Staple Ingredients of the Diabetes Kitchen


Planning and Preparation is essential when shopping & cooking for diabetes. Carefully planning your shopping trips and sticking to the same ingredients/purchases can reduce the amount of time spent shopping, buying unnecessary products &/or being tempted by foods you don’t need.

Never go shopping hungry, you will buy more and be tempted more by convenience foods. People complain to me that they don’t have time to wander around the supermarket looking at ingredients in food products….that is just an excuse and you are not taking your diabetes seriously. Practice makes perfect and after two or three rounds of shopping, it will come easy and naturally to you.


  • Canned fruit (canned in juice)
  • Canned beans sugar free beans
  • Chickpeas preferably Bachelors
  • Canned vegetables
  • Canned tuna or salmon
  • Brown rice or other whole grains (for example, quinoa, bulgur, or whole grain barley)
  • Brown Basmati Rice in microwavable packets
  • Porridge (not quick oats etc as they are processed and are easily digested and absorbed by the body much more quickly)
  • Whole grain cereal (unsweetened) eg weetabix, all bran
  • Pasta (try whole wheat)
  • 100% whole wheat bread or pita bread
  • Natural crunchy peanut butter or another nut butter
  • Seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, sesame)
  • Popcorn (light, microwave)
  • Potatoes (white or sweet), also baby potatoes
  • Tinned chopped tomatoes
  • Milled Flax seed


  • Fresh fruit….watermelons and dried fruit have the highest sugar content so avoid them if possible
  • Fresh vegetables (a few of your favorites – focus mostly on non-starchy vegetables)
  • Non-fat or low-fat yogurt ( be careful of many low fat or probiotic yogurts as they can be high in sugar. I often recommend Irish Diet Yogurts as been suitable for people with diabetes)
  • Low Fat Milk
  • Eggs
  • Low Fat Reduced Cheese
  • Low-fat cottage cheese
  • Lean low-sodium sandwich meats (turkey, ham, roast beef)
  • Trans-free margarine or margarine with plant sterols or stanols

Frozen Foods

  • Frozen fruit (presently at the moment in Ireland there is a ban on certain frozen fruit, always ask your supermarket for further details)
  • Frozen vegetables
  • Fish fillets or shellfish e.g prawns
  • Frozen chicken breast (boneless, skinless)

Herbs, Spices, Oils & Seasonings

  • Balsamic vinegar or other vinegar’s that you cook with (for example, white wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or rice vinegar)
  • Pepper
  • Spices – All Seasoning by Schwarz is a particular favourite of mine as it is multi purpose
  • Salt-free dried herb or spice blends
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Cooking spray
  • Vegetable oil

Cooking Well for Diabetes Courses

If you feel you could benefit from further help and assistance or are struggling with the whole concept of cooking for yourself or someone with diabetes, our Cooking Well for Diabetes Course may benefit you!!! This 4 week course provides you with all the tools, resources and aids needed to cook healthy, easily and conveniently for diabetes. All our courses are designed and facilitated by Helena Farrell RGN, MSc Diabetes, who combines medical knowledge, with a passion for healthy eating and cooking.

“I can’t recommend these courses highly enough!”

Jackie, Cork

Cooking Well for Diabetes is suitable for people with Type 1 & 2 Diabetes, Pre-Diabetes, families and carers of people with diabetes. All courses include a cookery demo with tasters, portion size measurement aids, a copy of the Low GI Diet Book and much much more. If you would like to speak to some of the participants who have benefitted from these courses, we would be more than happy to put you in contact with them.

All our courses are 4 weeks in duration, run 2 hours per week either on a week day evening or a Saturday. If you miss one week, we would be more than happy to facilitate your attendance on another course, so you don’t miss out on any of the course content.

Cost: €100 or pay as you go option of €25 per week. Discounts available (terms and conditions apply)

For further information please click here . Alternatively you can ring Helena on (086) 1739287 or email;


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