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Type 2 Diabetes – Best and Worst Food List

If you have Type 2 diabetes, it’s hard to know what foods to eat and what foods to avoid. Don’t panic if you don’t know the best diet to controlling your type 2 diabetes, I have listed some of the best foods and worst foods to help you know. A good Type 2 diabetes diet is what you need to help maintain your blood sugar levels and even reverse diabetes in some cases. A controlling Type 2 diabetes diet doesn’t mean you have to give up good food. You will still be able to enjoy a wide range of type 2 diabetes foods to eat that will help you with control your disease and, in rare cases, even reverse the type 2 diabetes.

Your food choices matter a lot when you’ve got diabetes. Some are better than others. Nothing is completely off-limits. Even items that you might think of as “the worst” could be occasional treats in tiny amounts. But they won’t help you nutrition-wise, and it’s easier controlling your type 2 diabetes if you mainly stick to the “best” options.

Best Foods – Controlling Diabetes

HEALTHY LUNCH SALAD

One best food groups for controlling your Type 2 Diabetes are healthy choices include lean protein, seeds, nuts, whole grains, fat-free or low-fat dairy, and healthy fats and fresh fruits.

YOUR BODY NEEDS CARBS

  • Whole grains, such as brown rice, oatmeal, quinoa, millet, or amaranth
    Baked sweet potato
  • Items made with whole grains and no (or very little) added sugar

VEGETABLES – You’ll get fiber and very little fat or salt. Remember, potatoes and corn count as carbs. Go for a variety of colors: dark greens, red or orange (think of carrots or red peppers), whites (onions) and even purple (eggplants).

  • Fresh veggies, eaten raw or lightly steamed, roasted, or grilled
  • Plain frozen vegetables, lightly steamed
  • Greens such as kale, spinach, and arugula. Iceberg lettuce is not as great because it’s low in nutrients.
  • Low sodium or unsalted canned vegetables

BEST PROTEIN OPTIONS

  • Fatty fish
  • Skinless turkey
  • Canned tuna in water
  • Beans and legumes
  • Skinless chicken
  • Plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
  • Raw, unsalted nuts, such as almonds and walnuts (in moderation)
  • Eggs
  • Tofu

FRUITS – They give you carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Most are naturally low in fat and sodium. But they tend to have more carbs than vegetables do.

  • Berries, like blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries
  • Peaches with the skin on
  • Oranges
  • Pears with the skin on
  • Bananas
  • Kiwi
  • Apples with the skin on
  • Grapes
  • Melon
  • Cherries
  • Apricots with the skin on
  • Plain frozen fruit or fruit canned without added sugar
  • Sugar-free or low-sugar jam or preserves
  • No-sugar-added applesauce

FATS – Here is a list of the best fats for a type 2 diabetes diet

  • Avocados
  • Nut butter
  • Seeds, like flax seed, and chia seed
  • Tofu
  • Nuts, like almonds, pecans, walnuts, and pistachios
  • Plant-based oils, like soybean oil, corn oil, olive oil, and sunflower oil
  • Olives
  • Edamame
  • Fish, like salmon and tuna

DAIRY – Keep it low in fat. If you want to splurge, keep your portion small.

  • 1% or skim milk
  • Low-fat yogurt
  • Low-fat cottage cheese
  • Low-fat or nonfat sour cream

Foods To Avoid With Diabetes – Worst Choices

FAST FOOD

CARBS YOU DON’T NEED

  • Processed grains, such as white rice or white flour
  • Cereals with little whole grains and lots of sugar
  • White bread
  • French fries
  • Fried white-flour tortillas

VEGETABLES

  • Corn
  • Yams
  • Beets
  • Sweet and white potatoes
  • Pea
  • Canned vegetables with lots of added sodium
  • Veggies cooked with lots of added butter, cheese, or sauce
  • Pickles, if you need to limit sodium. Otherwise, pickles are OK.
  • Sauerkraut, for the same reason as pickles. Limit them if you have high blood pressur

WORST PROTEIN CHOICES

  • Hot dogs
  • All sorts of deli meats, such as salami, bologna, ham, turkey, and roast beef
  • Beef jerky
  • Sweetened or flavored nuts, like honey-roasted or spicy
  • Sausages and pepperoni
  • Sweetened protein shakes or smoothies
  • Bacon

FRUITS

  • Dried fruits
  • Fresh juices that are part of fad cleanses
  • Canned fruit in syrup
  • Packaged juices
  • Chewy fruit rolls
  • Regular jam, jelly, and preserves (unless you have a very small portion)
  • Sweetened applesauce
  • Fruit punch, fruit drinks, fruit juice drinks

FATS

  • Any kind of fast food
  • All sorts of packaged snacks, such as potato chips, crackers, and corn chips
  • Full-fat dairy products
  • Beef, veal, lamb, and pork
  • All kind of processed sweets, such as cookies, doughnuts, muffins, and cakes
  • Coconut and palm oil

The Best and Worst Drinks

BEST CHOICES – When you down a favorite drink, you may get more calories, sugar, salt, or fat than you bargained for. Read the labels so you know what’s in a serving.

