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! Here are 10 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.
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 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.
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 sodium is hiding.
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!)
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!)
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 a great source of vitamins and fiber. Skip the pre-filled bags, though.
What low-carb, inexpensive, but diabetic-friendly products do you buy when you go grocery shopping? Comment below with your answer.