a pyramid of stacked tuna cans

Choosing the Best Canned Food Items

The canned food aisle typically gets a bad reputation. Sure, there are some less-than-healthy options there. But we can’t discount the whole aisle just based on the way it’s packaged! The idea behind canned goods is that they are less expensive, and stay shelf-stable for a long time.

Healthy canned food options for type 2 diabetes

When you are living with type 2 diabetes, you may feel lost at the grocery store, unsure whether your usual food choices support a diabetes-friendly diet. Here are a few healthy options to add to your grocery cart when shopping the canned goods aisles!

Canned tuna

Due to its high protein and lack of carbohydrates, canned tuna is a healthy canned food option when you are living with diabetes. There are many kinds of canned tuna, so knowing the choices is helpful. Tuna can be packed in water or oil. If you choose oil, it will have a higher calorie and fat content, but also a higher level of healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

When tuna is packed in water, there are fewer calories, fat and fatty acids. If you are nursing or pregnant and need to watch your mercury consumption, canned light tuna is a better option than albacore tuna. Some easy ways to incorporate tuna into your meals include making tuna salad sandwiches, topping tuna over a lettuce and tomato salad, or even adding tuna to your favorite alternative pasta dish.

Low-sodium canned soup

Even though you may not currently have high blood pressure, diabetes and hypertension often go hand in hand. Following a low-sodium diet is a good idea. Canned goods are loaded with sodium to help preserve them, so choosing "low sodium" or "heart-healthy" options is key.

The low-sodium canned soups still have plenty of flavor. Look for soups that not only include vegetables but also have a protein source such as beans or meat. That added protein will aid in making you feel satisfied and full. Staying full is important when following a healthy diabetes diet! When we are more satisfied after a meal, we are less likely to snack in between meals.

Canned beans

Canned beans are an excellent source of protein and fiber. It is important to note that they also contain carbohydrates. Canned beans have added sodium. Straining and rinsing beans well prior to cooking or consuming can decrease the sodium content by up to 40 percent!

Some great ways to add beans to your diet are substituting beans for meat in a stir-fry, topping a salad, or even adding beans to tacos and soups. If you have never tried beans and don’t know where to start, some popular options are kidney beans, black beans, and garbanzo beans (chickpeas).

Canned tomatoes

Canned tomatoes are a hot commodity! When you really spend time in the canned goods aisle, you will be shocked to see the amount of space that is allotted just for tomatoes. Canned tomatoes often have a bolder flavor than fresh tomatoes. They are also an excellent source of lycopene which is important for healthy hearts.

Canned tomatoes come in low sodium options as well as flavored and the recipe options are endless. Keep them in your pantry to be added to casseroles and soups for an easy way to make dinner even more healthy!

Adding to recipes and grocery lists

Now you are ready to make your grocery list with shelf-stable and diabetes-friendly canned food products. You can find many more ways to incorporate these canned items into your diet by visiting our archive of recipes.

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