Berries. A smart substitute when you need to limit candy, berries offer sweet flavor, few calories, and lots of fiber. Plus, they have antioxidants, chemicals that help protect against cancer and heart disease. Raspberries, strawberries, and pomegranates (yes, they're considered a berry) also have plenty of ellagic acid, an antioxidant that may counter cancer. Toss fresh or frozen berries in your morning cereal and noontime salads, and keep dried or freeze-dried versions handy for snacking. High-fiber foods like berries help keep blood sugar levels normal.
Eggs are an inexpensive source of protein, and they may help you lose weight. Research shows that people who eat eggs at breakfast tend to take in fewer calories the rest of the day. The American Heart Association says healthy adults can eat one egg a day. One reason is that they have little saturated fat. (To be safe, talk to your doctor about your blood cholesterol level.) Hard-boil eggs while you prepare dinner. Then store them in the refrigerator so they're ready for a quick breakfast or snack.
Extra virgin olive oil. Called "EVOO" for short, this type of olive oil offers great taste plus type-2-diabetes-friendly monounsaturated fat. "Extra virgin" means the oil is minimally processed, which protects its more than 30 antioxidant and anti-inflammatory plant compounds, says Kathleen Zelman, RD, MPH. Drizzle it on salads, dip bread into it, and use it to sauté meat and veggies. Go easy. Like all oils, it packs 120 calories per tablespoon.
Kale. This nutrition darling is one of healthiest vegetables. One cup delivers 206% of your daily requirement for vitamin A, 134% of your vitamin C requirement, and 684% of your recommended intake of vitamin K (critical for blood clotting and bone health). It's also a top source of lutein and zeaxanthin, which may help prevent age-related eye diseases. Add chopped kale to soups and salads, or toss it with pasta and pine nuts. You can also tear the leaves into 2-inch pieces, spritz with olive oil, and bake until crisp for a bowlful of kale chips.
Low-fat milk. Skim and 1% are smart choices. Milk has three nutrients that many people skimp on: calcium, vitamin D, and potassium. For carb counters, 1 cup of milk is equal to a small piece of fruit or a slice of bread. Use milk in fruit smoothies or steaming-hot chai tea.
Nuts. Yes, they're high in calories, but these are calories well-spent, Zelman says. Most kinds have about 170 calories per ounce, along with heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, protein, and fiber. And nuts can help stabilize blood sugar. Reach for a small handful of nuts instead of potato chips. Sprinkle them on oatmeal, yogurt, or salads for added crunch and nutrition.
Salmon. Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, fatty fish such as salmon may protect against age-related dementia. Omega-3s also boost heart health by lowering a type of blood fat called triglycerides. That's why the American Heart Association recommends eating omega-3-rich fish at least twice a week. Enjoy salmon as an entrée, or add it to green salads or pasta.
Sweet potatoes. A superior source of the antioxidant beta-carotene, sweet potatoes also supply vitamin C and potassium. Zelman roasts them in a 400-degree Fahrenheit oven for an hour for a delicious caramelized flavor that needs nothing more than a sprinkle of cinnamon, a spice that may help lower blood sugar. Cook with the skin on, since the skin has fiber and nutrients.
Tea. Green, oolong, or white tea are great sources of antioxidant flavonoids called catechins. (Black tea has less.) The longer you steep tea, the more flavonoids you get, Zelman says. People who drink three cups of tea a day may be less likely to have a heart attack. Zelman's pantry is full of flavored teas, which are tasty enough to enjoy without sweeteners.
Whole-grain cereal. This is one of your best bets for breakfast. It can help lower blood pressure and LDL ("bad") cholesterol. Whole grainshave powerful plant chemicals, lignans and flavonoids, which may help prevent heart disease. Zelman recommends cereals with at least 5 grams of fiber to help control blood sugar and stave off hunger. You can add protein by adding in low-fat milk or soy milk, nuts, and seeds.
We invite you to visit our Homepage for additional information on products and studies on diabetes.