There’s nothing (naturally) sweeter than biting into a juicy peach or sprinkling strawberries on your morning oatmeal. But for people with diabetes, there can be some confusion over how much of that fruity sweetness they can enjoy while keeping their blood sugar in check. “Many of my clients with diabetes are worried because they’re not sure where fruit fits into the equation,” says dietitian Farah Z. Khan, RD, who is also a health and wellness coach. But the natural fructose and glucose found is very different from added sugars found in sweets like ice cream, cookies, and soft drinks, Khan adds. “Fruit provides important vitamins and minerals, and it also has fiber in it, which delays how quickly the food is going to be digested, so the glucose will enter your bloodstream more slowly.”
Khan recommends you stick to whole or frozen fruits, since dried fruits and canned fruits may contain added sugar (though if you only have access to canned fruits, you can simply rinse off the syrup, she says). If you like to take your fruit in liquid form, stick with no-sugar-added 100% juice, and consider diluting it with water or seltzer, Khan adds. The American Diabetes Association recommends limiting high-carbohydrate foods (which includes fruit) to one quarter of your plate, or about 2 to 3 servings of fruit per day. Choose whichever fruit you love, says Khan, who suggests you pair it with other proteins or healthy fats, as an extra way to keep your blood sugar from spiking. Keep in mind that one serving of fruit equals about 15 g carbohydrates.
Here, 10 fruits to enjoy if you have diabates — and how much to eat for one healthy serving.
Apples are full of fiber (most of it in the peel, so leave it on!), which makes them an excellent choice for snacking. Pair them peanut or almond butter to get some protein in every bite.
1 serving = 1 small apple
Also full of healthy fiber, pears are a great choice for a crunchy snack. In fact, one study suggests that eating whole Bartlett and Starkrimson pears may even help manage type-2 diabetes.
1 serving = 1 small pear
Filled with antioxidants, fiber, and vitamin C, strawberries are a bright and tasty choice. Slice them up and serve on top of oatmeal, yogurt, or mixed with spinach and walnuts for a sweet and savory salad.
1 serving = 1 cup berries
When picking a banana from the bunch, go for one that’s still slightly on the greener side, says Khan, who points out that the as the banana ripens, its sugar content increases.
1 serving = 1/2 banana
Because of their antioxidant content, all berries are a great choice for diabetics, but tart and juicy blackberries have more than double the fiber content of their more popular cousin, the strawberry.
1 serving = 1 cup berries
Nothing can beat the sweet and juicy flavor of a peach in season. Along with other stone fruits such as plums and nectarines, peaches contain bioactive compounds that one study has found may fight obesity-related diabetes.
1 serving = 1 medium peach
This fuzzy little fruit is rich in vitamin C and relatively low in sugar— slice it up for a welcome tang on your cottage cheese or yogurt.
1 serving = 1.5 kiwis
Yes, even super-sweet oranges have their place in a healthy diet when you have diabetes, says Khan. The 3 g of fiber and 51 mg of vitamin C in one medium orange help lower your risk of chronic disease.
1 serving = 1 medium orange
While you’ll want to skip the sugar-soaked maraschino ones that get plopped on top of ice cream, plump and juicy fresh cherries are loaded with antioxidants, which can help regulate blood sugar, making them a great choice.
1 serving = 1 cup cherries
A slice of juicy melon on a hot afternoon is one of the great pleasures of summer — but skip the watermelon, which has a higher glycemic load, and instead choose cantaloupe or honeydew.