The 5 Best Frozen Fruits to Eat Every Week If You Have Diabetes, According to a Dietitian

Picked and frozen at the peak of ripeness, these frozen fruits are an excellent addition to a diabetes-appropriate diet.

From keeping track of your blood sugar levels to navigating the ins and outs of a diabetes-appropriate diet, living with diabetes requires careful attention to the foods you put on your plate. You may feel as though you are completely limited in the foods you can choose from. Or perhaps you overheard that you must steer clear of certain food groups—mainly fresh and frozen fruit—entirely. With all of the misinformation that surfaces surrounding fruit intake in relation to diabetes, this article provides clarity, as well as breaks down five of the best frozen fruits that you can confidently consume throughout the week.

Can You Eat Fruits If You Have Diabetes?

The resounding answer to whether or not people with diabetes can eat fruit is: yes, they can! In fact, the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans encourages all adults to consume 2 cups of fruit per day. However, fruit is often feared because of its carbohydrate content—mainly in the form of sugar. But fruit is so much more than its sugar content. The carbohydrates in fruit are also made up of dietary fiber, a complex carbohydrate that plays a pivotal role in stabilizing blood sugar levels. More specifically, dietary fiber is the portion of plant foods that your body cannot digest or absorb. Therefore, it prevents blood sugar spikes by slowing the absorption of sugar. Because whole fruit is an excellent source of fiber, it is an important food group to include in a well-planned, diabetes-appropriate diet. But fiber isn't the only blood-sugar-stabilizing compound in fruits. Brimming with vitamins, minerals and potent bioactive plant compounds, fruit can greatly benefit—and be enjoyed by—individuals with diabetes. So, the next time you're strolling down the frozen produce aisle, consider grabbing one of the following delicious fruits.

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5 Best Frozen Fruits for Diabetes

1. Frozen Strawberries

Beyond their pleasant aroma and delectable flavor, strawberries have an impressive nutrient profile. Although they are sweet to the taste, they are surprisingly low in sugar. According to the USDA's FoodData Central, 1 cup of frozen strawberries contains 7 grams of naturally occurring sugar, along with 3 grams of dietary fiber. In addition, strawberries are high in the antioxidant vitamin C, which helps to protect your cells from harmful free radicals that increase your risk of developing chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes. Hidden within their bright-red pigment, strawberries contain an array of compounds called anthocyanins that also work to reduce free-radical damage and inflammation. In fact, a 2019 review published in Nutrients revealed that several small studies found that strawberry consumption may have a positive effect on antioxidant status, inflammation and insulin sensitivity. This means eating them may help to improve your tissue's response to insulin in order to move glucose molecules from your bloodstream into your cells—where they are meant to be.

2. Frozen Raspberries

Reminiscent of red jewels, raspberries are exceptional little berries that are also low in sugar and high in fiber. With double the dietary fiber found in strawberries, raspberries are a great option for managing blood sugar. One cup of frozen raspberries contains 9 grams of natural sugar and 6 grams of fiber, per the USDA. According to a 2019 study published in Obesity, individuals with pre-diabetes and insulin resistance benefited from consuming 1 to 2 cups of frozen raspberries with breakfast. Specifically, the researchers found that raspberries helped to reduce blood sugar spikes with less insulin following the meal, which they believe was related to improved insulin sensitivity.

3. Frozen Blueberries

With their burst of flavor and deep blue hue, blueberries are loaded with nutrients and powerful compounds that impart blood-sugar-friendly benefits. According to the USDA, 1 cup of frozen blueberries contains 13 grams of natural sugar and 4 grams of fiber. You may have noticed that they are higher in sugar than strawberries and raspberries. However, it is important to remember that the fiber in whole fruit helps to slow the absorption of sugar. You can also consider their glycemic load (GL), which takes into account how quickly a specific amount of carbohydrates increases blood sugar levels. One cup of blueberries has a low GL of 9.6. These tiny but mighty berries also boast a fair share of vitamin C, vitamin K and manganese. Recognized as a "superstar food" by the American Diabetes Association, blueberries are also jam-packed with antioxidant-rich anthocyanins, which contribute to a reduced risk of diabetes.

