Grocery Shopping Tips for Diabetics
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Grocery shopping during a pandemic can be daunting – especially for people with diabetes. Here are some tips to get you in and out of the store quickly, while still making healthy choices.
Organize your food storage
Take out all the items in your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer – review the expiration dates. Throw away any items that are past the recommended date. Re-organize items by category to know exactly what you have available. This will help prevent buying unnecessary extras.
Food for thought
If you are concerned about weight gain or if you’re trying to lose weight, think of food items that will assist you in staying healthy – more fruits & vegetables, whole-grains, healthy fats, and lean proteins. If you have diabetes, look for low-carb options and really focus on portion control to help keep your blood sugars in range. Foods with a low-glycemic index will have less of an effect on your blood sugar when compared to foods with a high-glycemic index.
Before you make your trip to the supermarket, go through your stored food items and briefly think of meal ideas. Draft a menu for the week. Make a list of what is missing.
Stick to your list
Get to the supermarket knowing exactly what you need. You will not only save money but also time in the grocery store, reducing your risk of exposure to COVID-19.
Look for items on sale
Unless you have brand loyalty, look for specials that are available. Review the store’s app and/or look for coupons in the Sunday paper. Remember that the store brands can be a good option too.
Take advantage of sales
If there is a good sale going on for that week, buy a little extra. This will help reduce the need of making another trip to the store too soon, thus reducing further risk of exposure to the coronavirus.
Bigger does not always mean better. Sometimes smaller items can give you more for your money. Check the price per ounce/unit that is located at the bottom left of the price tag on the shelf. You can also review prices online before going to the store – this will help you spend less time in the store.
Don’t shop when you are hungry
Avoid going to the supermarket with an empty stomach. You will likely end up buying more than usual or items you don’t usually buy – which may lead to extra calories/carbs consumed which can increase your weight and/or blood sugars.
Buy in-season produce
Most produce is available year-round but can be less expensive when they are in-season. Not only you can save a few dollars but it will also allow you to explore different foods throughout the year. Be sure to wash all your produce thoroughly before putting it away.
- Year-round items include apples, carrots, potatoes, lemons, snow peas, coconuts, banana squash, and bananas.
- Frozen or canned are perfectly fine. If you don’t have time to cook during the week these items can be a simple and faster option (they will also last a little longer & can be handy for an emergency); canned veggies – look for low or no sodium; canned fruit – look for “in water” or “natural juice” and “no sugar added”; Frozen is preferred because it is picked & frozen at time peak freshness and typically contain less sodium than canned goods; extra sodium in your diet can lead to high blood sugar and excess water weight.
Mix and match leftover food, or make a new item or two and add to your leftovers – helps you to not waste food or make an unnecessary trip to the grocery.
The Diabetes Research Institute is a designated Center of Excellence at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, providing informative education and training programs for many types of health care professionals and industry representatives. For patients with diabetes and their families, the DRI’s Kosow Diabetes Treatment Center offers the highest standards of health care delivery, ongoing management and education support, and numerous clinical research possibilities.
The Education Department at the DRI provides up-to-date information on diabetes treatments and management, along with nutrition therapy, and physical activity recommendations.
If you would like to learn more about weight management and/or diabetes management, we offer a variety of classes. We also have individual appointments available with a registered dietitian and/or a certified diabetes care & education specialist.
If you have any questions or like to schedule an appointment, call us at 305-243-3696 or email us.
Written by Maddison Saalinger, registered dietitian, and Shelley Nicholls, certified diabetes care and education specialist, nurse practitioner, Diabetes Research Institute