Olympia Medical Center
Home Contact Us Physician Tools

Font Size AAA

Vegetables and Fruits

Vegetables and Fruits

Diabetic Support Group Class

Presented By: Courtney Walberg, BS, RD

Tips to remind yourself with Diabetes:

* No food is a magic bullet or forbidden fruit
* Variety and sensible portions (moderation) are key
* Whole foods trump processed foods (whole foods are always better)
* Plant foods should be embraced, along with low-fat dairy, fish, lean meats and poultry
* Unsaturated “good fats” and interesting seasonings keep food tasty and healthy; avoid unhealthy saturated and trans fats which weigh it down

Vegetable list: Avocados, beans, beets, bok choy, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery root, chestnuts, collards, garlic, artichokes, kale, leeks, lettuce, parsnips, pumpkin, rutabaga, snow peas, spinach, squash, sweet potatoes, swiss chard, turnips, watercress.

Fruit list: Apples, bananas, clemintines, cranberries, grapes, grapefruit, kiwi, kumquat, oranges, pears, persimmons, pomegranates, quinces, mandarin oranges, tangerines.

Recipes: (From Eating Well: Feb/Mar 2005, The Eating Well Diabetes Cookbook)

Creamy Mashed Cauliflower

Cauliflower puree makes a perfect low-carb stand-in for mashed potatoes. It gets its fabulous flavor from garlic, buttermilk and a touch of butter and with one-quarter of the calories of typical mashed potatoes. Servings: 4 (3/4 c. each) 15-30 min. to make.



*       8 cups bite-size cauliflower florets (about 1 head)

*       4 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled

*       1/3 cup nonfat buttermilk (see Tip)

*       4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

*       1 teaspoon butter

*       1/2 teaspoon salt

*       Freshly ground pepper to taste

*       Snipped fresh chives for garnish


  1. Place cauliflower florets and garlic in a steamer basket over boiling water, cover and steam until very tender, 12 to 15 minutes. (Alternatively, place florets and garlic in a microwave-safe bowl with 1/4 cup water, cover and microwave on High for 3 to 5 minutes.)
  2. Place the cooked cauliflower and garlic in a food processor. Add buttermilk, 2 teaspoons oil, butter, salt and pepper; pulse several times, then process until smooth and creamy. Transfer to a serving bowl. Drizzle with the remaining 2 teaspoons oil and garnish with chives, if desired. Serve hot.

Nutrition: Per serving: 107 calories; 7 g fat (1 g sat, 4 g mono); 3 mg cholesterol; 10 g carbohydrates; 5 g protein; 4 g fiber; 339 mg sodium; 288 mg potassium.

Serving:1/2 Carbohydrate

Exchanges: 2 vegetable, 1 1/2 fat

Blackberry Spinach Salad Recipe


*       4 cups baby spinach, rinsed and dried (comes in packages this way), packed measure

*       2 cups fresh blackberries (thawed blackberries can also be used)

*       2 ounces crumbled goat cheese (or reduced-fat or regular feta cheese)

*       2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, halved (chopped ripe tomatoes can be substituted)

*       1 large or 2 small green onions, sliced

*       3 tablespoons finely chopped walnuts or walnut pieces

*       4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (add more to taste)


1.      Add spinach, blackberries, cheese, cherry tomatoes, green onion, and walnuts to a large serving bowl. Toss to blend well.

2.      Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and serve into 4 salad bowls.


Yield: 4 servings

Nutrition: Per serving: 167 calories, 7 g protein, 21 g carbohydrate, 7 g fat (3.2 g saturated fat, 1.6 g monounsaturated fat, 1.8 g polyunsaturated fat), 11 mg cholesterol, 6 g fiber, 129 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 37%.




Southwestern Stuffed Acorn Squash: 6 servings; Active Time: 45 minutes. Total Time: 1 1/2 hours.


*       3 acorn squash, (3/4-1 pound each)

*       5 ounces bulk turkey sausage

*       1 small onion, chopped

*       1/2 medium red bell pepper,chopped

*       1 clove garlic, minced

*       1 tablespoon chili powder

*       1 teaspoon ground cumin

*       2 cups chopped cherry tomatoes

*       1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed (see Tip)

*       1/2 teaspoon salt

*       Several dashes hot red pepper sauce, to taste

*       1 cup shredded Swiss cheese



  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. Cut squash in half horizontally. Scoop out and discard seeds. Place the squash cut-side down on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until tender, about 45 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, lightly coat a large skillet with cooking spray; heat over medium heat. Add sausage and cook, stirring and breaking up with a wooden spoon, until lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Add onion and bell pepper; cook, stirring often, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, chili powder and cumin; cook for 30 seconds. Stir in tomatoes, beans, salt and hot sauce, scraping up any browned bits. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer until the tomatoes are broken down, 10 to 12 minutes.
  4. When the squash are tender, reduce oven temperature to 325°. Fill the squash halves with the turkey mixture. Top with cheese. Place on the baking sheet and bake until the filling is heated through and the cheese is melted, 8 to 10 minutes.

