If you have diabetes, you can (and should) eat carbs. The key: eating proper portions and choosing carbs that will help control blood sugar. These healthy carbs are especially helpful for diabetics.
by Amy Gorin, MS, RDN
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Healthy carb: Oatmeal
Eating oats (the kind without added sugar) can slightly lower both fasting blood sugar levels and HbA1c, a three-month measure of blood-sugar levels, shows a review study by Beijing scientists. Have ½ cup cooked. Make a savory oatmeal: Top with a soft-cooked egg and mushrooms and onions sautéed in low-sodium vegetable broth.
Healthy carb: Sweet potato
These orange spuds are digested more slowly than the white variety, thanks to their high fiber content. Season with a dash of cinnamon, shown to help control blood sugar. Have ½ cup cooked. Make a snack: Top a baked sweet potato with cinnamon and almond butter.
Healthy carb: Brown rice
Whole grains like brown rice contain all three parts of the fiber-rich grain kernel, while white rice and other refined grains have only the endosperm intact. The fiber helps to slow the speed at which carbohydrates hit your bloodstream.
Have ⅓ cup cooked. Make rice pudding: Mix rice with equal parts light coconut milk, and combine with dried cranberries and cinnamon; cover and soak overnight.
Healthy carb: Lentils
The new 2015-2020 Guidelines for Americans recommend eating more protein-rich pulses, such as lentils and beans. And for good reason: Along with 9 grams of protein and 8 grams of fiber, ½ cup cooked lentils contains potassium, which helps to control blood pressure. This is especially important because two in three people with diabetes have high blood pressure or take medication to lower blood pressure, according to the American Diabetes Association. Have ½ cup cooked. Make a salad: Combine with diced pears and apples, dried cranberries, fruit-infused balsamic vinegar, and olive oil.
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Healthy carb: Freekeh
Like rice, this ancient grain offers fiber: Each ⅓ cup serving of the cooked grain has up to 13 percent of your daily need. It also contains the mineral manganese, important for blood sugar control. Have ⅓ cup cooked. Make a salad: Combine with arugula, tomato slices, diced red onion, feta, olive oil, and lemon juice.
Healthy carb: Plain Greek yogurt
A ¾ cup serving of plain 2% fat Greek yogurt contains about 7 grams of carbs (about half the amount in a slice of bread), along with essential nutrients, such as protein and calcium. Getting enough calcium is essential for people with diabetes, who may be more likely to have lower bone density, notes Prevention.com. Have ¾ cup. Make a parfait: Mix with sliced strawberries and chopped almonds.
Healthy carb: Wild blueberries
These berries contain three to five more antioxidants—which may play a role controlling blood sugar—than traditional blueberries, per research out of University of Alaska Fairbanks. Have ¾ cup defrosted frozen wild blueberries. Make a smoothie: Blend with frozen banana slices, almond butter, and almond milk.