5 Grocery Items I Buy as a Registered Dietitian

Last updated: May 2022

Have you seen the grocery hauls on social media? I have always been curious to see what other people consider staple grocery items in their homes. Although no one in my house lives with type 2 diabetes, these are potential diabetes-friendly choices and can be great options for you! Everyone is different and what works for one person may not work for others when it comes to food and diet.

1. Whole grain bread

Does your store have an entire aisle devoted to bread? All of the choices can be overwhelming. Although it may take some time, comparing the nutrition labels of your bread can be very helpful. Look for bread that lists "whole grain wheat flour" as the first ingredient.

If bread is made with whole grains, it will be higher in fiber and lead to longer satiety after eating. Also, take a minute to check how many grams of sugar there are in your favorite bread and buns. You may be shocked to see how many popular brands add sugar to their ingredients! When living with diabetes, a lower sugar intake and higher fiber intake can help maintain blood glucose levels.1

2. Fresh spinach and mixed greens

Of course, I know, a registered dietitian buys salad! But hear me out. Having readily available vegetables can make it much easier to choose them daily.

Let's say your day gets hectic, and suddenly, it is lunchtime. You can quickly whip up a salad and have a delicious meal in less time than it would take to sit in the drive-thru line.

Opting for darker green varieties of greens such as spinach, kale, and spring mixed greens provide more significant nutritional benefits than iceberg lettuce. Some of the value worth mentioning is the increased levels of vitamins A, C, and K and antioxidants that can help reduce the risk of disease.

3. Various protein sources

Protein is an important building block for all cell growth. Eating a well-balanced plate of 50 percent non-starchy vegetables, 25 percent lean proteins, and 25 percent carbohydrates can help you regulate blood glucose levels.2

Not eating enough protein at meals can lead to lower satisfaction and an intense craving for snacks between meals. At the beginning of each week, try to have enough lean protein options available for all of the meals you plan to eat at home. Some of my favorite protein options are eggs, lean ground turkey, and boneless, skinless chicken breasts.

4. Fresh fruit and vegetables

You may be nervous about eating fruit since it contains sugar and may affect your blood glucose levels. But it has been recommended that fruit continue to be consumed, even in place of a treat, when you are living with diabetes.2

It may take some trial and error to see which fruits you tolerate best, but a good rule of thumb may be to eat them with a snack/meal that contains protein. Some of my favorite combinations are celery with peanut butter, berries with cashews, and pears with cheese.

5. Almond milk

There are many dairy and non-dairy beverage options, but almond milk is a big hit at our house. With a simple flavor, it goes well in coffee and over cereal. It is also lower in calories than its dairy counterpart and still contains vitamin D and calcium. Just be sure that you get the unsweetened versions to avoid added sugar and the risk of blood sugar spikes.

Diabetes-friendly grocery items

These are a few items I keep my home stocked with each week. If you have specific questions about your diet, be sure to reach out to your physician or registered dietitian. What will you buy at the grocery store this week?

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