Avocado is your friend (hello, good fats!) and hummus is filled with fiber and protein. Find out what else this dietitian shops for to nurture her love of food and manage type 1 diabetes.

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Raise your hand if you like grocery shopping… anyone? I’m one of those rare people who loves roaming the aisles of the grocery store. This dates back to my childhood when I became very aware of food at an early age.

As a child with type 1 diabetes, I grew up trained by dietitians and educators, so I knew which foods stabilized my blood sugars. That knowledge carried me into adulthood and became my passion.

By the time I entered graduate school to become a dietitian, I could count carbs blindfolded and with my hands tied behind my back (OK, not really, but you get the idea).

But maybe you’re not like me. Maybe your diabetes diagnosis is new, or just thinking about food and grocery shopping stresses you out. Don’t worry — if that’s you, you’re definitely not alone. I hear this from friends and clients all the time, and it’s usually followed by some sort of request to have me grocery shop with them.

So, this is the next best thing! I’m sharing the nine foods I always have on my grocery list, and why they’re my go-to options.

As someone living with diabetes, I learned a long time ago that fat was my friend. Not only does it help stabilize blood sugars after meals, but it also adds flavor and great texture to dishes.

Avocados are great mashed up on rice crackers or chopped into salads. You can also try this Avocado Cacao Mousse or these Avocado Banana Cookies for healthier versions of desserts.

I try my best (and as our budget allows) to buy animal products that are organic. Organic eggs may have more nutritional benefits than non-organic eggs.

Try adding a fried egg to high fiber toast in the morning. A classic breakfast for dinner with scrambled eggs is always a hit, too.

The diet that a cow eats has a direct effect on the nutrients and fat found in its meat. Grass-fed beef typically has less fat overall, and a higher percentage of that fat is the anti-inflammatory kind. It also has more antioxidants and higher amounts of conjugated linoleic acid (which may reduce your risk for heart disease and cancer).

My absolute favorite way to use ground beef is this Cheesy Beef & Kale Pasta Bake! You can also use it in an easy weeknight chili, tacos, or spaghetti sauce.

When you look at vitamin and mineral content, cucumbers don’t offer much. But what they do have is a decent amount of fiber and a whole lot of water. Making them part of a larger meal is a great way to stay satisfied.

If you remember your first-ever diabetes education appointment, they probably talked to you about “free foods” (foods that don’t require insulin and don’t contain any significant amount of carbohydrates). Well, cucumbers are pretty much the poster child for free foods.

They’re great for adding crunch to a salad or sandwich and for dipping into hummus, which leads me to…

I always tell my clients that to avoid a blood sugar spike or drop, there are three things your meal or snack should have: fiber, fat, and protein. And hummus has all three!

I like to use it in place of dressing on a salad or as a spread on sandwiches, or just eat it on its own with a spoon for an afternoon energy boost. Try dipping cucumbers or carrot sticks in hummus for a quick and easy snack.

I love all berries, but raspberries and blueberries are my two favorites. In the late spring and summer, I buy them fresh every week. But as fall and winter roll along, I’m always so thankful that frozen berries are so easy to find — and affordable.

Berries are a great way to add sweetness without using added sugar, and they’re also loaded with fiber and antioxidants.

Raspberries have one of the lowest percentages of sugar of any berry. And blueberries are an excellent source of vitamin K and manganese (which plays a role in bone development and helps our bodies use the nutrients in the foods we eat). Use berries to make your own no-added-sugar jam or homemade “frozen” yogurt.

Both milk and yogurt contain a naturally occurring sugar called lactose. However, most dairy products on the market also contain added sugar (and usually a lot more than you’d expect).

Most people are so surprised by just how delicious plain yogurt and fruit can be if paired correctly.

As a person living with type 1 diabetes, I’m super in tune with how things raise my blood sugars. If I were to eat a container of fat-free yogurt, the carbohydrate (lactose) would get absorbed very quickly, potentially resulting in a blood sugar spike.

But if I have whole milk yogurt, the fat acts as a potential buffer to the blood sugar spike. It also delays the absorption of the carbohydrate, giving me sustained energy.

So, fat not only adds flavor but also keeps you fuller longer and gives you prolonged energy without blood sugar spikes. Try it on toast or in a yogurt bowl!

The truth is, whole grain bread is better than the refined white bread a lot of us grew up with.

Whole grain bread is made with just that — the whole grain. This means we get the benefits of the antioxidants, fat, and fiber found in the outer layers of the grain that are discarded when making white bread.

Whole grains also offer B vitamins, vitamin E, magnesium, iron, and fiber. Try loading up your whole grain bread with all the goods, like this toast with peaches and yogurt.

You’ll often find my kids taking any spoon they can find to the peanut butter jar, and I don’t have a problem with it at all.

I always buy nut butter with no added sugar and no added oils, so I know they’re getting a quality source of plant-based protein and fat. And believe it or not, you don’t have to spend a fortune on fancy all-natural nut butter.

You can make your own (like this homemade cashew butter) or buy some affordable store-bought brands. One of my favorite brands is Crazy Richard’s Peanut Butter, and the brand also sells almond and cashew butter.

There are so many other foods I could list, but these nine are an amazing way to revamp your grocery list. Focus on minimizing added sugars and on not being afraid to add some quality sources of fat to your diet!

Mary Ellen Phipps is the registered dietitian nutritionist behind Milk & Honey Nutrition. She’s also a wife, mom, type 1 diabetic, and recipe developer. Browse her website for yummy diabetes-friendly recipes and helpful nutrition tips. She strives to make healthy eating easy, realistic, and most importantly… fun! She has expertise in family meal planning, corporate wellness, adult weight management, adult diabetes management, and metabolic syndrome. Reach out to her on Instagram.