10 Best Diabetes-Friendly Foods to Buy at Costco
I don't know about you, but I always feel excited when I visit Costco. The great deals on pantry goods, vegetable trays, and frozen appetizers definitely appeal to the food-lover in me. But can foods you find at Costco fit into a diabetes-friendly diet? If this question has ever crossed your Costco-cruising mind, here are 10 dietitian-approved and diabetes-friendly foods that you can add to your grocery list.
1. Canned Tuna in Water
Costco sells several types of canned tunas, so look for an option canned in water, rather than oil. This helps reduce the added calories and fat while leaving you with the nutritious tuna meat. Two great things about canned tuna are that it's shelf stable and it's a quick and easy snack or meal option. Also, tuna is high in protein and doesn't elevate blood sugar levels when consumed alone. (Learn more about tuna nutrition and why it's a good choice.)
2. Boom Chicka Pop Sweet & Salty Kettle Corn Popcorn
Looking for a grab-and-go snack that won't drastically spike your blood-sugar levels and still tastes delicious? Hands down, Boom Chicka Pop Sweet & Salty Kettle Corn is it! It's sold at several Costco locations in perfectly portioned 1-ounce snack bags that contain only 18 grams of carbohydrates and will satisfy your sweet tooth when you want it. Costco also sells very large bags of popcorn, so if you struggle with portion control, be sure to grab the single serve snack bags if they are available at your local store. (Here's why popcorn can be such a great snack for weight loss.)
3. Unsweetened Non-Dairy "Milks"
I like to keep unsweetened non-dairy milks around the house because—in comparison to their sweetened counterparts—they are lower in carbohydrates, contain very little or no added sugars and can be included in just about any meal (try them in hot cereal, smoothies and even savory recipes like casseroles). Costco has several unsweetened plant-based milks to choose from. If you fancy milk from oats, almonds, or macadamia nuts, Costco sells 6-count packages of 32-ounce shelf-stable cartons. These non-dairy milks are also lower in calories than dairy milk. (Unsweetened almond milk has 39 calories per 8 oz. and unsweetened oat milk has 50 calories per 8 oz., while 1% milk has 106 calories per 8 oz.)
4. Crepini Egg Wraps
The next best thing since sliced bread is the Crepini Egg Wrap. Crepini wraps are 10-inch thin crepes made from egg and cauliflower that can be used in place of traditional wraps and tortillas. Because these crepes have no grains or flour, they are carbohydrate free. Carbs are not something you need to completely avoid if you have diabetes (in fact, there are several carbs that people with diabetes should include in their eating pattern) but swapping in these Crepini wraps can help you lower the amount of carbs in your meals when you want to. Whether you want to make a personal-sized pizza, a taco bowl or a pan of enchiladas, these wraps are a versatile lower-carb swap.
5. Canned Black Beans
I'm all for plant proteins, especially when it comes in the form of beans. One cup of black beans contains a whopping 15 grams of protein and 17 grams of fiber. Fiber helps to improve blood sugar levels, and 12 grams per cup is pretty impressive. So when you don't have time to make lunch or dinner from scratch, you can grab a can of beans and add it to a ready-made soup or salad for a quick protein fix.
6. Babybel Original Cheese
Raise your hand if you're a cheese lover! Babybel cheese is a mild and creamy morsel, perfectly wrapped in a small package. More importantly, each one has 70 calories, 5 grams of protein and 0 grams of carbohydrates, which makes it a great filling snack when hunger strikes. Eat it by itself or pair it with crackers to add some crunch and whole grains. (Here are 11 low-carb snacks to try when you have diabetes.)
7. LaCroix Sparkling Water
For many of us, drinking water can get a little flavorless and mundane. But sparkling water is an entirely different story. It's the best of both worlds. It tickles the taste buds while simultaneously hydrating the body. Exciting, right? LaCroix Sparkling Water has zero calories, no carbohydrates or added sugar and Costco sells them for less than $0.50 per can.
8. Frozen Vegetables
Ever buy vegetables and forget they're in the crisper at the bottom of your fridge? That has happened to me one too many times. Buying frozen vegetables not only means they last longer, which saves money, but it also ensures you always have a healthy side-dish option on hand. My main go-to vegetable at Costco is frozen broccoli. Costco's house brand, Kirkland, has 4-count, 1-lb bags that are full of fiber to keep you satiated. Other frozen vegetables to try out are the Kirkland Normandy Frozen Vegetables and Stir-Fry Vegetable Blend.
Related: The Best Frozen Meals for Diabetes
Ever have some nights (or days) when you're tired of eating rice, pasta, or potatoes? Me too. A great alternative is quinoa. This super-grain is high in protein and fiber, a smart combination that can help keep your blood-sugar levels in check. The best thing about quinoa is that it is easy to cook and so versatile. Savory herbs, lemon zest, and a dash of salt are quick add-ins that can really jazz up your quinoa. (Peek at our healthy quinoa recipes for more inspiration.)
10. Frozen Berries
Berries are my absolute favorite. Raspberries, blueberries and blackberries are all scrumptious, antioxidant-rich foods that rank low on the glycemic index. Low ranking glycemic index foods tend to slowly release sugar into the bloodstream, which prevents drastic blood sugar spikes. Costco sells frozen berries for a great price (you get a lot of berries). You can add a cup of berries to your smoothie bowl, oatmeal or yogurt to amp up your meal with a fresh burst of flavor.
It's easy to get overwhelmed and make impulse buys when you're at a place like Costco. There is so much to choose from. But now you're better equipped: the next time you go grocery shopping, you can start with this list. And once you have your kitchen stocked with these diabetes-friendly foods, it will be that much easier to whip up healthy, carb-smart meals and snacks. Bon appétit!