Now some of the diabetes diet information presented below may be slightly different to what you are used to seeing. That’s because there are quite a few flaws in the common diet prescription for type 2 diabetes.
In our work with clients we’ve discovered that a ‘real food’ approach to eating has helped control type 2 diabetes the most. That’s because there is more to managing diabetes than just counting cabrs!
So we’ve put together this type 2 diabetes diet food list that will give you a great place to start.
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Type 2 Diabetes Diet Food List
Every meal should contain a source of protein for energy production and to fuel the creation of new cells. Below is a list of good protein sources to choose from. Protein also helps to satisfy the appetite, keeping you fuller longer.
Lean beef; veal, flank steak, extra lean mince, sirloin steak, chuck steak, lamb.
Lean cuts of pork; pork chops or loin.
Chicken, turkey, duck, quail, goose.
Tuna, salmon, cod, trout, bass, flatfish, whitehead, mackerel, herring, eel, haddock, red snapper, trout, drum, walleye, sardines and so forth.
Crab, lobster, prawns, shrimp, oysters, mussels, clams, scallops, abalone, crayfish.
Venison, wild boar, kangaroo, deer, pheasant, moose, wild turkey, alligator, emu, ostrich, elk, bison, turtle. Many people don’t eat these types of meats but you can eat them if you like them.
Beef, pork, lamb, chicken livers. Beef, pork, lamb, chicken tongues, hearts, brains. Beef, pork, lamb, chicken marrow, kidneys. Many people don’t eat these types of meats either but you can eat them if you like them, and they are very good sources of vitamins and minerals.
Chicken, duck, goose, quail
Cottage cheese, reduced salt cheddar, plain greek yogurt
Vegetables are ALWAYS at the top of the list and you should be eating a minimum 5 serves a day. One serve is equal to half a cup. So 2.5 cups of veggies is your daily aim. Veggies are your predominant choice of carbohydrate. The great thing about that is they provide great nutritional value as they contain loads of vitamins, minerals, and other compounds that are beneficial to improving health.
Vegetables to choose from
Celery, beets, tomatoes, bell peppers, carrots, onions, leeks, kohlrabi, green onions, eggplant, cauliflower, broccoli, asparagus, cucumber, cabbage, brussel sprouts, artichoke, okra, zucchini, turnip, yellow summer squash, parsnip, swiss chard, pumpkin, radish, snow peas, and so forth.
Green Leafy Vegetables
Lettuce, seaweeds, alfalfa, spinach, collard greens, kale, beet greens, mustard greens, dandelion, fennel, swiss chard, watercress, turnip greens, rocket, endive, bok choy, chicory, radicchio, chinese cabbage, silverbeet. Try and get some green leafy veggies into your daily routine.
Your diet should consist of vegetables at every single meal. That’s one thing I see lacking a little bit in your plan at the moment.
There are so many different veggies to choose from so it’s time to start experimenting with adding more of them to your daily diet.
Fresh vegetables are good but you can also buy frozen veggies or tinned but if buying tinned look at the ingredients and choose ones without sugar and with reduced salt if possible.
Fresh & Dried Herbs
Parsley, thyme, lavender, mint, basil, rosemary, chives, tarragon, oregano, sage, dill, bay leaves, coriander/cilantro, and so forth.
Spices and natural flavour enhancers
Ginger, garlic, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, nutmeg, paprika, vanilla, cloves, chillies, stevia, garam masala, cajun, five spice, and so forth. Always check the labels when buying spice blends as some of them contain sugar and additives.
Brown rice and quinoa and some people do okay with whole oats for a porridge. Eat these only 1/2 cup per serving.
Pasta, rice and noodles
These can be overindulged in very easily so most people find it better to avoid them. But you can include in small portions. So 1/2 cup brown rice or pasta.
Two good low carb noodle options are:
- konjac noodles – these come in angel hair, fettucine and thin noodles and make a good substitute for pasta as well.
