How to stock the perfect pantry for diabetics

Eating a well balanced diet is essential to diabetics. With a bit of planning and some well-focused grocery shopping, you can have on hand all you need for a delicious family dinner, or a “my-schedule-is-too-nuts-to-cook-tonight” grab ‘n go meal. Here’s how to get started:

Canned beans: learn to love ’em. Garbanzo, pinto, black, navy.

Whole-grain pastas. There are all sort of sizes and shapes available now…experiment.

Grains & Rices: Couscous, kasha, millet, quinoa, white, basmati, brown, wild rices. Keep a variety on hand.

Boxed cereals: Fiber One, Cheerios, Rice Krispies, Kix.

Breads, etc: Diet, light, low-carb whole-wheat: bread, pancake mix, tortillas. Read the labels!

Chocolate treats: Cocoa Via Crispy Chocolate Bar, Snack Bars, Chocolate Blueberry Snack Bar…all good.

Proteins: water-packed tuna, chicken breast, salmon. Canned or pouch.

Tomato products: reduced-sodium canned tomatoes, tomato soup, broth-based vegetable soups, V-8 juice, tomato juice, Diet V-8 Splash.

Popcorn:If you’re still microwaving your popcorn, look for Orville Redenbacher Smart Pop popcorn in the snack-size bags. (Pssst…buy yourself an air popper and skip all the fat and additives found in microwave popcorn. Your body will thank you.)

Crackers: Ritz Chips crackers.

Breakfast condiments: reduced-sugar jams, jellies, pancake syrups.

Vinegars: Balsamic, cider, fruit- and herb-infused, malt, red, white, rice wine, and sherry. Tips: balsamic vinegar that has caramel-anything in the ingredients usually isn’t worth the money. Spend a bit more, get much, much more value. If you’re into fruit/herb-infused vinegars, learn to make them yourself. It’s easy.

Cooking sprays: stay with neutral flavors.

Oils: canola, olive, safflower, sesame are good for just about anything you might be cooking.

Nuts: raw, roasted, unsalted, all good. Get into the habit of eating at least 3, 2oz servings of nuts weekly. Nuts are good for you.

Next blog: stocking the diabetic refrigerator.


Kent McDonald is a Certified Personal Chef, living and working in Phoenix, AZ. (c) All rights reserved, 2012.

2 thoughts on “How to stock the perfect pantry for diabetics

  1. Woah! Rice Krispies? White Rice (any rice?)? Popcorn? Beans? Even with the fiber, most of these have way too many carbs for this diabetic. I try to keep my carbs under 20g per meal, breakfast fewer. But then I don’t want to take lots of meds, either, and this way I can keep my blood sugars under control.

  2. Sorry I missed your comment Eric. Carb and fiber intact varies from one person to another as you. Some flat-out avoid carbs altogether while others balance their carb intact with fiber, natural or otherwise. In the end, you’d be hard pressed to find a physician who tells you to avoid ANY basic food group. Balance is everything.

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