Which are some of the best non-perishable foods for diabetics? Here’s what experts say!
If you have diabetes, you know how important it is to have healthy meals and snacks on hand. In fact, eating well is a key component of diabetes management, and keeping non-perishable foods around can be a great way to ensure you do that.
Non-perishable foods often get a bad reputation as not being as healthy as fresh alternatives, but these foods can play a big role in any healthy diet, including for diabetics. Moreover, many frozen or shelf-stable foods have a minimal effect on your blood glucose levels. You may even already have some in your freezer or pantry.
Here are the 12 best non-perishable foods for diabetics!
1. Canned tomatoes
Canned tomatoes can flavor lots of dishes, including stews and soups. These savory, red fruits are also packed with antioxidants, such as lycopene, which may promote cardiovascular health.
Moreover, they are fairly low in carbohydrates, which means they only affect your blood glucose levels minimally. This makes canned tomatoes some of the best non-perishable foods for diabetics.
You can use them in cooking or to make sauces. Another plus? Canned vegetables usually don’t expire for several years after purchase.
2. Dried or canned chickpeas
Chickpeas also make great non-perishable foods for diabetics, and they can be incorporated into numerous dishes. While they contain carbohydrates, they are also rich in protein, fat, and fiber—all of which help reduce their overall effect on your blood glucose levels.
You can use these tasty legumes to make falafels or hummus, which are two of the most popular dishes with chickpeas. Furthermore, they make a filling meat alternative and can be added to salads, stir-fries, and soups.
If stored in a cool, dark place, dried chickpeas keep up for up to three years.
3. Canned salmon
Canned salmon is packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which fight inflammation and benefit your brain. It’s also one of the best non-perishable foods for diabetics.
Moreover, this fish is rich in protein and has no carbohydrates. While it can contain some bones, they’re safe and edible, providing a calcium boost.
You can use canned salmon in salmon patties or on salads. It usually doesn’t expire until two years after the purchase.
4. Dark chocolate
If you’re looking for a healthy treat, you should know that dark chocolate is one of the best non-perishable foods for diabetics. The darker the chocolate, the better, as the one with a higher cocoa content tends to have less added sugar. Cocoa is also packed with fiber and healthy fats.
For example, just three squares (about 30 grams) of 78% dark chocolate deliver 14 grams of fat, four grams of fiber, and three grams of protein—with only 11 grams of carbohydrates.
You can consume it on its own or incorporate it into plenty of desserts. A dark chocolate bar keeps for up to four months in your pantry, but freezing it extends its shelf life.
5. Peanut butter
Peanut butter is an expensive source of healthy fat, fiber, and protein, and it has few carbohydrates. It’s also one of the healthiest non-perishable foods for diabetics.
When you don’t know how to make a snack more filling, go for peanut butter. You can add it to crackers or toast, use it as a dip for apples or baby carrots, or blend it into a smoothie. It’s likewise excellent in savory dishes like Thai-inspired stir-fry.
Just make sure you opt for natural peanut butter brands that don’t contain added sugar, as sugary foods have a negative effect on blood glucose control.
After opening, peanut butter lasts for around a year. Here’s a book with plenty of ideas on how to incorporate peanut butter into your diet.
Keep reading to discover other great non-perishable foods for diabetics!
6. Seed crackers
As their name suggests, seed crackers are crackers made from different types of seeds, such as flax, chia, and sesame seeds. Seeds are known to be an excellent source of fiber and fat, which both help minimize these crackers’ effects on your blood sugar levels.
These treats can be paired with cheese or peanut butter as a snack or incorporated into a light meal like soup or chicken salad.
If kept tightly sealed and stored in a fridge or pantry, seed crackers should last for about one month.
7. Canned mushrooms
Canned mushrooms, which taste milder than their fresh counterparts, provide a nutrient boost to endless dishes and are some of the best non-perishable foods for diabetics. They are particularly popular in stir-fries and soups.
Mushrooms are packed with fiber and low in carbohydrates, so they affect your blood glucose negligibly. Some varieties, including white buttons, have ergothioneine, an amino acid with antioxidant properties that may aid blood sugar management.
Canned mushrooms typically don’t expire until two years after purchase.
8. High-protein pasta
High-protein pasta are generally made from legumes, such as chickpeas or black beans, instead of wheat. Legumes are known to contain carbohydrates but, at the same time, boast more protein and fiber than wheat. This makes them some of the healthiest, non-perishable foods for diabetics.
You can replace regular pasta with a high-protein alternative in any recipe. It can last for up to six months.
9. Chia seeds
Shelf-stable milk, whether dairy or plant-based, is always great to have on hand. Although cow’s milk is a bit higher in carbohydrates than some nondairy versions, it has fat and protein—unless it’s skimmed—that minimize its effects on your blood sugar.
As some of the healthiest foods for diabetics, chia seeds add crunch to smoothies and salads. You can also use them to make chia pudding, a delicious treat that’s delectable with fresh fruit.
These tiny seeds last up to four years in your pantry.
10. Shelf-stable milk
Shelf-stable milk, whether dairy or plant-based, is always great to have on hand. Although cow’s milk is a bit higher in carbohydrates than some nondairy versions, it has fat and protein—unless it’s skim—that minimize its effects on your blood sugar.
Alternatively, some plant-based alternatives, like unsweetened almond milk, contain few carbohydrates to begin with. If you go for plant milk, make sure you choose varieties without added sugar.
As some of the best non-perishable foods for diabetics, both shelf-stable and plant-based milk can be used in many recipes, such as soups, baked goods, and protein-rich smoothies. They last unopened for several months, but don’t forget that they should be refrigerated after opening.
11. Protein powder
Most protein powders are low in carbohydrates and added sugars while offering hefty doses of protein. They are also convenient and quick, which is something most of us look for when in a hurry.
Whey protein is derived from cow’s milk, so if you want a plant-based version, you can use pea or soy protein powder. Whichever option you choose, protein powder is a great addition to smoothies, desserts, and protein shakes.
As one of the best non-perishable foods for diabetics, it typically lasts for up to one year if sealed and stored in a cool, dry place.
12. Frozen berries
Berries like raspberries are high in fiber and relatively low in sugar compared with other fruits like apples or bananas, so they affect your blood glucose levels to a lesser extent. Furthermore, berries are rich in health-boosting nutrients and antioxidants.
You can use frozen berries in baking, smoothies, and cooking, and they last up to one year in the freezer—although you’ll want to check them from time to time for freezer burn.
If you liked our article on the best non-perishable foods for diabetics, you may also want to read Best 9 Fast Food Breakfasts for People With Diabetes.