Local farm market produce is in focus.
Find your best produce of the year at a local farm market. Eating non-starchy 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 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 make peace with those falsely accused varieties you refused to eat as a kid. Call a truce and try a new one each week.

As a bonus, all these vegetables can go a long way in helping you manage blood sugar and control weight. They are naturally low in carbs and high in fiber, which will 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. There just isn’t room for a mountain of mashed potatoes if you’ve got a giant garden taking center stage.

Of course, starchy stand-bys like corn and potatoes are good sources of fiber, vitamins and minerals. Just remember that healthy portions are the key to blood sugar control.

Raw rocks and a sweet tooth is OK

Do you prefer your veggies cooked or raw? While either is fine, one serving of non-starchy vegetables has about five grams of carbohydrates per serving. That’s about ½ cup of cooked or one cup of raw. Your choice.

Starchy vegetables have 15 grams of carbohydrates per ½ cup (cooked) and should be counted in your nutrition plan.

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.

The carbohydrate content of fruit varies. For example, you’ll get about 15 grams of carbohydrate in one small apple or pear, ½ cup grapes, or one cup of berries or melon.

Enjoy these 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.

Registered dietitians who specialize in diabetes can help design a nutrition plan customized for you. With their guidance, you’ll be able to enjoy the foods you love, stay healthy and do a great job managing your blood sugar.