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Diabetes-Friendly Foods: Top Picks

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Diabetes-Friendly Foods: Top Picks

If you’re looking for some new snack ideas or have been searching high and low for lower-carbohydrate products, look no further. Here’s a lineup of food products that provide nutrition, taste great, and will fit nicely into your diabetes eating plan.

Quinn White Cheddar & Sea Salt Microwave PopcornQuinn White Cheddar & Sea Salt Microwave Popcorn

Who doesn’t love popcorn, let alone cheese popcorn? Quinn White Cheddar & Sea Salt Microwave Popcorn is made with organic popcorn and sunflower oil and flavored with aged white cheddar and sea salt, making this a snack you’ll reach for time and time again. Plus, this tasty treat is gluten free, non GMO, and contains none of those suspect preservatives, artificial flavors, and additives found in other brands of microwave popcorn.

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One serving (3 cups) has 170 calories and 13 grams of carbohydrate.

quinnsnacks.com | Amazon | Walmart | Kroger

Orgain Clean Protein ShakeOrgain Clean Protein Shake

Isn’t it time to kick your protein shake up a notch? Now you can with Orgain’s Clean Protein Shake. Say goodbye to that gritty, chalky flavor that you’ve been putting up with for so long. Say hello to a creamy, soy-free, gluten-free shake that delivers 20 grams of whey protein from New Zealand grass-fed cows. You won’t believe that it’s just 130 calories! Choose from Creamy Chocolate Fudge or Vanilla Bean flavors.

One serving (11 ounces) has 130 calories and 11 grams of carbohydrate.

orgain.com | Amazon | Walmart | Kroger

Banza CavatappiBanza Cavatappi

Pasta is a no-no when you have diabetes, right? Wrong! You can eat pasta, and if you choose Banza Cavatappi, you’ll worry even less about the carbohydrate. That’s because this pasta is made with chickpeas, making it 25% lower in carb than regular wheat pasta. It’s got nearly two times the protein and three times the fiber as regular pasta, as well. And it’s gluten free! Did we mention that it looks, cooks, and tastes like regular pasta?

One serving (2 ounces) has 190 calories and 32 grams of carbohydrate.

eatbanza.com | Amazon | Walmart | Kroger

Yo Mama’s Marinara SauceYo Mama’s Marinara Sauce

How about a great-tasting sauce to top off that cavatappi? Trying to find a pasta sauce that isn’t loaded with sugar and other less-than-desirable ingredients can be like searching for a needle in a haystack. Meet Yo Mama’s Marinara sauce. What you see is what you get: tomatoes, onions, basil, olive oil, oregano, black pepper, and a touch of salt. What you don’t get: sugar, gluten, GMOs, and preservatives. Just like mama would make. And you can’t beat the carbs — just 5 grams per serving!

One serving (1/2 cup) has 60 calories and 5 grams of carbohydrate.

yomamasfoods.com | Amazon | Walmart | Kroger

Icelandic Provisions Plain SkyrIcelandic Provisions Plain Skyr

Sure, yogurt is great, but have you tried skyr? Skyr is a thick and creamy cultured product that just so happens to be full of protein (even more than its Greek cousin, as it turns out). Plain Icelandic Provisions Skyr is delicious, healthy and has an amazing 17 grams of protein — all with 0 grams of added sugar. Perfect with fresh fruit or blended into your favorite smoothie recipe or simply as-is. It’s that good!

One serving (5.3 ounces) has 120 calories and 8 grams of carbohydrate.

icelandicprovisions.com | Amazon

Harvest Snaps Lightly Salted Green Pea Snack CrispsHarvest Snaps Lightly Salted Green Pea Snack Crisps

You might have hated peas when you were a kid, but you’re going to love Harvest Snaps Green Pea Snack Crisps. Made from wholesome green peas, these crunchy baked snacks are a far cry from traditional potato and corn chips that provide mainly fat and salt. Harvest Snaps contain 5 grams of fiber and 5 grams of protein, so they’re filling as well as scrumptious. And they rate low on the sodium scale, with only 75 milligrams of sodium per serving.

One serving (22 pieces) contains 130 calories and 16 grams of carbohydrate.

harvestsnaps.com | Amazon | Walmart | Kroger

Green Giant Riced VeggiesGreen Giant Riced Veggies

If you’re cutting carbs or following a gluten-free diet, rice and other grains may be off-limits. But never fear, it’s veggies to the rescue! Green Giant Riced Veggies, that is. Choose from a wide assortment of varieties, including broccoli, risotto medley, and cauliflower medley. They’re 100% vegetables and 0% added ingredients (including sodium and gluten), preservatives, flavorings, and artificial colors. Best of all, they’ll save you a ton of work — no peeling and chopping. Just cook, eat, and enjoy!

