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Diabetes Superfoods

Ever see the top 10 lists for foods everyone should eat to superpower your diet? Ever wonder which will mesh with your diabetes meal plan? Wonder no more. Your list of the top 10 diabetes superfoods has arrived.

As with all foods, you need to work the diabetes superfoods into your individualized meal plan in appropriate portions.

All of the foods in our list have a low glycemic index or GI and provide key nutrients that are lacking in the typical western diet such as:



  • fiber
  • magnesium
  •                                                                                             vitamins A (as carotenoids), C, and E.

There isn’t research that clearly points to supplementation, so always think first about getting your nutrients from foods. Below is our list of superfoods to include in your diet.


Whether you prefer kidney, pinto, navy, or black beans, you can’t find better nutrition than that provided by beans. They are very high in fiber, giving you about 1/3 of your daily requirement in just a ½ cup, and are also good sources of magnesium and potassium.

They are considered starchy vegetables, but ½ cup provides as much protein as an ounce of meat without the saturated fat. To save time you can use canned beans, but be sure to drain and rinse them to get rid of as much sodium as possible.

Dark Green Leafy Vegetables

Spinach, collards, kale – these powerhouse foods are so low in calories and carbohydrate. You can’t eat too much.

Citrus Fruit

Grapefruit, oranges, lemons and limes. Pick your favorites and get part of your daily dose of soluble fiber and vitamin C.

Sweet Potatoes

A starchy vegetable packed full of vitamin A and fiber. Try in place of regular potatoes for a lower GI alternative.


Which are your favorites: blueberries, strawberries or another variety? Regardless, they are all packed with antioxidants, vitamins and fiber. Make a parfait alternating the fruit with light, non-fat yogurt for a new favorite dessert. 


An old standby where everyone can find a favorite. The good news is that no matter how you like your tomatoes, pureed, raw, or in a sauce, you’re eating vital nutrients like vitamin C, iron, vitamin E.

Fish High in Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Salmon is a favorite in this category. Stay away from the breaded and deep fat fried variety... they don’t count in your goal of 6-9 ounces of fish per week.

Whole Grains

It’s the germ and bran of the whole grain you’re after.  It contains all the nutrients a grain product has to offer. When you purchase processed grains like bread made from enriched wheat flour, you don’t get these. A few more of the nutrients these foods offer are magnesium, chromium, omega 3 fatty acids and folate.

Pearled barley and oatmeal are a source of fiber and potassium.


An ounce of nuts can go a long way in providing key healthy fats along with hunger management. Other benefits are a dose of magnesium and fiber.

Some nuts and seeds, such as walnuts and flax seeds, also contain omega-3 fatty acids.

Fat-free Milk and Yogurt

Everyone knows dairy can help build strong bones and teeth. In addition to calcium, many fortified dairy products are a good source of vitamin D. More research is emerging on the connection between vitamin D and good health.

Some of the above list can be tough on the budget depending on the season and where you live. Look for lower cost options such as fruit and vegetables in season or frozen or canned fish.

Foods that every budget can live with year round are beans and rolled oats or barley that you cook from scratch.

Learn more about how to include these and other healthful foods into your meals. The American Diabetes Association's book What Do I Eat Now? provides a step-by-step guide to eating right.

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Create Your Plate

Topic: What’s on your Plate?

Create Your Plate is a simple and effective way to manage your blood glucose levels and lose weight. With this method, you fill your plate with more non-starchy veggies and smaller portions of starchy foods and protein—no special tools or counting required!

You can practice with this interactive tool. The healthy meal combinations are endless!

Ready to try it at home? Just follow these seven simple steps.

*Disclaimer: The actual amount of vegetables represented in this tool is not to scale because of the differences in types of vegetables. When creating your plate at home, remember that half of your plate is filled with non-starchy vegetables and that your options are endless.





  • Protein
  • Grains and Starchy Foods
  • Non-Starchy Vegetables
  • Fruit
  • Drink

 Seven Simple Steps to Create Your Plate

It's simple and effective for both managing diabetes and losing weight. Creating your plate lets you still choose the foods you want, but changes the portion sizes so you are getting larger portions of non-starchy vegetables and a smaller portion of starchy foods. When you are ready, you can try new foods within each food category.

Try these seven steps to get started:

1.   Using your dinner plate, put a line down the middle of the plate. Then on one side, cut it again so you will have three sections on your plate.

2.   Fill the largest section with non-starchy vegetables. See this list of non-starchy vegetables.

3.   Now in one of the small sections, put grains and starchy foods. See this list of grains and starchy foods.

4.   And then in the other small section, put your protein. See this list of protein foods.

5.   Add a serving of fruit, a serving of dairy or both as your meal plan allows.

6.   Choose healthy fats in small amounts. For cooking, use oils. For salads, some healthy additions are nuts, seeds, avocado and vinaigrettes.

7. To complete your meal, add a low-calorie drink like water.

Featured Dish of the Month: Grilled Salmon and Avocado Salad

This Recipe Serves 4


4 4-oz frozen salmon filets, thawed
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon no-salt grill seasoning (Mrs. Dash Steak Grilling Blend)
4 cups chopped romaine lettuce
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
1 cucumber, thinly sliced (1 cup of sliced cucumber)
1 ripe avocado, peeled, seeded and sliced

For dressing:
1/4 cup lime juice
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Stevia
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper


  1. Preheat an indoor or outdoor grill.
  2. Pat the thawed salmon filets dry with a paper towel. Brush each side with the olive oil and season with the no-salt grill seasoning.
  3. Grill the salmon filets on each side for 4-5 minutes, or until just cooked through. Set aside.
  4. Build each salad starting with 1 cup of Romaine lettuce, top with 1/4 of the sliced onion, 1/4 cup of the sliced cucumber, the grilled salmon filet and 1/4 of the sliced avocado, Repeat for remaining three salads.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, Dijon mustard, Stevia, salt and pepper. Drizzle the dressing over each salad.

Recipe Cost: $10.69

Choices/Exchanges: Nonstarchy Vegetable, 3 Lean Protein, 3 Fat