7 grocery shopping tips to help beat diabetes

If you have diabetes, a healthy diet is crucial for keeping it under control. Here are seven tips to help you maintain a healthy diet, starting at the grocery store!

7 grocery shopping tips to help beat diabetes

1. Make a grocery shopping list

Make a shopping list based on the meals you've planned. And don't buy anything that isn't on the list, except for staples like toilet paper. With your list in hand, you'll find no excuse to throw junk food into your cart.

  • Check off the items as you shop so you won't go home missing an ingredient.

2. Eat a healthy snack first

If you're hungry, you're more likely to come home with things you shouldn't be eating. Like convenience foods in packages that are high in sugar, fat or salt.

  • If you've just eaten a fresh summer peach before you get to the grocery store, it'll remind you to buy more of them while you're there.

3. Map it out

If you go to the same supermarket every week, you probably know the layout well. While making your shopping list, think about the path you take when you're navigating the aisles and write your list out in that order. This can prevent backtracking through any departments, helping you avoid impulse buys.

  • You can also come up with a shopping plan that works around the aisles that contain tempting junk foods.

4. Focus on the store perimeter

This is where you'll find the fresh, whole foods — produce, yogurt, chicken and fish. Of course, you'll need to venture into the belly of the store for your olive oil, canned tomatoes, beans, whole grains and cereals.

  • Fresh foods, especially fruits and vegetables, should take up the bulk of your shopping cart.

5. Buy food grandma would recognize

In her heyday, Grandma never laid eyes on candy-coloured fruit snacks or granola bars laden with chocolate. But she would have recognized fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, fish and other "whole" foods in their natural state.

  • Buy bananas instead of banana-flavoured pudding, and fresh spinach over spinach in a box that comes with overly salted sauce. You will maximize your vitamin and mineral intake while avoiding the sodium, sugar, processed fats and chemical additives found in many processed foods.

6. Spend more money on fresh foods

Your food budget will stretch because of the junk food you're not buying. A 340-gram (12-ounce) bag of chips can cost about $3.99, which adds up to more than $5 a pound — much more than a pound of apples or bananas. And a bag of dry beans or barley will last for weeks compared to an overpriced frozen dinner, which will be gone in a day.

  • By eating better, you may one day be able to better control your blood sugar and possibly cut down on money spent on your diabetes medications.

7. Rate yourself when you return

Highlight all the healthy food purchases on your receipt: fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy foods, dried or low-sodium canned beans and peas, lean meats, fish, nuts and olive oil. Most of your receipt should be highlighted, with only a few lines occupied by indulgent snacks and ready-made foods.

  • Use this list as a starting point for an even healthier grocery trip next week.
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