One serving (1/2 to 1 cup) contains 20 to 50 calories and 4 to 12 grams of carbohydrate (depending on the variety).

greengiant.com | Amazon | Walmart | Kroger

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KIND Cranberry Almond Bar

KIND Cranberry Almond Bar

You know all too well what happens at 3 o’clock in the afternoon: You’re sapped of energy and it takes every ounce of effort to stay awake. But rather than head for the vending machine or raid the kitchen for something that will only send your blood sugar skyrocketing, why not reach for a KIND Bar instead? Better yet, reach for a KIND Cranberry Almond Bar. With the right balance of carb, protein, and fat (and let’s not forget the fiber), this gluten-free bar will satisfy your sweet tooth and give you the energy that you need to power through that afternoon slump. Thanks to KIND Bar, you got this!

One serving (1 bar) contains 160 calories and 19 grams of carbohydrate.

kindsnacks.com | Amazon | Walmart | Kroger

Dave’s Killer Bread PowerseedDave’s Killer Bread Powerseed

Bread seems to be at the top of everyone’s “do not eat” list these days. “Too many carbs!” bread detractors claim. That’s really not true, though, especially if you go for Dave’s Killer Bread Powerseed. Bursting with wholesome goodness from whole wheat, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, rolled oats, and more, this bread will leave you satisfied without the blood sugar spike later on. This bread slays it!

One serving (1 slice) contains 60 calories and 12 grams of carbohydrate.

daveskillerbread.com | Amazon | Walmart

SunButter No Sugar Added Sunflower ButterSunButter No Sugar Added Sunflower Butter

Not everyone can or chooses to eat peanut butter. And almond butter can be off limits for people with tree nut allergies. No worries, though, because there’s SunButter No Sugar Added Sunflower Butter. The key ingredient is sunflower seeds that are roasted and ground into a creamy, smooth “butter” that is free from peanuts, tree nuts, soy, sugar, milk, eggs, wheat, fish, and shellfish (whew!). All that you’ll find in this spread are roasted sunflower seeds and a bit of salt. Spread it on bread, use it as a dip, bake with it, or simply eat it straight out of the jar (it’s that good!).

One serving (2 tablespoons) contains 210 calories and 4 grams of carbohydrate.

sunbutter.com | Amazon | Walmart | Kroger

RxSugarRxSugar

Just because you have diabetes doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the taste of something sweet. If you’re looking for a substitute for sugar but aren’t sure of the best choice, consider RxSugar. This sweetener is made with allulose, a low-calorie sugar that’s naturally found in small amounts in foods like figs and raisins. RxSugar looks like sugar, tastes like sugar, and even behaves like sugar — yes, you can cook and bake with it. Best of all, it’s zero calories and won’t cause blood sugar surges (that’s right — even though allulose has calories, it’s not metabolized by the body). RxSugar is Non-GMO Project Verified, Keto Certified, Gluten-Free Certified, FODMAP Friendly, Kosher Certified, and plant-based/vegan, so it fits right into any eating plan.

One serving (1 teaspoon) contains 0 calories and 4 grams of carbohydrate.

therxsugar.com | Amazon | Walmart | Kroger

Otto’s Cassava FlourOtto’s Cassava Flour

If you’ve been searching for a grain-free/nut-free flour that actually tastes good, your search ends right now. Otto’s Cassava Flour is made from cassava (aka yucca), a root vegetable that, when dried and ground up, makes a perfect alternative to wheat flour. This flour is 100% cassava, which means no fillers, gums, additives, or gluten. Just use 3/4 cup of Otto’s Cassava Flour for every 1 cup of all-purpose flour in your favorite recipes and start baking to your heart’s content.

One serving (1/4 cup) contains 110 calories and 28 grams of carbohydrate.

ottosnaturals.com | Amazon | Walmart | Kroger

GG Exceptional Fiber Scandinavian Fiber CrispbreadGG Exceptional Fiber Scandinavian Fiber Crispbread

Does a cracker exist that isn’t loaded with carbs, gives you a decent amount of fiber, and actually tastes good? GG Exceptional Fiber Scandinavian Fiber Crispbread does all this, as a matter of fact, and more. Weighing in at only 20 calories and 20 milligrams of sodium per cracker, this crispbread is tasty plain or topped with your favorite nut butter, a boiled egg, some avocado, or a spread of cream cheese. It makes a perfect, filling snack when those horrible hungries strike.

One serving (1 cracker) contains 20 calories and 6 grams of carbohydrate.

ggbrancrispbread.com | Amazon | Walmart 

Want to learn more about eating well with diabetes? Read “Strategies for Healthy Eating,” “Improving Your Recipes: One Step at a Time,” and “Top Tips for Healthier Eating.”

Amy Campbell, MS, RD, LDN, CDCES

Amy Campbell, MS, RD, LDN, CDCES

Amy Campbell, MS, RD, LDN, CDCES on social media

A Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator at Good Measures, LLC, where she is a CDE manager for a virtual diabetes program. Campbell is the author of Staying Healthy with Diabetes: Nutrition & Meal Planning, a co-author of 16 Myths of a Diabetic Diet, and has written for  publications including Diabetes Self-Management, Diabetes Spectrum, Clinical Diabetes, the Diabetes Research & Wellness Foundation’s newsletter, DiabeticConnect.com, and CDiabetes.com

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