Food Alternatives for Diabetics, What Can I Eat?

The list of bad foods for diabetics is daunting. When we diabetics are informed of which foods we should avoid, the next question is always “is there anything I can eat?” One in three adults over the age of forty will be diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, and many go dangerously un-diagnosed. I was one of those who avoided routine visits to the doctor’s office. In fact, I went years between checkups, as a result I also went years as an un-diagnosed diabetic. Let us go back forty to fifty years. Remember Saturday morning cartoons and the educational shorts like School House Rock’s Conjuntion Junction and I’m Just a Bill as well as the nutritional promos featuring the food pyramid. In the 1970s, the government’s notions of what we should eat normalized the consumption of sugary cereals and breads. Significantly, the pyramid was not designed with the consumer in mind, it served to promote American farm products, such as potatoes, corn, soy, and wheat. Even today, corn syrup and soy bean oil are found in many products. Consequently, sodas and junk foods became normalized and the portion sizes larger! Today, how’s that sandwich with chips or fries and a soda working out for you? It’s not, and there is nothing normal about such a meal. The food pyramid spawned a diabetes epidemic in America by normalizing the consumption of high-carbohydrate processed foods. So much for the government telling us what to eat. So, what food alternatives are there for diabetics?

Bad Foods For Diabetics

This is the list that diabetics fear, because most likely a lot of the items on this list are commonly consumed. No matter, let’s get started:

  • Tropical fruits like pineapples and bananas
  • Any kind of corm or corn byproduct, like corn syrup
  • No bread, potatoes, or rice
  • Avoid soy and soy bean oil
  • All processed foods like chips
  • Be cautious with dairy products, they tend to be high carb
  • No sodas of any kind, even the diet versions
  • No caffeine … this one I struggle the most with
  • No alcohol

So what the heck should a diabetic eat!!

List of Healthy Foods for Diabetics

Before I get started, there are dozens of great cook books for diabetics that make this list much more manageable. Also, remember, it was a combination of life style and diet that caused diabetes, and it can only be managed through a new life style focused on proper and consistent diet and exercise.

  • All kinds of meats and fish, however you may want to limit the consumption of fatty red meats (my doctor recently got on to me about this)
  • Vegetables, Salsa
  • Fruits (avoid tropical fruits and consume fruit early in the day so your body has time to process the sugar)
  • Beans
  • Nuts, Almond Butter, Peanut Butter (watch the sugar contents)
  • Olives
  • Eggs
  • Almond flour and Coconut flour (can use this to make pizza)
  • unsweetened Almond milk
  • Honey in moderation (a little to sweeten)
  • Caffeine free teas

Diabetic Food Ideas

The following are a few of the food things I figured out over time.

  • We love our hamburgers (at least most of us). You don’t have to do without it, just without the bun. What I do at home is to never cook just a hamburger. I season and stuff the hamburger meat with a combination of items like onions, jalapenos, black beans, sauerkraut, garlic and/or mix it with venison or bison to change things up. The idea is that it is never just a hamburger.
  • For a fast breakfast, I blend together an egg, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries (whatever berries we have in the frig), with unsweetened almond milk for a nice breakfast shake. Recently I’ve tried adding powdered chocolate found on the baking aisle and a touch of honey.
  • Frittata is great for getting rid of left-overs. Moreover, the plethora of recipes make this a very versatile dish.
  • Chili! Dead cow, stock, and seasoning – chili is always an easy meal to prepare. Per the list above, I use ground beef, beans, onions, celery, garlic, salsa, chicken stock, among other ingredients … you get the idea.
  • Polish Bigos is another good one for leftovers. Essentially, this is kraut mixed and cooked with stock, tomato paste, mushrooms, and meat or sausage. Online there is great recipes.
  • Panned cooked steak, with garlic and rosemary is another favorite of ours.
  • Sausage is another easy meal, but be on the alert for those with added sugar, corn syrup, soy bean oil, and other items to avoid.

Food Supplements for Diabetics

Supplements may help lower blood sugar include:

  • Cinnamon supplements help your body respond to insulin. This opens the door to your cells which in turn lowers the amount of sugar in the blood stream.
  • American Ginseng increases the body’s secretion of insulin.
  • Vitamin D improves pancreatic function.
  • Berberine improves insulin sensitivity, which allows better absorption from your blood to your muscles, thereby lowering blood sugar.
  • Magnesium helps with normal insulin secretion.
  • Alpha-Lipoic Acid increases the insulin sensitivity of cells, thereby improving sugar absorption and reducing blood sugar levels.
  • Chromium supports the production of insulin in the pancreas.


What can you eat as a diabetic? … a lot of stuff, it just rarely comes in a plastic bag or soda can. The list of healthy foods for diabetics necessitates back-wall shopping – along the outside walls of grocery stores is where you most often find meat, vegetables, fruits, and eggs. Your new life style involves getting past the old norms of eating, as represented in the food pyramid, and finding alternative healthy choices for diabetics.




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