Figuring out which foods to buy at the grocery store can seem like a tough task for people with diabetes. But it doesn't have to be. Take a look at these quick tips to make grocery shopping easier with diabetes.
1. Make a list and plan by meals
First things first: make a grocery list and stick to it! Not only can a list ensure that you don't forget necessary items, it helps you avoid buying foods impulsively.
Next, it's easiest to break the week's food down by meals on each day. Many people with diabetes like to focus on dinner first, since the nighttime meal tends to vary most throughout the week compared to breakfast and lunch. When you're making your shopping list, include all of the foods and ingredients to make meals for the week.
2. Check your blood sugar before shopping
Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) can cause hunger levels to spike. When you're at the store, it may hinder your ability to think clearly and you may choose items that aren't the best fit for your condition. Low blood sugar can also make driving to and from the market dangerous.
3. Walk around the perimeters aisles
This may sound like a peculiar suggestion, but the perimeter aisles generally consist of four sections: produce, seafood, meat, and eggs and dairy. These are essential food groups.
4. Always check the nutrition label.
"The most important tool for shopping is the nutrition label," registered dietitian Susan Weiner, a diabetes nutrition expert in New York, tells Diabetic Living. "Practice label reading at home so that you don't have to spend 10 minutes per food item when you're in the market."
Pay attention to sugar and the amount of fat per serving, since fat is a concentrated source of calories.
5. Opt for fresh fruits and veggies
Make fruits and vegetables a staple on your grocery list. Remember, what you end up eating at home depends on what you pick up at the store. Broccoli, apples, spinach and collards are all great options.
6. Don't shop on an empty stomach
An empty stomach and the grocery store are a dangerous combination! Picking up food while hungry often leads to rash choices and foods winding up in the cart that you wouldn't have normally chosen. Talk about wasting money on things you want but don't need! Sticking to a healthy diabetic diet is essential to your self-care and will provide health benefits for the rest of your life.