Food Choices with Type 2 Diabete

When diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, one of the immediate queries is: "What should I (or the loved one) eat now?


11/1/20235 min read

ice with cherry on top
ice with cherry on top

Navigating Food Choices with Type 2 Diabetes

When diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, one of the immediate queries is: "What should I (or the loved one) eat now?" Answering this doesn't need to be difficult. Here's a simplified guide to assist.

1. Follow the 'ideal plate' principle. Aim for a dinner plate that's divided into a quarter each for protein and carbs, and half for non-starchy vegetables.

2. No need for special meals. Individuals with type 2 diabetes do not have to purchase particular foods or separate meals from their families. There are ample healthy and delicious recipes that every family member can relish.

3. Promote healthier options effortlessly. Make a collective family decision to avoid stocking unhealthy food at home. While this seems challenging in the beginning, it ends up benefiting all in the long run. If there are dietary compromises lurking in your pantry or fridge, a few modifications can substantially improve everyone's health.

Guidelines for Pantry Contents


High-calorie, low-nutrient foods such as potato chips, buttery crackers, cakes, biscuits, chocolates, candies, rich dressings, cheeses, white bread, croissants, brioche, white rice (basmati may be an exception), high-fat cereals with low fiber, and ice cream should be discarded from your pantry.


Foods that positively contribute to your health include high-fiber cereals (those without toasting and having more than 7g fiber per 100g like bran-based, rolled oats, or untoasted muesli). Other options are dried legumes, brown or basmati rice, high-fiber breads and crackers, canned vegetables (like sweet corn, tomato, beetroot), canned legumes (like chickpeas, lentils, chili beans), and heart-friendly oils such as olive or sunflower oil, nuts and seeds. Store frozen vegetables, lean meat, poultry, or fish in your freezer. Add some taste to your meals with lesser quantities of various Asian sauces (for example, low-salt soy sauce, oyster sauce, sweet chilli sauce, fish sauce, mirin).

Purchasing Guidelines

Top 10 Pantry Essentials

1. Canned legumes like chickpeas, lentils, cannellini beans

High in fiber, these legumes are economical and filling. Make an effortless hummus using puréed chickpeas or cannellini beans, garlic, and lemon juice. You can also add drained chickpeas to soups or curries for some added texture and protein.

2. Canned fishes like tuna, salmon, sardines

These fishes, rich in protein and omega-3 fats, are perfect to accompany salad and bread in your lunchbox. Opt for varieties canned in spring water or consume the oil-drained versions.

3. Canned tomatoes

These lycopene-rich tomatoes can be used in various dishes. The flavored varieties serve as excellent sauces for meats or legumes.

4. Pumpkin or sunflower seeds

These dry-fried seeds provide a savory, crunchy touch to many dishes.

5. Balsamic vinegar

Balsamic vinegar is a flavor enhancer for marinades, dressings, and sauces, and comes with no added calories.

6. Nuts and nut butter

They add flavor, crunch, and a creamy texture, complementing your dish with heart-friendly fats.

7. Fish sauce

This is a perfect flavor enhancer for Asian dressings and stir-fry sauces. However, due to its high sodium content, dilute with water or use in smaller amounts than the recipe suggests.

8. Seeded mustard

This works well as a spread on bread, in salad dressings, as a rub on lean meat, or as a side with almost any dish.

9. Dried chili flakes

These heat-packed flakes can spruce up your casseroles, sauces, and soups.

10. Low-salt soy sauce

This sauce is effective in adding flavor without extra calories.

Top 10 Fresh Must-Haves

Fresh vegetables and fruits are the top priorities for a healthy pantry. Non-starchy ones make great added taste and volume to your meals. They are also goodness-packed to keep you healthy. Yet, be mindful about starchy vegetables like potatoes, kumara, yams, and taro, as these carbs should make up only one-quarter of a balanced healthy plate.

1. Salad greens

For instance, baby spinach or mesclun salad mix. Rich in nutrition, these greens are ideal to enhance your meals. Make it a habit of consuming a minimum of a handful of greens daily!

2. Fresh herbs

They are excellent for adding flavor without adding calories. For example, fresh basil works wonders with tomatoes, while coriander complements almost any Asian dish.

3. Telegraph cucumber

Being low in calories, it is a fantastic option to add into salads, sandwiches, or platters. Create an easy low-calorie dip by grating cucumber and adding a little garlic and salt to thick, low-fat plain yogurt.

4. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are a valuable ingredient, both in flavor and nutrition. They can be used in several dishes and make an excellent addition to your pantry.Enjoy a slice savored with a smear of cottage cheese on a rustic cracker or serve it with refreshing cucumber and feta cheese cubes for a Grecian salad vibe. One of the benefits of tomatoes includes their lycopene content, a powerful antioxidant associated with reducing the risk of prostate cancer.

5. Bananas

Amplify the sweetness of your morning cereal with added banana slices. They're a handy snack to keep at your workspace or in your vehicle for when a hunger pang hits. Consider them one of nature's premier quick foods!

6. Kiwi

Loaded with vitamin C and fiber, a kiwi can provide a welcome sweet escape post-dinner. Try carving up a kiwi, add a dollop of yogurt and a dusting of muesli for a nightcap treat.

7. Blueberries

Outclassing nearly all veggies and fruits, blueberries are packed with antioxidants. The berries' rich blue hue stems from anthocyanins, antioxidants demonstrated to foster brain health.

8. Chicken Breasts

Lean and mean, skinless chicken breasts are among the less fatty meat choices. They might be pricey, but a little goes a long way, especially in a hearty stir-fry.

9. Tofu

Though tofu may not offer a distinct taste, it harmoniously blends with flavors of the ingredients it's cooked with, creating a delightful dish. As a protein-rich soy product, tofu fits seamlessly into stir-fry meals as a protein substitute.

10. Falafel

Health enthusiasts, here's your fast food fix! Falafels, made from ground legumes like chickpeas or fava beans, are a readily available healthy pick from most supermarket deli sections.

Fridge and Freezer Favourites

1. Frozen Baby Beans

They're a fantastic backup for when you run low on fresh veggies. Toss a handful into curries, stir-fries, or casseroles for an enriching last-minute addition.

2. Trim or Calci-Trim Milk

Option for trim or Calci-Trim milk sporting a green/yellow top, forsaking dark-blue topped full-cream milk, promotes healthier kilojoule and saturated fat intake.

3. Less Fat Greek Yogurt

For times when you crave creaminess but want to maintain a balance of kilojoules, grab a cup of this yogurt.

4. Tomato Paste

Tomato paste tubes, which can endure evanescent fridge life, serve as an excellent low-kilojoule pizza sauce or a flavor enhancer in tomato-oriented meals.

5. Parmesan Cheese

Despite its concentrated energy levels, you only need a dash of Parmesan Cheese. Scatter it sparingly over Italian dishes or use it to intensify the flavor of low-fat cheese.

6. Curry Paste Jars

For a flavor explosion with minimal kilojoule content, stir in a tablespoon or two of curry paste into cooked chicken or fish. Just add a bit of reduced-fat coconut milk, but beware of the sodium content.

7. Jars of Minced Ginger and Garlic

While fresh ingredients are ideal, these jars offer convenience when time is of the essence. They enhance your meals' flavors with few kilojoules.

8. Whole Grain Bread

Store a loaf of high-fiber bread in your freezer. This way, you can easily control portion sizes by taking out only as many slices as needed.

9. Caper Jar

Lush in flavor and low in kilojoules, capers make scrumptious additions to pasta sauces, pizzas, or salads.