Ginger Vieira was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was 13, celiac disease a year later, and fibromyalgia in 2014. Ginger provides great insights into life with multiple chronic illnesses, including how to make the most of your life despite your health setbacks.
You've heard it before: reduce the carbs in your diet to help lower your blood sugar, lose weight, and live a healthier life with diabetes. But it isn't always easy! Many of us are concerned about the high cost of some healthier foods. Here are 10 foods that can fit your diabetes-friendly meal plan and your budget.
1. Frozen vegetables
Frozen veggies don't come with all the sodium of canned vegetables, they're inexpensive, and they don’t spoil in a few days like fresh vegetables do. They're also easy to cook in the microwave or a pot on the stove. Stick with choices like peas, carrots, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, corn, and other lower-carb choices.
Whether you buy the leg, 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 stovetop in a pan. Buying a whole, roasted chicken is also a convenient, low-cost option.
3. Brown rice
Swap your pasta for brown rice from the grocery store's bulk section, rather than one of those ready-made boxes, and cook it yourself! Rice is filling, easy to make, and when bought in bulk, it's cheap.
Canned beans are an easy way to get plenty of low-glycemic carbohydrates and lots of fiber. Pour a can of beans into a strainer and rinse off as much of the liquid as you can by running it under the faucet; the liquid is where most of the added sodium is hiding.
5. Peanut butter
A quick and easy meal that's also low carb requires only a few spoonfuls of peanut butter and an apple (or banana), giving you some protein, healthy fat, and natural carbohydrates from fruit.
6. Veggie of the week
When shopping for vegetables at the grocery store, take a look at the fresh veggies that are on sale. For example, some weeks bell peppers will cost $1.99 per pound, which is expensive, while other weeks they'll be on sale for 99 cents 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 tends to be cheaper. (Note: the deli meats that end in the letter "i" are generally very high in saturated fat!)
Buying real oats in the bulk section can save you both money and unnecessary added sugars compared to the 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 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 to avoid its carbs!)
A bag of fresh spinach is so cheap because it's so light. Since it's priced by the pound, you can pack a plastic bag full of spinach for only a couple of dollars and provide your family with a great source of vitamins and fiber. Skip the pricier pre-filled bags, though.
What inexpensive but diabetes-friendly products do you buy when you go grocery shopping? Comment below with your answer.