sugar, whole grain options are encouraged whenever possible.
- Be sure that a product is whole grain by checking the ingredients list. The first word should be “whole”, or check for the Whole Grain Stamp on the packaging.
- Look for: bran cereal, brown rice, wild rice whole grain breads and pastas, corn tortillas, oats, barley, couscous, polenta, quinoa, Eat Well cookies
Spreads & Oils
- Choose vegetable oils or plant-based spreads that have no partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. Use oils and spreads sparingly since they are high in calories.
- Look for: olive oil, corn oil, cottonseed oil, flaxseed oil, grapeseed oil, safflower oil, soybean oil, sunflower oil, lower-fat spread with no trans fats
And, if you’re still in need of some new diabetes-friendly recipe ideas, or if you want to find out which heart healthy products Festival’s Dietitians can’t get enough of, subscribe to our weekly Heart Health Newsletter to get the scoop! Brittany Nikolich is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) with Festival Foods and is certified by the State of WI.