Local farm market produce is in focus.
Find your best produce of the year at a local farm market. Eating veggies and fresh fruits helps keep you full and your sugar in check. (For Spectrum Health Beat)

As the summer harvest comes in, we find ourselves surrounded by a bounty of beautiful fruits and vegetables that are sure to please any palate.

It’s certainly a great time to swing in to your local Michigan farm market. It’s a fun morning out and your chance to stock up on farm fresh goodness for your personalized diabetes nutrition plan.

These non-starchy vegetables and just-picked wonders make it easy to add vitamins, minerals and fiber into your meals without the added sodium, fat or sugar you’ll find in processed foods.

Give a veggie a chance

Visiting a farm market is a great opportunity to try produce you refused to eat as a kid. Growers often sell fruits and vegetables in smaller amounts or even by unit so you don’t have to buy a bushel of something you’re not quire sure of. Ask growers for their favorite preparation tips.

As a bonus, all these vegetables can go a long way in helping you manage blood sugar and control weight. They are naturally lower in starchy carbs (that break down quickly) and higher in fiber to help keep blood sugar in check and help you feel full longer.

Capture this list and take it with you to market each time, until you’ve tried ’em all—then start over. Move over, jolly green giant, we’ve got this!

Your farm market list of diabetes-friendly goodies:

  • Beans (green, wax and Italian)
  • Beets
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage (green, bok choy, Chinese)
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Cucumber
  • Eggplant
  • Greens (collard, kale, mustard, turnip)
  • Jicama
  • Kohlrabi
  • Leeks
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Pea pods
  • Peppers
  • Radishes
  • Rutabaga
  • Salad greens (chicory, endive, escarole, lettuce, romaine, spinach, arugula, radicchio, watercress)
  • Squash (summer, crookneck, spaghetti, zucchini)
  • Swiss chard
  • Tomato
  • Turnips

By filling half your plate with the power of the rainbow, it’s easier to keep higher calorie foods in check.

Starchy foods like corn and potatoes don’t need to be eliminated. The trick is to keep an eye on amounts and how they’re prepared.

Keep starchy foods to a half cup or half of a potato and keep the skins on—even when they’re mashed—to boost fiber content. If starchy foods are on the menu, make them a side or part of a meal that has protein, good-for-you fats and other non-starchy foods.

Balanced meals combined with a healthy lifestyle are key to blood sugar control.

Fresh or cooked—amounts make a difference

Whether you like fresh or cooked veggies, consider if the food is starchy or non-starchy and keep portions in mind.

Cooked non-starchy vegetables provide about 5 grams of carbohydrates per half-cup serving. Cooked starchy vegetables provide about 15 grams of carbohydrates per serving.

Fruit is sweet and has the bonus of being loaded with nutrients. Now’s the season to enjoy peaches, cherries and blueberries, and crisp apples will be coming into play sooner than we might think. There are plenty of just-picked varieties to enjoy.

Fruits provide about 15 grams of carbohydrates in a serving. A serving is a small apple or pear, 1/2 cup of grapes or 1 cup of berries or melon.

Enjoy these naturally sweet treats from your farmers’ market this summer and fall:

  • Cherries
  • Blueberries
  • Raspberries
  • Apples
  • Cantaloupe
  • Grapes
  • Pears
  • Watermelon
  • Peaches
  • Plums

Knowledge is power

Eating well for diabetes can be a balancing act, but you don’t have to go it alone.

Continue to work with your health professional, registered dietitian or certified diabetes educator to personalize your plan. With their guidance, you’ll be able to enjoy the foods you love, stay healthy and do a great job managing your blood sugar.