Raw Vegetables on a Tray

COVID19 has not only caused closures, quarantine and social distancing across the nation it is also cause major upset when it comes to diet and diabetes.

Shopping during the pandemic at stores with empty shelves coupled with the stress of staying home can wreak havoc on your diet especially if you have Type 2 Diabetes.

Baked Salmon and Sauteed Cabbage

My family and I have been trying to stay healthy by eating fresh fruits and vegetables which includes lots of salmon.

Thanks to the American Diabetes Association I get emails with tips on foods to buy during this time and I wanted to share them with you.

What to buy?

Going to the grocery store increases your risk of exposure to the coronavirus. Consider getting groceries delivered if possible, or having a friend or family shop you for you if you are at high risk. If you must go the store, buy enough to last a week or two so that you don’t have to go as often.

There are also many precautions you can take to stay safe. Read our article on safe grocery shopping to learn more.

When shopping, stock up on shelf-stable foods. Versatility is also important—look for foods that can be used in a wide variety of recipes, or make a quick and easy snack on their own.

As you’re looking for recipes and making your shopping list, write down alternates or substitutions in case you can’t find certain things at the store. 

Frozen Foods

  • Stock up on your favorite frozen vegetables! Good choices are: broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, edamame, green beans, etc.
  • Frozen fruits—great for smoothies or adding to yogurt or oatmeal
  • If you’re having trouble finding frozen foods due to shortages, buy fresh and freeze it yourself (see below)

How to Freeze Fresh Foods


  • Dice onions, bell peppers, carrots, etc; portion in freezer-safe bags and pop them straight in the freezer.
  • For vegetables like broccoli and spinach: cook in boiling water for 1-2 minutes, then drop in ice water. Drain thoroughly and freeze.
  • To keep things from clumping together, lay chopped veggies out on a baking sheet and freeze for at least a couple of hours, then transfer to a freezer-safe bag.

Fresh herbs: chop and store in ice cube trays submerged in water or oil. Once they are frozen solid, you can transfer them to a freezer-safe bag.

Fresh fruit that freezes well: berries, pineapple, bananas, mango, peaches, plums, apricots.

Meat, fish, poultry: wrap in plastic wrap and aluminum foil to protect from freezer burn, or store in airtight, freezer bag (remove as much air as possible before sealing).

  • Thaw before using: the safest method for thawing raw meat is in the refrigerator (it can take one or more days to completely thaw). If you need to thaw faster, you can thaw under cold, running water in the sink, or in the microwave. Do NOT thaw raw meat on the counter.

Dairy: milk, yogurt, cheese, and butter all freeze well. For milk and other liquids, leave space in the container—liquids expand when they freeze.

Fresh Produce

Buy fresh produce with a longer shelf life.

  • Longest shelf life (store on counter or in pantry): onions, potatoes, sweet potatoes, garlic, winter squash, and melons.
  • Medium shelf life (store in fridge): cabbage, bagged greens such as kale and collards, summer squash, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, beets (remove greens if attached), apples, and citrus fruit.

Canned/Jarred Foods

  • Canned protein like tuna, salmon, chicken, sardines, anchovies—look for options packed in water instead of oil.
  • Canned vegetables—look for low sodium or no-salt-added if possible.
  • Canned tomatoes—buy some large cans of tomatoes (diced, crushed, or whole)—they’re a good base for any number of soups, stews, chilis, and sauces.
  • Canned fruit—look for fruit packed in water or 100% juice (not heavy syrup).
  • Applesauce—look for no sugar added.
  • Premade sauces like spaghetti sauce, pesto, etc. Check the international aisle for things like curry sauces—these can make for quick, easy, and flavorful meals.
  • Broth (chicken, beef, vegetable)—look for low sodium if possible. Use as a starting point for soups and stews.

Dry goods

  • Whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, oatmeal, popcorn (great for snacking!), bulgur, barley, farro, etc.
  • Dry beans—if you have an Instant Pot or other multi-cooker, now’s the time to test out cooking dry beans in it!
  • Lentils—these cook much faster than other dry beans.
  • Pasta—look for whole grain. Try out legume-based pastas like lentil or chickpea (garbanzo bean) pasta for more protein and fiber.
  • Cereal/granola—look for low sugar varieties.
  • Nuts and nut butters—these are a good source of protein and healthy fats.

Pantry Staples

  • Oils, herbs and spices, vinegars, and baking supplies will last a very long time and are essentials for most recipes.
  • Condiments like soy sauce, mustard, hot sauce, salsa, ketchup, mayonnaise, reduced fat sour cream, and light cream cheese.
  • Instant meals—instant soups, boxed mac and cheese, hamburger helper, rice-a-roni—all work in a pinch, though there are some things to keep in mind with these:
    • Look for lower sodium varieties if possible. If it comes with a separate flavor/seasoning packet, use half to cut sodium and add your own spices to taste.
    • Give them a nutrition boost by adding some fresh, frozen, or canned vegetables.
    • Make them more filling by adding protein

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