January 14th, 2011
03:59 PM ET

What should I eat if I have diabetes?

Every weekday, a CNNHealth expert doctor answers a viewer question. On Friday, it's Dr. Melina Jampolis, a physician nutrition specialist.

Question asked by Barbara Ray of Las Vegas, Nevada

I am type 2 diabetic trying to create a daily diet, and snacks, food program that I can use to prevent getting the terrible sick feeling that comes when my sugar goes too low. I would like to store these foods and snacks in my home so that I can reach them when necessary. Please name the foods, and snacks, as well as the proper times to consume them. Also when is the time to take Metformin even if your readings are regular and you feel OK? Thank you for your answer to these questions.

Expert answer

Hi, Barbara. To prevent hypoglycemia and to minimize the complications associated with diabetes including heart disease, kidney disease, eye problems and infection, it is important to keep blood sugar levels as steady as possible throughout the day. To accomplish this, I recommend trying to combine some type of lean protein (skinless chicken, fish, turkey, lean ground beef, beans, egg whites, low-fat cottage cheese or yogurt) or healthy fat (olive oil, canola oil, nuts, seeds, avocado) with a healthy carbohydrate with each meal or snack.

Make sure to choose healthy, low-sugar, antioxidant-rich carbohydrates like whole grains (brown rice, whole-wheat pasta, whole-grain bread, cereal, crackers, quinoa, barley), whole fruit (not juice or dried fruit) and vegetables. These types of carbohydrates are generally low-glycemic, which means they increase blood sugar less rapidly than highly processed, refined, sugar-filled carbohydrates. Naturally high-fiber foods are always a good choice as they slow the emptying of food from your stomach, which helps improve blood sugar control. By preventing spikes in blood sugar, you can also prevent the crashes that follow.

It is also important to try to eat regularly throughout the day. Try not to let more than four hours go by without having either a meal or snack, to prevent blood sugar from getting too low. And do your best to eat within 30 minutes or so of waking up.

How well are you managing your diabetes? Take this test

Since you talk about storing foods in your home, I'm going to give you some of the best canned and frozen choices, although fresh is always a great choice if you have the option. Here are some staples to keep on hand:

1. Nuts: Nuts (both peanuts, which are actually legumes, and nuts like almonds, walnuts, pistachios, etc.) contain healthy fats, fiber and heart-healthy plant-based protein. They make great snacks alone or with a piece of fruit or can be thrown on a salad or into yogurt for added crunch and nutrition.

2. Beans: These are also excellent sources of fiber and plant-based protein. Drain and rinse canned beans to decrease salt content. Beans work great in soups and chili, on salads or as a healthy side dish. I'm a big fan of bean-based soups like minestrone, vegetable or lentil as a healthy lunch or pre-dinner appetizer.

3. Frozen vegetables: I always have lots of frozen vegetables on hand for healthy side dishes. Try seasoning with a little olive oil (healthy fat) and spices instead of salt for extra flavor.

4. Canned tuna and chicken (water-packed and low-sodium when available): These provide a quick and healthy lunch or dinner option. Mix with mustard or a little olive oil-based spread and serve on whole-grain bread or in a whole-wheat pita pocket (both of which you could freeze to have extra on hand)

5. Frozen fruit: I'm a big fan of frozen berries, which are loaded with antioxidants (important to decrease the complications of diabetes) and fiber. I use them to make smoothies for breakfast (with plain non-fat yogurt or protein powder and one or two tablespoons of ground flax seed for healthy fat), and sometimes I defrost them and top with a little light whipped topping or low-fat vanilla yogurt for a healthy and tasty dessert.

Regarding your Metformin, you should talk to your doctor regarding the best time to take it, as it depends on the type of pill you are taking. In general, however, Metformin should not cause low blood sugar episodes and should be taken with meals.

Ask experts a question

soundoff (867 Responses)
  1. frame repair shop near me


    June 8, 2021 at 10:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. orange coast trailer supply


    June 9, 2021 at 08:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Google Marketing Experts


    June 9, 2021 at 13:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Ronnie Eanni


    June 9, 2021 at 16:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Benito Gilday

    You need to take part in a contest for one of the finest sites on the net. I will highly recommend this site!


    June 9, 2021 at 19:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Alan Liewald

    Good post. I learn something new and challenging on blogs I stumbleupon everyday. It will always be helpful to read through content from other authors and practice a little something from other web sites.

    June 9, 2021 at 19:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Arturo Walentoski


    June 10, 2021 at 00:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Basil Baus


    June 10, 2021 at 06:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Kasey Knop

    This is a topic that is near to my heart... Many thanks! Exactly where are your contact details though?


    June 10, 2021 at 07:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. read this

    Nice blog here! Also your site loads up very fast! What host are you using? Can I get your affiliate link to your host? I wish my site loaded up as quickly as yours lol


    June 10, 2021 at 13:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Lu Bauer


    June 10, 2021 at 14:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. rv repair near me


    June 10, 2021 at 16:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Ron Kindell


    June 10, 2021 at 16:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Noah Rydalch

    I blog frequently and I really appreciate your content. Your article has truly peaked my interest. I'm going to take a note of your website and keep checking for new details about once per week. I opted in for your RSS feed too.


