Reducing the carbs in your diet is one of the best things you can do to help lower your blood sugar, lose weight and live a healthier life with diabetes. But it isn't always easy! Here are a few tips for eating a diabetic-friendly meal plan on a budget.
1. Frozen vegetables. While not as good as fresh vegetables, frozen veggies don't come with all the sodium of canned vegetables and they're very inexpensive and easy to cook in the microwave or in a pot on the stove. Stick with choices like peas, carrots, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, corn, and other lower-carb choices.
2. Chicken. Whether you buy the leg or the thigh or the breast, the standard packages of raw chicken in the meat aisle of your store are a great way to get plenty of protein. Flavor it with olive oil and a variety of basic herbs (like oregano, celery salt, and pepper) and cook on the stove-top in a pan. Buying a whole, roasted chicken is also a great cost-saving option.
3. Brown rice. Swap your pasta for brown rice from the bulk section, rather than one of those ready-made boxes, and cook it yourself! When bought in bulk, rice is simple and cheap.
4. Beans. Canned beans are a really easy way to get plenty of low-glycemic carbohydrates and lots of fiber. Pour a can of your choice of beans into a strainer, rinse off as much of the liquid (where a lot of the sodium is hiding) as you can by running it under the faucet.
5. Peanut butter. A quick and easy meal that's also low-carb requires simply a few spoonfuls of peanut butter and an apple (or banana), giving you some healthy fat and natural carbohydrates from fruit.
6. Veggie of the week. When buying fresh veggies at the grocery store, take a look at the veggies on sale. For example, some weeks bell peppers will cost $2.99 per pound, which is expensive, while other weeks they'll be on sale for $1.99 per pound. That's the week when you buy that vegetable.
7. Deli meat. Just as veggies have sale prices each week, deli-meats do, too. Stick with leaner choices like chicken, ham, turkey, or roast beef, and look for the store's own brand because it always tends to be cheaper. (Note: the deli meats that end in the letter "I" are generally very high in saturated fat!)
8. Oats. Buying real oats in the bulk section can save you both money and unnecessary added sugars compared to the very processed instant oats that come in individual packages. Whole oats can be cooked just as quickly in the microwave, too.
9. Canned tuna. Canned tuna is super, super cheap. Packed with protein and extremely low in fat, it's a great choice. Mix it with a variety of vegetables and make yourself a low-carb tuna salad! (But skip the bread!)
10. Spinach. Fresh spinach is so cheap because it's so light. Weighed by the pound, you can pack a plastic bag full of spinach for merely a couple dollars, and provide your whole family with one of the best sources of vitamins and fiber. Skip the pre-filled bags, though.