4. Frozen Tart Cherries

These long-stemmed stone fruits are as rich in nutrients as they are in color. According to the USDA, 1 cup of frozen tart cherries contains 14 grams of sugar and 2 grams of fiber. They are also filled with a good amount of vitamin C, potassium and magnesium. Cherries are also a rich source of polyphenols, which have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, per a 2018 review published in Nutrients. In addition, the same review noted that cherry consumption helped to decrease A1C levels in women with diabetes in a small experimental study. Therefore, cherries may be a great pick for diabetes management.

5. Frozen Avocado

Although they are often used in savory dishes and classified as vegetables, avocados are actually fruits. Yes, fruits! Botanically, avocados are single-seeded berries, making them very fitting for this list. What is even more fascinating is that they are low in sugar and high in nutrients. Therefore, they are an excellent choice for those with diabetes. According to the USDA, half an avocado contains less than 1 gram of sugar and 6 grams of fiber. Avocados are also a great source of unsaturated fat (a healthy fat), vitamin E, folate, potassium and magnesium. According to a 2022 article published in The Journal of Nutrition, their unsaturated fat content, specifically monounsaturated fat, has been associated with improved glucose control. Thus, regular avocado consumption may aid in blood glucose regulation.

How to Include Frozen Fruit in a Healthy Diabetes-Appropriate Diet

The convenience of pre-washed and pre-cut frozen fruit makes it easy to incorporate into various dishes. The simplest way to include frozen fruits in a diabetes-appropriate diet is to blend them into smoothies. Just be sure to pair your fruit smoothies with adequate protein and healthy fat to keep your blood sugar stable. Speaking of healthy fat, try blending frozen avocados in your berry smoothies, like in this Mixed-Berry Breakfast Smoothie. The avocado helps to enhance the flavor of the berries. Not only does it taste delicious, but the fat in the avocado helps absorb the fat-soluble vitamins in berries.

Frozen fruit can also be enjoyed as a topping for oatmeal or other warm cereals. You can even throw a few in your pancake or muffin batter. They also make a wonderful topping for yogurt. You can even make a chia seed jam with frozen berries to enjoy on whole-grain toast. Or they can simply be enjoyed on their own as a frozen treat to satisfy your sweet tooth.

What to Look For

When shopping for frozen fruit, you want to choose those that have retained their nutrient value for managing diabetes. When available, look for packages marked with the USDA's U.S. Grade A or U.S. Fancy shield. These shields ensure that the frozen fruit is uniform in color, nearly free from defects, and has a normal flavor. U.S. Grade B or U.S. Choice labels are also good options—although not as high in quality as Grade A. In addition, be sure to check if the fruit was stored at the proper temperature. The package should be firm to the touch with no signs of thawing.

What to Limit

Before tossing your frozen fruit into your grocery cart, be sure to read the Nutrition Facts label and ingredient list. On the Nutrition Facts label under the carbohydrates heading, added sugars should read 0 grams—as you only want to consume the sugars that are naturally available in the specific fruit. As for the ingredient list, be cautious of sweeteners and syrups that may be added to enhance the flavor and sweetness of the product.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Does fruit raise your blood sugar levels?

Whole fruit contains natural sugar that is packaged with dietary fiber, which helps slow the absorption of sugar and prevents spikes in blood sugar. Fruit juices, on the other hand, are often stripped of dietary fiber. Therefore, fruit juice can increase blood sugar levels more rapidly.

2. Which fruits should you avoid if you have diabetes?

No fruit is off-limits if you have diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, it is important to keep track of carbohydrate intake by counting carbohydrates, as well as being cautious of serving sizes.

3. How many fruits per day can you eat if you have diabetes?

According to the Dietary Guidelines, adults—including those with diabetes—should consume about 2 cups of fruit per day.

The Bottom Line

While no fruit is forbidden in a well-balanced diabetes diet, frozen strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, tart cherries and avocados are five fruits that have been proven to not only reduce the risk of developing diabetes but also to aid in diabetes management. Their high fiber and antioxidant content help reduce elevated blood sugar levels while also reducing oxidative stress and free radical damage associated with increased chronic disease risk. Therefore, fruit—fresh or frozen—should not be feared by those who live with diabetes.

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