Vegetables are excellent for everyone, but diabetics in particular should aim for 3 to 5 servings per day (according to the American Diabetes Association). A half of cup of raw veggies is considered one serving, as well as one cup of cooked vegetables.
The one thing that diabetics must realize is that all veggies are not created equal. Non-starchy vegetables that have a low glycemic index are the best choice. Basically, diabetics need to choose vegetables that will not spike their blood glucose levels.
Overall, vegetables are packed with healthy vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and much needed fiber. Vegetables are divided into two
categories – starchy and non-starchy. It is in your best interest to know the difference.
Starchy vegetables will raise blood sugar levels, because they have a high caloric count. Examples include, but not limited to: green peas, white potatoes, and pumpkin.
Remember, it doesn’t matter what vegetable is being prepared, the cooking method needs also to be considered. For example, when non-starchy vegetables are steamed, grilled or roasted, they are a much better choice than a starchy vegetable choice that is prepared in butter. Another important tip to remember; is that one serving size of a starchy vegetable is half that compared to a non-starchy version.
Asparagus is low in fat and high in vitamins A and C, as well as being a good source of fiber.
Carrots offer a sweet taste, and they make a great snack that is full of vitamins (A, B, C and K), as well as folate, magnesium and fiber. The vitamin A offered in carrots help to protect a diabetic from eye damage.
Dark Leafy Greens
Spinach, kale, escarole and collard greens are all considered to be dark leafy green vegetables (aka: “super foods”). These foods are not only low in fat, calories and carbohydrates, but they are also high in fiber.
Tomatoes are known to help fight many types of disease, including diabetes, because of their powerful antioxidant, known as lycopene. When purchasing a tomato-based product, make sure that it has “low sodium” and “no added sugar” clearly marked on the package. Of course, it is always recommended to enjoy fresh produce. Tomatoes can be stewed, pureed, juiced, used as a sauce and/or enjoyed raw. At just 4 grams of carbs per serving, this diabetic friendly food is full of calcium, potassium, fiber and vitamins A, C and K.
Bell peppers are bursting with delicious flavor, and are available in a variety of bright colors (red, orange, green, purple and yellow). Bell peppers make a great crunchy snack, or they can be grilled or added to a healthy stir-fry dish.
In addition to the above mentioned, some other delicious non-starch vegetables include: