Best Low-Carb Fruits and Vegetables for Type 2 Diabetes

By: Jolie Wiener

March 22, 2021

What fruit and vegetables can you safely eat if you have type 2 diabetes? This is a popular question we get asked a lot. And while type 2 diabetes requires certain small lifestyle changes, you can still live an enjoyable and delicious lifestyle despite the disease. 

One of the best and simplest ways to ensure your health for decades to come is to eat healthy foods, regardless of whether you have diabetes or not.

Fruits and vegetables are a great place to start since they are extremely versatile and can be added to other food groups like grains and meats. And with access to fresh fruits and vegetables all season, there’s no reason to miss out.

So, what fruits and vegetables are best for those with type 2 diabetes?

This article will discuss the benefits of eating fruits and vegetables and the best low-carb fruits and vegetables for type 2 diabetes.

Healthy Eating Can Help You Manage Your Type 2 Diabetes

Eating healthy should be a priority regardless of a medical condition. However, when it comes to type 2 diabetes, healthy eating goes a long way to promoting and supporting your healthy habits. 

Eating fruits and vegetables is known to prevent and control type 2 diabetes.

We recommend looking at the glycemic index for any fruits and vegetables you plan to eat. This invaluable tool provides a quick snapshot into how many carbohydrates a specific ingredient may contain.

When using the GI, lower numbers are better. Low GI foods tend to score 55 or lower, Medium GI foods between 56 and 69, and High GI foods 70 or higher.

The Benefits of Eating Fruits

Fruits are a great, natural source of quick energy. Eating too much fruit is not a good idea, but the right amount of servings each day can improve your health. A lot of fruits contain:

  • Potassium, which helps regulate your blood pressure
  • Vitamin C, which helps your body repair itself, and boosts your immune system
  • Folic acid, which is especially important for pregnant women 

Eating one or two servings of fruit per day can improve your diet and your health. Healthy diets can be hard to adopt, and you may be tempted to make very drastic lifestyle changes all at once. However, it is much better for both your physical as well as mental health to consider ADDING in healthy and nutritious foods like fruit in order to make the gradual and manageable changes over time. 

The Benefits of Adding Eating Low-Carb Veggies to a Diabetic’s Diet

Vegetables are the most common thing people think of when thinking of healthy foods. Eating vegetables helps reduce inflammation, promotes healthy living, and improves your diet. Vegetables contain:

  • Fiber, which can reduce cholesterol and health-related diseases like heart disease
  • Vitamin A, which helps boost your immune system against infections
  • Nutrients that are lacking in other food groups like grains

Vegetables are often inexpensive, plentiful, and easy to add to any diet. Even if vegetables are not the central part of your meals, they can easily be a side portion. Eating vegetables for diabetics is one of the simplest ways to control your health and manage your type 2 diabetes

And if you love cooking, these simple ingredients can add a lot of flavor and impact to any meal.

Here Is a List of the Best Low-Carb Fruits and Vegetables

Looking for some new fruits and vegetables to add to your diet? We’ve got you covered with great recommendations for all types of eaters.

Avocados

Avocados are a trendy fruit right now, and they are very healthy for you! Avocados contain high levels of healthy fats similar to the healthy fats that are in fish like salmon. They are also low in carbohydrates and are easily incorporated into many meals, from eggs to toast to smoothies! Or if you’re in a bit of a rush, they’re a tasty treat on their own with a small pinch of salt.

Peaches

Peaches are a summer fruit, so they are not always available. Be sure to buy some when they are in season and at their ripest in order to maximize your nutrient intake. Peaches contain fiber, which regulates your digestion. Absorbing and passing food is very important, regardless of whether you have type 2 diabetes or not.

Spinach

This vegetable is not just for Popeye the Sailor. In fact, spinach is one of many diabetic-friendly veggies. Spinach can very easily be added to most dishes, or you can eat it as a side dish with some garlic, which is also great for your body. 

Spinach contains many vitamins, such as Vitamin A, K, and C, and a very low amount of carbohydrates, making it a superfood for diabetics. If you lack vitamin K in your diet, which helps your bones stay healthy and help with blood clotting, spinach is a great way of adding it.

Blackberries

Blackberries are an amazing fruit if you are type 2 diabetic. These small berries really pack a punch flavor-wise and are a great source of fiber when it comes to fruit. 

Fiber is extremely important for people with type 2 diabetes because it is what your body uses to regulate the way it uses sugars. It also will help with regulating your appetite, so that you don’t end up doing any late-night snacking!

Red Cabbage

This vegetable is not as common at the dinner table, however for those living with type 2 diabetes, it is a great addition to your diet. It’s tasty steamed with seasonings or in a stir fry. Also, it is a very low-carb vegetable as one cup of raw red cabbage only has 5g of carbs

Red cabbage is also extremely high in Vitamin C and Vitamin K. These vitamins are very important for your immune system and for maintaining and strengthening your eyesight. 

Tomatoes

Tomatoes are technically a fruit, but they are often used as a vegetable in meals, or as a garnish in sandwiches and salads. Regardless, tomatoes are a great food to help manage your type 2 diabetes. They contain high levels of antioxidants, which help with reducing inflammation, and are an easy snack to eat alone or as part of a larger meal.

Carrots

Carrots are not only a great source of fiber, but they also can improve your eyesight. The added fiber provides you with a natural solution to constipation, too. This versatile vegetable is great in almost any circumstance. You can eat it as a snack, in a salad, or as an ingredient in a long list of recipes.

Broccoli

You knew broccoli would appear on this list eventually. But don’t downplay just how important broccoli really is. Broccoli is a great source of protein, which helps build muscle and keeps you feeling fuller for longer. For diabetics, the latter part is important since feeling fuller will reduce snacking.

Fresh vs. Frozen Fruits and Vegetables: Is There a Difference?

If you live a busy life, it can be hard to go out and regularly buy fresh fruits and vegetables. Add to that the challenge of washing and preparing your produce. This is exactly why many people purchase frozen fruits and vegetables.

The frozen foods aisle of your grocery store has plenty of frozen fruits and veggies, so don’t be afraid to grab a bag or two!

Frozen fruits and vegetables are typically harvested at peak ripeness. This means that they are picked much later than fruit that needs to be transported to your local grocery store. Studies show that even though these foods are frozen, they actually contain the same amount of vitamins and nutrients as fresh fruit and vegetables. 

So, if your favorite fruit is not in season, don’t worry! Whatever you’re looking for is likely available in the frozen food aisle. Just be mindful of which products may contain added sugar.

Eating Healthy and Type 2 Diabetes

You may have type 2 diabetes, but it does not have to control your life — quite the oppositeTake charge and start managing your type 2 diabetes. 

By making healthy diet and lifestyle choices, you can control your diabetes. Eating a varied diet with lots of natural, non-inflammatory foods that promote general health and wellness is a simple and effective way to do this. 

Are you looking for useful recipes and food tips to help you manage your type 2 diabetes? Join the Winning Type 2 Diabetes Together community to connect, share your stories, wins, and challenges with our like-minded individuals.

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