Grocery Shopping With Diabetes: How to Buy Bread and Cereal

/ February 26, 2019

Healthy Shopping Tips for Diabetes Patients

For some people, managing a diabetes diet is easy. Others simply don’t know where to begin—especially when it comes to bread and cereal. The good news? People who have diabetes can fill their grocery bags with plenty of healthy, diabetes-friendly choices. Here are a few tips for navigating the bread and cereal aisles.

Look for Whole Grain on Labels

According to Jennifer Reed, registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator with the Baptist Diabetes Education Center, people who have diabetes don’t have to avoid the bread aisle. But they should stick to a few guidelines while shopping on the bread aisle or at their local bakery.

“People with diabetes who are on a limited income should still look for whole grain options, such as whole wheat, sprouted and rye breads,” said Reed.

Refined, processed breads—such as white bread—have excess calories and low nutritional value. White breads, pastas and rice act like sugar in the body and can increase blood sugar levels. Alternately, whole grain bread is a nutritious option that typically has a low glycemic index rating, which means it can help you maintain normal blood sugar.

For those shopping on a budget, remember—a healthy loaf of bread doesn’t have to cost more at the checkout counter. Store-brand or off-brand products contain the same ingredients and nutritional value at a fraction of the price of a name-brand product.

“You can buy generic whole grain bread, brown rice and whole grain cereal,” said Reed. “You don’t have to buy more expensive name brands.”

Measure Your Cereal Servings

Cereal is a popular breakfast choice because it’s a quick and easy meal for people with busy morning routines. However, according to Reed, unwise cereal choices at the supermarket are common.

“The cereal aisle can be a tricky aisle at the grocery store for all of us—especially for patients who are following a diabetic diet,” said Reed.

Many breakfast cereals are packed with carbohydrates that can rapidly raise your blood sugar. However, for people with diabetes, cereal isn’t out of the question. Eating healthy with diabetes means opting for cereals that are both high in fiber and whole grains and low in sugar.

“A lot of sugary cereals are now being made with whole grains, but we still have to be careful and pay attention to the labels,” said Reed. “Even if the label says the cereal contains whole grains, it’s important to be mindful of the total sugars and carbohydrates.”

While understanding what’s in your cereal is crucial to making diabetes-friendly choices, mindfulness doesn’t stop at reading the ingredients. When you take your purchase home and reach for a quick breakfast, it’s important to remember portion control. It’s easy to pour several portions without realizing it, so dietitians recommend measuring a half-cup or 1-cup serving size.

How a Diabetes Educator Can Help You

When looking for the best bread and cereal choices, be sure to read labels and measure carefully. You also can test your blood sugar 2 hours after eating to determine if you need to choose a different option from the grocery store or bakery shelf.

Watch the video below to learn more tips for shopping in the cereal aisle, including how to compare labels.

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