    June 10, 2021 at 17:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Kayleen Lunghofer

    Aw, this was a really nice post. Taking the time and actual effort to create a very good articleÖ but what can I sayÖ I hesitate a whole lot and never seem to get anything done.


    June 10, 2021 at 17:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Amazon hub for employees

    I like the valuable info you provide in your articles. I will bookmark your weblog and check again here regularly. I am quite certain Ill learn many new stuff right here! Best of luck for the next!


    June 10, 2021 at 18:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. https://www.yamatocosmos.com

    Best view i have ever seen !


    June 10, 2021 at 22:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. rv repair

    You should be a part of a contest for one of the most useful blogs online. I am going to recommend this web site!


    June 11, 2021 at 01:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Trinidad Melochick

    I blog quite often and I truly appreciate your information. This great article has truly peaked my interest. I will take a note of your site and keep checking for new information about once a week. I opted in for your Feed as well.

    June 11, 2021 at 03:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Clayton Ouimette

    May I simply say what a comfort to uncover somebody who genuinely knows what they are talking about on the net. You definitely understand how to bring a problem to light and make it important. More people have to check this out and understand this side of the story. I was surprised you are not more popular since you definitely possess the gift.


    June 11, 2021 at 04:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Jared Hermandez


    June 11, 2021 at 05:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. rv repair service near me

    Saved as a favorite, I love your web site!


    June 11, 2021 at 10:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Dulcie Baun

    I quite like looking through an article that can make men and women think. Also, many thanks for allowing for me to comment!


    June 11, 2021 at 12:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. rv parts and repair near me


    June 11, 2021 at 19:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. RV Alignment Orange County

    I love reading an article that will make people think. Also, many thanks for allowing for me to comment!


    June 12, 2021 at 01:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Mercedes Luxury Van Repair

    That is a great tip particularly to those new to the blogosphere. Brief but very accurate infoÖ Thanks for sharing this one. A must read article!


    June 12, 2021 at 01:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Sprinter Van Repair San Diego


    June 12, 2021 at 02:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. nearest trailer repair shop


    June 12, 2021 at 03:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Freightliner Sprinter Service


    June 12, 2021 at 03:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Tzumi fitrx pro muscle massage gun

    I think this is one of the most vital information for me. And i am glad reading your article. But want to remark on few general things, The website style is ideal, the articles is really excellent : D. Good job, cheers


    June 12, 2021 at 08:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. rv repair shop

    bookmarked!!, I love your website!


    June 12, 2021 at 10:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. enterprise near me

    Hi, I do believe this is an excellent website. I stumbledupon it 😉 I will come back yet again since i have book-marked it. Money and freedom is the greatest way to change, may you be rich and continue to help others.


    June 12, 2021 at 18:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. amazon jobs near me


    June 12, 2021 at 21:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. ikea near me


    June 12, 2021 at 23:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. pizza near me

    Next time I read a blog, Hopefully it doesn't fail me as much as this particular one. I mean, I know it was my choice to read through, however I truly thought you would probably have something interesting to say. All I hear is a bunch of moaning about something you can fix if you weren't too busy looking for attention.


    June 13, 2021 at 02:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. hibachi near me

    Good day! I just would like to give you a big thumbs up for your great information you have here on this post. I will be returning to your site for more soon.


    June 13, 2021 at 03:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. credit union near me

    An outstanding share! I have just forwarded this onto a coworker who had been doing a little research on this. And he in fact bought me breakfast because I found it for him... lol. So allow me to reword this.... Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending some time to discuss this subject here on your blog.


    June 13, 2021 at 03:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. autozone near me


    June 13, 2021 at 04:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. https://www.yamatocosmos.com

    Best view i have ever seen !


    June 13, 2021 at 08:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. burger places near me


    June 13, 2021 at 09:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. gas station near me


    June 13, 2021 at 09:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. food lion near me

    Oh my goodness! Incredible article dude! Thank you, However I am encountering problems with your RSS. I donít understand the reason why I can't subscribe to it. Is there anybody having identical RSS problems? Anyone that knows the solution will you kindly respond? Thanx!!


    June 13, 2021 at 10:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. pharmacy near me

    I was able to find good info from your blog articles.


    June 13, 2021 at 11:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. smog check near me

    Hello there! I could have sworn Iíve visited your blog before but after browsing through a few of the articles I realized itís new to me. Regardless, Iím certainly happy I came across it and Iíll be book-marking it and checking back frequently!


    June 13, 2021 at 12:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. kia dealer near me


    June 13, 2021 at 18:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. https://www.yamatocosmos.com

    Best view i have ever seen !


    June 13, 2021 at 21:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. boats for sale near me

    Everyone loves it when folks get together and share opinions. Great website, stick with it!


    June 13, 2021 at 21:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. drive in theater near me

    I must thank you for the efforts you've put in writing this site. I'm hoping to view the same high-grade content from you in the future as well. In fact, your creative writing abilities has inspired me to get my very own website now 😉


    June 13, 2021 at 21:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. dhl near me

    Itís hard to come by experienced people on this subject, however, you seem like you know what youíre talking about! Thanks


    June 13, 2021 at 22:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. rapid result covid testing near me


    June 14, 2021 at 01:11 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17

Leave a Reply to Henry


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.