It can be a major challenge to eat healthy foods on a budget when you have diabetes. Often some of the healthiest choices turn out to be expensive, too. Fortunately, there are low carbohydrate diabetic foods that don’t have to break the bank. Consider this list of 5 low carbohydrate/low expense foods that will be easy on your budget and blood sugar levels.
- Canned or dried beans are one of the best budget-conscious foods to keep in your pantry. Typically a can of black beans is only about one dollar per can. Other affordable choices include pinto, navy, garbanzo and kidney beans. There are just 15 grams of carbohydrates in one-half cup of beans. They also contain plenty of fiber and protein. Beans are a delicious and satisfying addition to all kinds of foods. Black bean soup with onions is a tasty choice, especially when you top it off a small dollop of low fat sour cream or plain yogurt. You can also add beans to tacos, salads and chili. Bean dip is a favorite at parties. Think about rinsing the beans prior to use to drain off sodium and starch.
- Peanut butter is not just for kids anymore. Adults can appreciate the heart-healthy unsaturated fat and protein in peanut butter. It is also low in carbohydrates and inexpensive. Keep in mind peanut butter is high in fat and calories so you need to minimize your portion sizes. Make sure your peanut butter does not contain added sugars. One – two tablespoons is a portion size. You don’t want to pack on the pounds from eating too much peanut butter. Spread peanut butter on a slice of whole wheat bread for breakfast. Top off apples, celery or whole-wheat crackers with peanut butter for a healthy snack.
- The incredible, edible egg is a low carbohydrate choice that is also friendly on your budget. Eggs are high in protein and very versatile. While there is saturated fat in the yolk, the pros of eggs far outweigh the cons in moderation. Eggs can be pan-fried, poached or scrambled into a vegetable omelet with peppers and mushrooms. Hard-boiled eggs are yummy on their own or sliced in a salad with greens, Canadian bacon and low fat / low sugar dressing. If you have heart diseases ask your physician if your limit is 3-4 egg yolks a week.
- Often referred to as “free foods”, certain frozen vegetables are low in carbohydrates and don’t cost a lot. Top choices include spinach, summer squash, broccoli, green beans, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower. Frozen vegetables are lower in sodium than canned vegetables and should always be on your grocery list. These healthy vegetables are full of fiber, vitamins and minerals. From sauces to salads and casseroles you can incorporate frozen vegetables into almost any meal. Seasonal vegetables can be affordable when you plant your own garden. If you have limited space, grow fresh herbs and vegetables in containers on your deck or porch. A windowsill can also be a place to grow a few vegetables and herbs.
- Canned fish is another lean protein source that is also low cost. Fish has omega-3 fatty acids to boost heart health. Try canned salmon, sardines and tuna packed in water. Watch the sodium content on certain canned fish. Avoid fish packed in oil that has more calories. Add canned fish to salads or eat it by itself. Sprinkle herbs on canned fish such as garlic, dried onion and dried red pepper to give it flavor.
Low carbohydrate eating does not have to cost a lot of money. These 5 staples are affordable and many can be purchased in bulk or on sale so you always have healthy choices on hand. Because beans, peanut butter and canned fish do not require refrigeration, they are great to keep at work when you need a quick and inexpensive lunch.