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. body shop near me

    Greetings! Very helpful advice in this particular post! It is the little changes that will make the biggest changes. Thanks a lot for sharing!


    June 18, 2021 at 02:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. home goods near me


    June 18, 2021 at 04:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. liquor store open near me

    After exploring a number of the articles on your blog, I really like your technique of blogging. I saved as a favorite it to my bookmark webpage list and will be checking back soon. Take a look at my web site too and let me know how you feel.


    June 18, 2021 at 07:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. RV Repair Shops Near Me Now


    June 18, 2021 at 12:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. RV Repair Shop


    June 18, 2021 at 13:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. RV Repair

    You made some good points there. I checked on the internet to find out more about the issue and found most people will go along with your views on this web site.


    June 18, 2021 at 13:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Nearby RV Repair

    Pretty! This was an extremely wonderful article. Thank you for supplying this information.


    June 18, 2021 at 14:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. RV Repair Seal Beach

    This is a topic that is near to my heart... Cheers! Where are your contact details though?


    June 18, 2021 at 15:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. RV Repair


    June 18, 2021 at 19:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. RV Repair California


    June 18, 2021 at 19:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. RV Repair Orange County


    June 18, 2021 at 22:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Camper Repair Places Near Me


    June 19, 2021 at 00:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. RV Repair Mission Viejo


    June 19, 2021 at 10:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. airbnb near me

    Very good info. Lucky me I recently found your website by chance (stumbleupon). I've bookmarked it for later!


    June 19, 2021 at 10:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. eye exam near me

    After looking into a number of the articles on your blog, I honestly appreciate your way of writing a blog. I book marked it to my bookmark website list and will be checking back soon. Take a look at my web site as well and tell me your opinion.


    June 19, 2021 at 11:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Camper Repairs Near Me


    June 19, 2021 at 11:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Sprinter Repair Costa Mesa


    June 19, 2021 at 14:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. RV Repair Around Me

    May I simply say what a comfort to find someone that actually knows what they're talking about over the internet. You certainly know how to bring a problem to light and make it important. More and more people really need to read this and understand this side of the story. I was surprised that you aren't more popular because you definitely have the gift.


    June 19, 2021 at 14:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. RV Repair Garden Grove


    June 19, 2021 at 14:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. RV Repair San Clemente California

    You are so cool! I do not believe I've read through a single thing like this before. So good to discover another person with some genuine thoughts on this topic. Seriously.. many thanks for starting this up. This website is one thing that's needed on the internet, someone with a bit of originality!


    June 19, 2021 at 17:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Free Stuff

    Another important part is that if you are a senior citizen, travel insurance intended for pensioners is something you need to really consider. The old you are, the greater at risk you will be for allowing something negative happen to you while in foreign countries. If you are not necessarily covered by several comprehensive insurance policy, you could have several serious complications. Thanks for sharing your ideas on this web site.


    June 19, 2021 at 21:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. RV Repairs Near Me


    June 19, 2021 at 22:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Vicente

    Its like you read my mind! You appear to know a lot about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you could do with some pics to drive the message home a little bit, but instead of that, this is fantastic blog. A fantastic read. I will certainly be back.


    June 19, 2021 at 23:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. RV Repair San Clemente California

    I enjoy reading an article that can make men and women think. Also, thank you for allowing for me to comment!


    June 20, 2021 at 00:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Content Marketing Boutique

    Saved as a favorite, I really like your website!


    June 20, 2021 at 01:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Video Marketing Consultants


    June 20, 2021 at 03:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Internet Marketing Consultant

    After exploring a few of the blog posts on your website, I honestly appreciate your way of writing a blog. I book-marked it to my bookmark website list and will be checking back in the near future. Please check out my web site too and tell me how you feel.


    June 20, 2021 at 06:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Digital Marketing Service


    June 20, 2021 at 07:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Local Marketing Companies Near Me


    June 20, 2021 at 10:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Chung Coomey


    June 20, 2021 at 14:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Scot Fenech


    June 20, 2021 at 18:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. pharmaceptica

    best erectile dysfunction medication https://pharmaceptica.com/

    June 20, 2021 at 19:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Juliann Watkin


    June 20, 2021 at 19:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. https://thuocladientu123.com

    Best view i have ever seen !


    June 20, 2021 at 22:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. RV Repair Around Me

    An outstanding share! I have just forwarded this onto a colleague who had been doing a little research on this. And he actually ordered me dinner because I discovered it for him... lol. So allow me to reword this.... Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending some time to discuss this issue here on your website.


    June 21, 2021 at 00:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. RV Repair Places Near Me


    June 21, 2021 at 04:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. 강남야구장

    If you are going for finest contents like myself, only go to see this site daily for the reason that it presents quality contents, thanks

    June 21, 2021 at 05:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. RV Repair Places Near Me


    June 21, 2021 at 05:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. veterinarian near me


    June 21, 2021 at 08:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. bath and body works near me

    Oh my goodness! Incredible article dude! Thank you so much, However I am having difficulties with your RSS. I donít understand the reason why I can't join it. Is there anyone else getting the same RSS problems? Anyone who knows the solution can you kindly respond? Thanks!!


    June 21, 2021 at 10:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. RV Repair Shops Near My Location


    June 21, 2021 at 10:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Miles

    Very well written article. It will be valuable to anyone who usess it, as well as me. Keep up the good work – for sure i will check out more posts.


    June 21, 2021 at 11:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Nearby RV Repairs


    June 21, 2021 at 12:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. fred meyer near me


    June 21, 2021 at 12:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. verizon near me

    You should take part in a contest for one of the finest blogs on the net. I am going to highly recommend this website!


    June 21, 2021 at 21:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Mercedes Sprinter Refrigerater Repair

    Hi, I do believe this is an excellent web site. I stumbledupon it 😉 I am going to come back once again since I book-marked it. Money and freedom is the greatest way to change, may you be rich and continue to help other people.


    June 22, 2021 at 00:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Dry Van Trailer Repair


    June 22, 2021 at 01:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. RV Repair Shops Near Me


    June 22, 2021 at 04:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. RV Suspension Repair Near Me

    This is a really good tip especially to those fresh to the blogosphere. Simple but very precise infoÖ Thank you for sharing this one. A must read article!


    June 22, 2021 at 16:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. RV Window Repair Near Me

    An interesting discussion is definitely worth comment. I believe that you ought to write more about this topic, it may not be a taboo subject but typically folks don't discuss such topics. To the next! Cheers!!


    June 22, 2021 at 18:25 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17

Leave a Reply to pvtetnpsdstv


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.

January 2011
  • An error has occurred, which probably means the feed is down. Try again later.