I'm often asked, is fruit o.k. to eat when you have diabetes? Can you enjoy the natural sweetness of fruit when you are mindfully watching carbohydrates?
This confusion is an example of the disconnect around what diabetics can and can't eat or even do. Diabetics have the freedom to enjoy all foods. Fruit and its natural sugar are similar to all complex carbohydrates that you can eat while managing blood sugar.
Fruit should be eaten along with the other two macro-nutrients protein and fat, to help keep blood sugar in better control. THE KEY WORD here is when you CHOOSE to eat fruit, and this choice is based on these factors:
- Current blood sugar - How active you are - Dose insulin/oral medicine if needed - BALANCE fruit with any other carbohydrate food(s) you may eat along with any fruit.
Check out the carbs/serving of the fruits pictured, click here to see nutritional facts on these and other fruits. Gather the carbohydrate facts of your favorite fruits along with portion size. This will help you decide how to factor fruit into meals and snacks, without compromising blood sugar control.
Fruit is a complex carbohydrate containing fiber, so simply add a lean protein and healthy fat when eating a serving of fruit. This helps by combining the three macros together, to keep blood sugar in balance and help prevent a blood sugar spike.
TIPS to balancing Fruit when eaten alongside protein and fat:
- An apple or 1/2 banana with 1 Tbsp. of nut butter - Orange with 1/4 raw mixed nuts - Add some berries to Greek yogurt - Top a green salad with melon, avocado and chopped walnuts
First steps in creating a smart meal plan with diabetes is understanding how real whole foods like fruit can be enjoyed. Making informed food choices is important to reach your blood sugar goals, and you can do this without feeling deprived. This will give you the freedom to decide when you'll include fruit into your meal plan.