  • Unflavored water or flavored sparkling water
  • Unsweetened tea with or without a slice of lemon
  • Light beer, small amounts of wine, or non-fruity mixed drinks
  • Coffee, black or with added low-fat milk and sugar substitute

DRINKS TO AVOID

  • Regular sodas
  • Regular beer, fruity mixed drinks, dessert wines
  • Sweetened tea
  • Coffee with sugar and cream
  • Flavored coffees and chocolate drinks
  • Energy drinks

The Best and Worst Dairy

DAIRY Keep it low in fat. If you want to splurge, keep your portion small.

  • 1% or skim milk
  • Low-fat yogurt
  • Low-fat cottage cheese
  • Low-fat or nonfat sour cream

WORST CHOICES

  • Whole milk
  • Regular yogurt
  • Regular cottage cheese
  • Regular sour cream
  • Regular ice cream
  • Regular half-and-half

A FEW POINT ON LIVING HEALTHY LIFESTYLE

For those who are looking to control their Type 2 Diabetes, and looking for a healthy way to eat, I hope this information is beneficial to you. Before making any big changes in your diet or lifestyle consult your doctor, ask what would be best for you and your needs to control your type 2 diabetes. Controlling your blood sugar level and having regular diabetes check-ups is the best way to lower your risk of complications. You should have your cholesterol (blood fats) and blood pressure checked at least once a year.

Diabetes increases your risk of heart disease and stroke, so it’s important that high blood pressure and high cholesterol are spotted and treated early. You should check your feet every day. Diabetes can reduce the blood supply to your feet and cause a loss of feeling. This means foot injuries don’t heal well and you may not notice if your foot is sore or injured. These problems can lead to ulcers and infections.

Chose wisely and live a healthy lifestyle.

dana beaver

6 Comments

  1. Great content in this article! I recently tried Hebrew National hotdogs. They aren’t made with pig intestines, but with real beef. They taste outstanding, and I would like to present them as an occasional meal that lacks the detriments of other hotdogs. 

    My great grandmother had diabetes. She lived to be 84 and ate pretty much whatever she wanted. Granted, she wasn’t big on candy, and she preferred her coffee black, but she ate a lot of fatty foods and dairy and made all kinds of meals with white flour. I’m not sure how that worked out. She never tested herself or administered shots. Maybe hers wasn’t that bad?

    I’m really glad you posted this. It’s truly a great source of information for anyone with diabetes, especially people who were recently diagnosed.

    • Thank You for your kind comment.  I really appreciate all the input and advise I can get.  If your Grandmother wasn’t taking any medications or insulin I would say she was controlling it very well with her food.  If she was like my grandmother she preferred good green veggies and carbs.  Sugar was something they were not accustom to and remember bad foods are ok if consumed in moderation and the diet is balanced.  

  2. This is a very useful post and I’ll embrace it as a guide. I have already bookmarked it for daily consultation.

    I haven’t been doing so bad after all concerning the meals I’ve been choosing. Yesterday I had skinless turkey. And today we’re planing to have beans and legumes. I also enjoy plain, nonfat Greek yogurt.

    • That’s great to hear Thank You!!  I have a few articles and recipes I’ll post in the future.  Just now getting to add images so it may be a bit, but I’ll get them there.  Keep up the good work on those choices. 

      DaLee

  3. Hi Dana,
    I’m a type 2 diabetic and I’ve found myself craving foods that contain a lot of sugar and carbs that have lots of calories like French fries. The cravings are especially bad after a workout. Your list of the best foods for diabetics looks like it may help in helping these cravings as they look to have less calories and sugars than I normally eat.
    Do you think these foods will help in curving my cravings?
    Thanks for the informative post.
    Bob

    • Hi Bob,
      Cravings are tough! Most cravings are habits developed before you were diagnosed. My guess would be that after a workout you would reward yourself with a high carbs treat, like French Fries. There are however tips on how to change these habits, I have a post planned on these tips, will be posting it soon. If you believe this could be the case that posting should be of help. Finding alternative foods will help in any case. Thank you for reading my post and continue the healthy chooses.
      DaLee

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