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What are smart foods for diabetics?

What are Smart Foods for Diabetics?

A smart diabetes diet looks a lot like the healthy eating plan doctors recommend for everyone: It includes whole, minimally processed foods, with fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, complex carbohydrates in moderation, lean protein, and healthy fats, and limits added sugars and refined grains.

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Fruits are an important part of a smart diabetes diet as they are high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. However, some fruits are also high in natural sugars, so it’s important to choose wisely. Here are some smart fruit choices for diabetics:

  • Apples
  • Berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries)
  • Citrus fruits (oranges, grapefruits)
  • Kiwi
  • Mango
  • Melon (cantaloupe, honeydew)
  • Peaches
  • Pears


Vegetables are also high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and low in calories and carbohydrates. They are an essential part of a smart diabetes diet. Here are some smart vegetable choices for diabetics:

  • Leafy greens (spinach, kale, collard greens)
  • Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts)
  • Tomatoes
  • Carrots
  • Peppers
  • Zucchini
  • Eggplant

Complex Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are an important source of energy for the body, but diabetics need to be mindful of their carbohydrate intake as it can affect blood sugar levels. Complex carbohydrates are a better choice than simple carbohydrates as they are digested more slowly and have a less dramatic effect on blood sugar. Here are some smart complex carbohydrate choices for diabetics:

  • Whole grains (brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat bread)
  • Legumes (beans, lentils, chickpeas)
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Corn
  • Peas

Lean Protein

Protein is important for building and repairing tissues in the body. However, some sources of protein can be high in saturated fat, which can increase the risk of heart disease. Here are some smart lean protein choices for diabetics:

  • Skinless chicken or turkey
  • Fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel)
  • Lean cuts of beef or pork
  • Eggs
  • Tofu

Healthy Fats

Fats are an important part of a healthy diet, but diabetics need to be mindful of their fat intake as it can affect heart health. Here are some smart healthy fat choices for diabetics:

  • Nuts (almonds, walnuts, pistachios)
  • Seeds (chia seeds, flaxseeds)
  • Avocado
  • Olive oil
  • Fatty fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel)

Added Sugars and Refined Grains

Diabetics need to limit their intake of added sugars and refined grains as they can cause blood sugar levels to spike. Here are some foods to avoid or limit:

  • Soda
  • Candy
  • Baked goods (cakes, cookies, pastries)
  • White bread
  • White rice
  • Pasta

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