Diabetic diet basics and the Glycemic Index | Diabetia

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Diabetic diet basics and the Glycemic Index

Our position is that a so-called diabetic diet is really just a healthy diet to which everyone should subscribe. That said, if you are new to diabetes you’re learning that different foods effect one’s blood sugar levels differently. Moreover, just because you can eat something doesn’t mean that all foods are OK for all times of day or in every condition. For diabetics, we must always consider what foods raise blood sugar and what foods are less likely to spike ones blood sugar. For example, you can eat bread, but bread might be an unhealthy choice for a late afternoon snack.

For mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks we opt for what are known as “free” snacks, less than 5 grams of carbs, unless BG is trending low or physical activity has been/will be high:

Free Snacks

  • Raw veggies and ranch dressing
  • string cheese
  • peanut butter (2 tsp)
  • Almonds (1 oz)
  • Dill pickles
  • small salad
  • Hard boiled egg
  • Grilled chicken strips
  • Tuna salad
  • Olives
  • Peanuts
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Cheese cubes
  • Chicken salad
  • Lunch meats
  • Omelet
  • Sugar free popcycle
  • Sugar free jello

Other times, you may be looking for a snack that in the 15 gram range, for example at night before bed. You want to elevate the blood sugar gradually. Here is our list of a few common 15 gram snacks:

15 Gram Carb Snacks

Snacks & salads for a diabetic diet

  • yogurt
  • fruit
  • celery/cucumber/tomato with dips
  • smoothies (home made)
  • 1/2 medium banana
  • 17 grapes
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1 cup fresh fruit/berries
  • 2 Tbsp. raisins
  • 1/2 cup canned fruit (lite syrup)
  • 1/2 English muffin
  • 3 mini waffles
  • 1/2 small bagel (1 ounce)
  • 1 frozen waffle (4 1/2″)
  • 1 pancake, 4 inches across
  • 1 slice toast
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cereal
  • 1 Gogurt
  • 1/2 cup diet pudding
  • 1/2 cup plain ice cream
  • 1 cup soup
  • 1/2 sandwich
  • 30 pretzel sticks
  • 15 potato chips
  • 4 cups popped popcorn
  • 5 Vanilla Wafers
  • 3 graham cracker squares
  • 2 Oreos
  • 3 Gingersnaps
  • 7 animal crackers
  • 16 Teddy Grahams
  • 12 Ritz Bitz
  • 12 Wheat Thins
  • 5 Triscuts
  • 23 (1/2 cup) Cheese Nips
  • 45 Goldfish (1/2 cup)
  • 6 Ritz crackers
  • 6 Saltine crackers

Some PWD’s find that some of these foods elevate the blood sugar too quickly 

  • beetroots
  • carrots
  • parsnips
  • turnips
  • sweetcorn
  • potatoes
  • bananas
  • pineapples
  • raisins
  • watermelon
  • canned fruit

Of course, this is only a guideline.  There are no hard and fast rules with diabetes and food. One way to estimate your response to any food is to look at the carb count of what you’re eating – then test your BG before eating it, then test it again 2 hours after eating it. If your readings are about the same then it turns out you can eat the amount of carbs in that particular food without spiking your BG too much. If you aren’t already, you need to get into the habit of measuring how many carbs are in each thing you eat and how those carbs affect your blood sugar. Only then can you know what is and isn’t ‘ok’. .-  you can still eat any of these foods at times - just try not to plan entire meals around some of these food types.

Another way that is a bit more advanced is to learn more about the glycemic index and discover what works for you.  For example, you might find that you can get away with eating higher carb foods at lunchtime, but not in the evening. Here is a basic list of common foods that provides the glycemic index, carbohydrate and fats. Feel free to download.

Recipe Book

There are also many great books on low GI  eating.

The New Glucose Revolution Low GI Vegetarian Cookbook:

The Glycemic-Load Diet Cookbook:

The Everything Glycemic Index Cookbook

A good cookbook can give you great ideas for varying your meal plans and menu as well as offering unique and interesting snacks on hand.

More Info on Diabetic Diet - read more about what changes our family made to our diet when Alissa was first diagnosed and what sort of foods we eat now.



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