It can seem quite daunting to tackle the shopping aisle if you are a diabetic having to watch your blood glucose levels. Where is the low GI sign? This food label doesn’t make sense! Am I allowed this?

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Before you start to panic, follow these key pointers to achieve shopping success as a diabetic patient:

  • Hit the vegetable and fruit aisle first: focus on your low carbohydrate vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, tomatoes, green beans, etc. Don’t restrict and choose a wide variety!
  • Do limit starchy vegetables and choose low GI options, such as sweet potato and corn
  • To achieve a good intake of 2 fruits per day, choose fruits that you can eat with the skin, for examples apples and pears. Stick to portion sizes and limit fruit juice.
  • Breakfast is indeed the most important meal of the day. If you are a cereal lover, look for the terms low GI, whole wheat, high fibre and whole grain. Combine this with a lean source of protein like a boiled egg for sustained energy.
  • Next up, we push our trolley to the meat aisle! Aim to consume fish 2–3x a week, with specific focus on fatty fish such as sardines. Limit red meat to only 2x a week and stay away from processed meat. Choose lean cuts such as lean mince and chicken breast.
  • For your staples, choose basmati rice, durham wheat pasta, baby potatoes and brown maize.
  • Low fat dairy products must be part of your daily intake. Rely on Greek yoghurt and cottage cheese for low kilojoule high protein intake.
  • Canned foods – check the label for sodium and sugar. Canned beans are low in GI and a good go-to protein and fibre source. Choose canned fruits in juice and not in syrup.
  • Don’t be afraid of aisle 10 with the snacks – nuts, dried fruit, dark chocolate and unsalted popcorn are your go-to’s. Remember portion control!
  • Drinks are last, but not least on the list. Stock up on soda water, sugar free cordial and ice tea and if you enjoy a glass of wine, preferably dry and red. Be sure to drink lots of clean, safe water daily. If you need help drinking enough water, read here.

Keeping it simple is the way to go. Have the basics available and avoid a crisis take-away run because there is nothing in the fridge.

Happy shopping!

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