The 7 Best Diabetes-Friendly Beverages at Trader Joe's

These low-calorie, low-sugar drinks at Trader Joe's can be a part of a diabetes-friendly diet.

a collage with the Trader Joe's Organic Almond Beverage and the Organic Mighty Turmeric Juice Shot
Photo: Courtesy of Brand

Trader Joe's is a fan-favorite grocery store for quirky snacks and convenient frozen dishes. And when it comes to beverages, TJ's doesn't disappoint.

While this store is packed with unique juice blends and exciting sodas, for people with diabetes, it may appear that TJ's isn't the ideal spot to grab a drink, thanks to the many choices that are made with large quantities of added sugars.

The good news is that, among the bottled smoothies and Italian sodas, plenty of drinks can be an appropriate addition to a diabetes-friendly diet. If you're on the hunt for something to quench your thirst that won't spike your blood sugars, read on to learn exactly which drink choices you should be tossing into your Trader Joe's red buggy.

What to Look for in a Diabetes-Friendly Beverage

In order to avoid high blood sugar, the American Diabetes Association recommends drinks that have either zero calories or are very low in calories for people with diabetes. While water is one of the easiest no-calorie and no-sugar choices you can make, people with diabetes are not limited to simply sipping on plain H2O.

A diabetes-friendly beverage is not only low in calories or calorie-free, but it's also low in added sugars and sodium. Along with water, coffee, tea and diet soda, flavored or sparkling waters are also viable additions to a diabetes-friendly diet.

7 Best Diabetes-Friendly Beverages at Trader Joe's

There's no need to skip the beverages during your next TJ's run, even if you have diabetes. Here are some of our favorite sips that are appropriate for people with diabetes. Plus, they taste fantastic, too!

1. Matcha Green Tea Powder

With only 5 calories per packet, adding this powder to a cup of hot water will create a delicious cup of matcha. And if you're craving an iced drink, blend this matcha packet with ice water for a chilly version. Since matcha is green tea, drinking this will provide natural plant compounds that have antioxidant properties, including certain catechins. Catechins may play a role in alleviating high blood sugars by improving insulin resistance, according to a review of research published in 2022 in the journal Nutrients.

2. Organic Low-Calorie Pink Lemonade

While this lemonade contains added sugars, it has far less than a classic version. That's because this low-calorie version is made with stevia, a zero-calorie sweetener. Each serving contains 8 grams of added sugar. This may still be too much, depending on your body. To cut the sugar even further, consider enjoying a spritzer made with half of this lemonade and half sparkling water.

3. Organic Mighty Turmeric Juice Shot

Turmeric contains a compound called curcumin, which may help support diabetes management by suppressing oxidative stress and helping lessen inflammation, according to a 2021 review in Frontiers in Endocrinology. Some data shows that this compound may also help reduce fasting blood glucose, the researchers point out.

This juice shot is made with coconut water, lemon juice and turmeric. It also contains black pepper, which helps improve the absorption of curcumin, notes a 2020 study in Phytotherapy Research. With just 1 gram of total sugar (and zero grams of added sugar), this drink is a winner.

4. Organic Unsweetened Almond Beverage

Many dairy alternatives are made with loads of added sugar. But this option has less than 1 gram of total sugars per serving, making it a great choice. As an added bonus, this almond milk is fortified with vitamin B12. Metformin, a common blood sugar medication, may be associated with B12 deficiency, finds a 2019 study in the journal Medicine. If you're prescribed this medicine, it may be helpful to include foods and drinks containing B12. Check with your healthcare team first.

5. Blueberry Lemon Sparkling Water

This sparkling water has a hint of blueberry-lemon flavor and is free from any added sugars or sodium. If you need something a bit more exciting than plain water but you don't want to consume anything with sugar or salt, this one's for you.

6. Trader Joe's Milk - 2%

Unless you have an allergy or a medical condition that prohibits you from consuming cow's milk, 2% (reduced-fat) milk can be a part of a balanced diabetes-friendly diet.

Dairy milk may lower the post-meal blood glucose response in people with diabetes, possibly due to amino acids and peptides (chains of amino acids) naturally found in milk proteins that help slow digestion and enhance the insulin responses, ultimately lowering post-meal glucose levels, according to a 2019 review in Diabetes/Metabolism Research and Reviews.

7. Joe's Decaf Coffee Pods

Coffee is a popular morning beverage for many people. If you like to enjoy a cup later in the day, opting for decaf coffee allows you to enjoy a satisfying cup of joe without potentially cutting into your sleep later. Sleep is an important component of managing diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Other Tips to Manage Diabetes

Managing diabetes doesn't stop with making the right beverage choices. Along with opting for low-calorie drinks that are either free from or low in sugar or sodium, here are some other ways to manage diabetes:

The Bottom Line

Finding diabetes-friendly drinks at Trader Joe's may take a little effort to navigate if you're trying to manage your blood sugars. But with a little know-how, you can choose the best beverages for your own needs with ease. If you don't want to go through the effort of reading ingredient lists and nutrition labels during a grocery run, bring this handy list of dietitian-approved and diabetes-friendly Trader Joe's drinks with you for easy shopping. Cheers!

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