If you have diabetes or are otherwise trying to manage your blood sugar levels, you probably know that what you eat is very important. Fruits and vegetables are a valuable part of any diet, but when you’re watching your sugar levels, some are more friendly than others.
Vegetables provide us with a hefty dose of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that our bodies need. Some vegetables are particularly high in starch, the most consumed type of carbohydrate, it’s also found in other foods like cereal grains. Starches are considered a complex carbohydrate because they contain many sugar molecules joined together and can spike your blood sugar. This is why diabetics and those with blood sugar issues are often advised against eating them.
So if you’re supposed to stay away from starchy vegetables like potatoes, and corn, which vegetables are safe to eat? Luckily, there are so many non-starchy vegetables to choose from that will add a pop of color and a dose of much-needed nutrients to your plate. Non-starchy veggies tend to be lower in calories and higher in water content, so feel free to pile these on when creating your meals. Check out some of the best non-starchy vegetables for diabetics below.
Artichokes are one of the best vegetables to add to a blood-sugar friendly diet because they’re packed with nutrients like fiber. Fiber has shown to help stabilize blood sugar levels. What’s more, artichokes also boast a number of important nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin K, and folate, and are said to have one of the highest antioxidant levels when compared with other vegetables.
Artichokes are pretty easy to include in your diet, as they can be roasted, sauteed, steamed, or grilled. You can prepare both the leaves and the hearts to be eaten, or even turn them into a delicious dip like this smoky artichoke hummus dip!
Brussels sprouts aren’t just delicious, they’re also great to eat if you’re watching your sugar levels. Half a cup of brussels sprouts contains about 137 percent the recommended daily intake (RDI) for vitamin K, which could help protect your bones over time. They’re also high in vitamin C, A, fiber, and folate.
Try them in our pan-roasted brussels sprouts with bacon recipe!
Broccoli is one of the most nutritious vegetables out there, with one cup containing up to 137 percent of the RDI for vitamin C and 116 percent for vitamin K. Broccoli also contains antioxidants that help fight disease and other nutrients like potassium that regulate fluid retention in the body. Take your broccoli from boring to delightfully savory with this parmesan-garlic roasted broccoli recipe.
Cauliflower is yet another diabetes-friendly vegetable, and now, it’s easier than ever to incorporate into your meals. Cauliflower may not boast a bright eye-catching color like other veggies, but it’s still packed with nutrients that boost your health like fiber, manganese, potassium, vitamin B6, and folate.
Nowadays, cauliflower can be found whole, “riced”, or even shaped into low-carb alternatives to things like pizza crust and gnocchi. Check out this roundup of cauliflower recipes to inspire you!
Often considered a “negative-calorie” food, celery is so regarded because it’s low in calories, but also high in important nutrients. Celery is a water-rich food and it can help you meet your daily fluid intake. Even further, celery has an alkalizing effect on the body which can lower inflammation and prevent disease.
We think you’ll love adding celery to our healthy plant-based soup.
Cucumbers are another alkalizing food that are high in water content. Even more importantly, cucumbers and cucumber extract have also shown to help lower blood sugar levels!
Leafy greens like kale and spinach boast similar health benefits. They’re low in carbs and high in vitamins and minerals that boost heart health, aid digestion, and fight disease. Getting more leafy greens in your diet may also help you lower your blood sugar. You can eat leafy green raw in salads or cooked as a side. If you’re in need of some inspiration, get creative and try our balsamic kale salad with poached salmon recipe.
Mushrooms are yet another low-carb veggie that are totally versatile and easy to get more of in your diet. There are so many different types of mushrooms out there, and they boast a wide range of nutrients like fiber, particularly beta-glucan fiber which has shown to help fight heart disease and control blood sugar. They also contain essential b-vitamins and nutrients like potassium.
You can add fresh mushrooms to salads, stuff them, or sautee them and eat them in omelettes, with other vegetables, or on their own. For a mushroom recipe we love, try these sauteed garlic mushrooms!
Onions don’t just make your meals taste amazing, they also contain health-boosting prebiotic fibers that aid digestion and feed the good bacteria in your gut. Not only that, but onions are low in carbs and high in B vitamins, vitamin C, and more. Animal studies show that they may even aid blood sugar control.
You can add raw onions to salads, sautee them and add them to recipes, or simmer them in soups and stews.
Not all squashes are low in carbs, but certain varieties like zucchini, summer squash, and spaghetti squash are safe to eat if you have diabetes. Each type of squash contains different nutrients, but they’re generally high in water content and contain high amounts of fiber.
Spaghetti squash is a great pasta alternative for diabetics because it’s low in carbs and calories. You can replace spaghetti in any recipe with spaghetti squash as the main dish, or you can roast varieties like zucchini to make delicious sides. Check out this roundup of summer squash recipes you’ll definitely want to take advantage of this season!