Grocery Shopping Tips

There is a way to make healthy choices in the grocery store that’ll help you better manage your diabetes. Here are tips to keep your grocery cart stocked with foods that will help you stick to your diabetes meal plan.

  1. Plan meals for the week. Planning your meals for the week can help you save time preparing meals and can even save you money. This will prevent you from buying unhealthy “convenience” items.
  2. Make a list and stick to it. After planning your meals for the week, make a shopping list including all the ingredients you’ll need. This will help you remember items that you need.
  3. Check your blood glucose levels before shopping. This may seem like a strange tip but low blood sugar can increase your hunger levels, making it easier to throw in unhealthy foods.
  4. Check the labels. Reading nutrition labels can help you compare foods and make healthier choices. Read the ingredients and choose foods with the least number of ingredients.
  5. Shop around the edges of the grocery store. Fresh food options are always a better choice than packaged foods. Fresh foods and ingredients are usually found on the outside of the store while highly-processed, unhealthier options are usually placed in the center aisles. You will likely need to go to the center aisles for things like rice, pasta and beans, but choose the options with the least ingredients.
  6. Eat the rainbow. Low-carb vegetables come in a variety of colors. When shopping, look for colorful veggies like celery, zucchini, peppers, broccoli, cucumbers, and lettuce. Opt for fruits with lower carbs like grapefruit, berries and melons. Make it your mission to get a produce item in every color!
  7. Understand label claims. Shop carefully when looking at items with label claims. For example, a label may say “calorie-free”, but if you consume more than one serving, the calories can add up. Additionally, “sugar-free” does not mean carbohydrate-free so check the total number of carbs before you buy. “Reduced” can also be misleading. Reduced can simply mean that it has less fat that the regular version, but it still may be an unhealthy amount. The only way to know what you’re buying for sure is to look at the nutrition label.

Need some help? Try starting with the grocery shopping list in the Diabetes Book.