- and kelp noodles
Stick to 1 small apple or berries such as raspberries, strawberries, blueberries (just for a while).
Beans and Legumes
Adzuki beans, chickpeas, brown and red lentils, lima beans, borlotti beans, broad beans, fava beans, garbanzo, lima beans, navy beans, mung beans, and so forth.
Beans and legumes are a source of protein but they also contain carbohydrates. That’s why these are also best eaten only 1/2 cup at any one sitting.
Here is the net carbs for some of the beans (per 1/2 cup):
- Northern beans- 9 net carbs
- Lima beans- 15
- Black beans- 17
- Chickpeas (Garbanzo)- 15
- Lentils- 9
- Light red kidney beans- 16
- Navy beans- 12
- Pinto beans- 8
- Small red beans- 7
This gives you an idea on which ones to choose if you want to eat a slightly bigger serving. Beans and legumes are great because they do contain LOADS of soluble fiber, this helps digestive function and lowering cholesterol too.
It is best to avoid all types of sugar as much as you possibly can.
Stevia – an herb from South American and comes in both powder and liquid form. Stevia is low GI, contains no calories and has been attributed in some studies to aiding the pancreas and improving digestion. Liquid extract is a better choice because it’s less processed.
Xylitol or Erythritol – promoted recently as a healthy sugar substitutes, the ‘tols’ are sugar alcohols. Not really sugar or alcohol but named that way. Sugar alcohols are naturally occurring in lots of fruits and veggies. They do cause diarrhea, bloating, abdominal pain, gas and headaches in some people. Erythritol tends to be the more easily digested.
You can use these to sweeten things if necessary and they will not effect blood sugar.
Monounsaturated fats and in particular extra virgin olive oil also has some amazing anti-inflammatory properties, Monounsaturated fats also help lower cholesterol and have beneficial effects on blood glucose and a1c levels.
Foods to increase monounsaturated fats include:
- Oils such as – olive, hazelnut, avocado, sesame, and almond oils.
- Nuts – walnuts, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, pecans, sunflower seeds or butter, almonds, almond butter.
- Fish – herring fish, cod liver oil, sardines, and cod fish
You also want to increase Omega 3 fats. It would be great if you could take a cod liver oil or other fish oil supplement but if not include more of these foods.
- Tinned tuna
- Tinned salmon
- Tinned sardines or herring
- Chia seeds
All the tinned fish are quite cost effective if you buy them canned. Aim to eat at least one small tin per day at a meal or as a snack.
Try to include a serving of fish every day or every second day. Canned tuna, sardines, salmon, herring or mackerel. These have loads of nutritional value and are packed with Omega 3s which will help lower cholesterol and inflammation in your body.
Ways to add extra fat to your meals
- Drizzle olive oil over the top of meats and vegetables
- Add nuts and seeds to salads
Include a serving of some kind of healthy fats with every single meal. Along with protein it helps to fill you up and stop you getting hungry.
- macadamia nuts
- sunflower seeds
- sesame seeds
- tahini (sesame paste)
- almond butter
- sunflower butter
- berries such as raspberries, strawberries, blueberries
- Plain or greek yoghurt only – no sweetened or flavored yogurts, serve with some berries and a few nuts
- boiled eggs
- cottage cheese
- Veggie sticks dipped in cottage cheese, almond butter, hummus, lentil pate
- Slices of cheese (reduced salt)
How to save money on some of these items
- Buy frozen berries
- Look for nuts in the baking section, they often sell cheaper walnuts and almonds. They aren’t the premium quality but are still fine to eat.
- Buy vegetables in bulk when on sale, slightly steam them and then freeze them yourself for later use
- Buy meats and proteins when they are on sale and freeze them
As you can see, the diet is based on eating loads of fresh natural foods and excludes ALL forms of processed foods and junk.
This might seem a little overwhelming but I can assure you it’s not as overwhelming as it might seem.
Just start with one thing and go from there. You might even surprise yourself at just how rapidly you can turn things around.
Nutritionist & Health Counselor
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