Keeping these frozen foods in your kitchen means you'll always have what you need to make a healthy meal or snack.

Mila Clarke Buckley
May 28, 2021
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One of the best investments I made for my kitchen was adding a second fridge/freezer combo to our garage. I cook multiple times a day, almost every day, and I needed the space. But, over time, it helped me find the benefits of stocking up on diabetes-friendly frozen food items that could work in my diet. Even if you don't have a second freezer to stock, keeping a few of these diabetes-friendly frozen foods on hand means you'll always have something healthy to make yourself.

Benefits of buying frozen foods

There are plenty of good reasons to shop the freezer aisle! Frozen foods are super convenient to have on hand for last-minute meals. Plus, they won't spoil as quickly as fresh items, so you can buy ingredients ahead of time and wait for weeks to months to use them. Not only will you save money by wasting less food but you can also save money by stocking up when foods go on sale.

And contrary to what you may think, frozen fruits and veggies are just as healthy as fresh items. They get frozen at peak freshness, so you're getting all the beneficial vitamins and minerals you would from fresh, but in a convenient frozen form.

So, what frozen items are a good buy, and what can you prepare with them? Here are some of our top picks for diabetes-friendly frozen foods to stock up on.

1. Frozen fruits

overhead shot of two white bowls filled with scoops of strawberry nice cream
Credit: Jennifer Causey

Frozen fruits are a fantastic for easy smoothies, for topping yogurt and for making naturally-sweet desserts that won't spike your blood sugars. Plus, you can get out-of-season ingredients anytime of the year that taste like fresh, for a great price.

Some of the best frozen fruits for diabetes include ones higher in fiber, like blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, cherries, kiwi and banana. Tropical fruits, like pineapple and mango, do have more sugar per serving, so plan on pairing them with other fiber-rich ingredients (think oatmeal or bran cereal) a healthy fat (like avocado or peanut butter) or a healthy protein source (like yogurt).

Recipes to Try:

2. Frozen veggies

Frozen veggies are simple to prepare and don't require much effort or prep on your part. And having a few bags on hand means you can always include a veggie at your meals. When shopping for the best frozen veggies for diabetes, go for options that are plain and aren't in cheesy or high-sodium sauces. Try frozen sliced peppers, broccoli, green beans, spinach, cauliflower, edamame, cauliflower rice and Brussels sprouts. And don't shy away from the starchy veggies. Frozen butternut squash, corn and peas, which happed to provide both protein and fiber, are nutritious options to have on hand.

Recipes to Try:

  • Grab your baking sheet and a mixture of some frozen and fresh ingredients for this Sheet-Pan Balsamic-Parmesan Roasted Chickpeas & Vegetables. You can roast the veggies and keep it vegetarian, or meat-eaters can add chicken or fish to the dish for added protein.
  • Mixed frozen veggies, plus a few spices, quickly turns into a healthy side dish in our Quick Vegetable Sauté recipe.
  • In our easy Tortellini Primavera, we pack in the veggies with little prep work to create a healthy and satisfying dinner in just 25 minutes.
  • Try your frozen butternut squash in our Butternut Squash and Carrot Soup. It's smooth, flavorful, and gives you more than your daily vitamin A needs in a single bowl.

3. Frozen shrimp

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Shrimp is a healthy source of protein, so having a bag of frozen shrimp on hand means you can quickly thaw just what you need to add some satisfying staying power to your meals in minutes. Having a healthy protein source at every meal helps to slow down digestion and in turn, the rate at which glucose hits your blood stream. The end result is better blood sugar balance for longer after meals.

Recipes to Try:

4. Sprouted grain bread

Sprouted grain bread works for people with diabetes because it contains higher amounts of fiber and protein, which can help you feel fuller for longer after meals and keeps blood sugars balanced. Plus, it's made without added sugars and less salt than other store-bought breads.

Freezing bread helps to make it last much longer than storing it in your pantry or on your counter, so pick up a loaf or two the next time you're at the store.

Recipes to Try:

5. Cauliflower pizza crust

Buffalo Chicken Cauliflower Pizza

Cauliflower is a food magician! You can make it into so many different recipes, including pizza crusts. Regular pizza crust and whole-wheat pizza crust can both be healthy options, but you often have to stick to just one slice to keep the carbs in check. Since cauliflower is low in carbohydrates and calories, it's a great choice if you have diabetes. And you can enjoy more than just one tiny slice.

Recipes to Try:

6. Frozen veggie burgers

Veggie burgers freeze well, and they're also a great, quick source of fiber, protein and plenty other nutrients. Plus, they're low in saturated fat, which people with diabetes need to look out, as they have a higher risk of developing heart disease. When shopping for frozen veggie burgers, choose brands that have the lowest amount of sodium per serving and go for brands that sneak in extra veggies! Here are our top frozen veggie burger picks.

Recipes to Try:

  • Take any of our veggie burger recipes and simply swap in a frozen patty in place of homemade, for a quick meal option. This Zucchini-Chickpea Veggie Burgers with Tahini-Ranch Sauce recipe is a satisfying way to use those frozen veggie patties. Plus, the extra tahini-ranch sauce makes a great dip or salad dressing for later.
  • You don't need to use veggie burgers as burgers every time. Here we use a patty to create a healthy egg-topped hash: Veggie Burger Hash

7. Salmon

Cajun Salmon with Greek Yogurt Remoulade

On a busy weeknight, a sheet pan meal is welcome! Salmon contains omega-3 fatty acids, which help protect your heart. Plus the healthy fats and protein helps to keep your blood sugars more stable after a meal. Salmon is also quick to thaw and cook, making it ideal for busy weeknights. You can buy pre-portioned salmon fillets or can buy a large piece of salmon at the grocery story and portion it out yourself to save even more money.

Recipes to Try:

The Bottom Line

Next time you're at the grocery store, stop by the frozen foods section and explore. Frozen foods can help you save money, and incorporate a variety of healthy nutrients into your meals with ease.