1 / 9 Best Low-Carb Veggies for a Diabetes-Friendly Diet
When you have type 2 diabetes, eating low-carb vegetables is a smart way to fill up without filling out your waistline — or spiking your blood sugar levels. Non-starchy or low-carbohydrate veggies are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and fiber while still being low in calories. It’s always smart to eat a rainbow-colored diet, but the following veggies are among the best.
2 / 9 Spinach
Popeye had the right idea when he bulked up on green, leafy spinach. This low-carb veggie is a wise addition to a diabetes-friendly diet because it’s loaded with folate, beta carotene, and vitamin K. Either use fresh leaves or opt for frozen and canned versions with no added salt. Fold steamed spinach into an egg-white omelet at breakfast, toss fresh leaves in a healthy, low-carbohydrate salad at lunch, and add drained, canned spinach to soups, casseroles, or pasta sauce at dinner.
3 / 9 Tomatoes
Tomatoes, another superfood for diabetes, are packed with vitamin C, are an excellent source of vitamin A, and are a good source of potassium. They’re also low-carb and low-cal, averaging just 32 calories per cup. The nutrient lycopene, which gives red tomatoes their color, is a powerful antioxidant and may protect against heart disease and prostate cancer. Add a slice of juicy tomato to your next sandwich or cook up a big pot of tomato sauce: It makes a great topping for veggies, chicken, and other good foods in your diabetes-friendly diet.
4 / 9 Broccoli
If you’re not already eating broccoli, make a point of adding it to your diabetes-friendly diet. It’s low in carbohydrates and loaded with vitamins A, C, and K. It also boasts fiber and iron among its contents. Look for florets that are packed tightly together and are dark green in color. Frozen broccoli (minus the added salt or sauce) can also be a delicious addition to your diet plan and, unlike the fresh kind, doesn’t need to be eaten right after you purchase it. Consider including raw or lightly steamed broccoli on your next party platter instead of chips.
5 / 9 Cucumbers
Cucumbers are a cool, crisp, low-carb choice for people with diabetes. A generous one-cup portion has less than 5 grams of carbohydrates. Translation: You can get your fill without worrying about raising your blood sugar too much. Cucumbers are an excellent source of vitamin K, and they also contain some potassium and vitamin C. Keep in mind that cucumbers are not only for salads — you can also add thin slices to sandwiches or wraps, or serve up cucumber spears for a crunchy afternoon snack.
6 / 9 Cabbage
Eating cabbage is an inexpensive way to add vitamins K and C, as well as antioxidants, to your diabetes-friendly diet. Cabbage also contains manganese, fiber, and vitamin B6. This low-carb veggie is at its peak in the fall and early winter. Pick a head that’s firm with shiny leaves. When you get it home, put it in the refrigerator. Cover it with plastic wrap once it’s cut to slow down the loss of vitamins. Experiment with recipes that use this low-carb vegetable raw as well as cooked.
7 / 9 Brussels Sprouts
Brussels sprouts are only now starting to win the popularity they deserve — and they definitely deserve a place on your diabetes meal plan. Besides being low-carb, these mini cabbages are full of vitamins A, C, folate, and fiber. As with cabbage, Brussels sprouts are a cruciferous low-carbohydrate veggie, which experts believe may ward off some cancers. Try sprinkling fresh Brussels sprouts with olive oil, salt, pepper, and fresh lemon juice before roasting at 450 degrees F for about 20 minutes. This will bring out the tangy mustard flavor while keeping the texture firm.
8 / 9 Cauliflower
Another neglected low-carbohydrate veggie, cauliflower can be a boon to your diabetes meal plan. This vegetable is brimming with vitamin C (one cup of raw floret pieces has more than half your daily requirement) and also contains fiber, potassium, and folate. Cauliflower is also versatile enough to serve raw, roasted, or steamed, and goes great in soups: Just cook until tender, then blend it with chicken broth.
9 / 9 Asparagus
This flavorful veggie only has 27 calories and 5 grams per cup. It’s also packed with vitamins K and A. When shopping for asparagus, look for firm, bright green stalks with compact heads. Thinner stalks tend to be tenderer. Snap off the woody ends with your hands (they’ll break naturally at the right point), then steam, sauté, or roast. Asparagus pairs well with eggs, which is an excellent way to add a serving of veggies to breakfast.