Nutrition: Per serving: 259 calories; 7 g fat (4 g sat, 1 g mono); 29 mg cholesterol; 38 g carbohydrates; 15 g protein; 7 g fiber; 482 mg sodium; 884 mg potassium.

1 Carbohydrate Serving, Exchanges: 2 starch, 1 vegetable

Butternut and Barley Pilaf: 6 servings, 2/3 cup each; Active Time: 20 minutes. Total time: 1 hour.


*       2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

*       1 medium onion, chopped

*       1 14-ounce can reduced-sodium chicken broth, or vegetable broth

*       1 3/4 cups water

*       1 cup pearl barley

*       2 cups cubed peeled butternut squash, (3/4-inch cubes) (see Tip)

*       1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

*       1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest

*       1 tablespoon lemon juice

*       1 clove garlic, minced

*       1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste

*       Freshly ground pepper, to taste


  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add broth, water, barley and squash; bring to a simmer, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until the barley and squash are tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed, about 45 minutes. Add parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper; mix gently.

Nutrition: Per serving: 194 calories; 2 g fat (0 g sat, 1 g mono); 1 mg cholesterol; 40 g carbohydrates; 6 g protein; 8 g fiber; 149 mg sodium; 457 mg potassium.

2 Carbohydrate Serving. Exchanges: 2 starch,1 vegetable

Pumpkin Muffins: 18 servings


·                    2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

·                    1 cup granulated sugar

·                    1 tablespoon baking powder

·                    1 teaspoon baking soda

·                    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

·                    1/2 teaspoon salt

·                    1 cup canned pumpkin

·                    3/4 cup fat-free sour cream

·                    1/3 cup fat-free milk

·                    1/4 cup vegetable oil

·                    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

·                    1 large egg

·                    1 large egg white

·                    Cooking spray

·                    1 tablespoon granulated sugar

·                    1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar



1.      Preheat oven to 375.

2.      Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients (flour through salt) in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Make a well in center of mixture.

3.      Combine pumpkin and next 6 ingredients (pumpkin through egg white); add to flour mixture, stirring just until moist. Spoon the batter into 18 muffin cups coated with cooking spray.

4.      Combine 1 tablespoon granulated sugar and brown sugar; sprinkle over muffins.

5.      Bake at 375 for 25 minutes, or until muffins spring back when touched lightly in center. Remove muffins from pans immediately; cool on a wire rack. Yield: 18 servings (serving size: 1 muffin).

Nutritional Information

Calories:164 (19% from fat): Fat 3.5g (sat fat 0.6g, monofat 0.8g, polyfat 1.9g); Protein 3.5g; Carbohydrates 29.7g; Fiber 1g; 12mg; iron 1.2mg; Sodium 269mg; Calcium 78mg.


Secrets to Cooking Healthier

·        Use smart fats. Opt for unsaturated- olive oil (use in moderation)

·        Go unrefined- choose whole grains-bran contains more fiber, Mg, Zn, B vitamins

·        Aim for 5-13 servings of fruits and vegetables/day (Aim for a variety of colors).

·        Eat lean meat, fish, or poultry. Fill up the rest of your plate with veggies and whole grains

·        Choose low fat dairy (milk, yogurt, cheese, sour cream to cut saturated fat)

·        Keep portions reasonable to balance overall daily calorie intake

·        Keep an eye on Sodium- for blood pressure control and overall health (goal daily intake: no >2300 mg/d)

·        Go for fresh flavor. Add herbs, spices and citrus to enhance foods

·        Be mindful and enjoy- make conscious food decisions rather than convenient


Benefits of adding a “rainbow of colors” to your diet.

Fruits and vegetables ADD nutrients, antioxidants, phytochemicals, cartones, and fiber! They are also low in calories and fat and sugar which play a role in weight maintenance.

Goal fiber intake:


Age 50 and younger

Age 50 and older


38 grams

30 grams


25 grams

21 grams


See “Dietary Fiber Offers many Health Benefits” handout.


Additional Benefits of fiber in Diabetics: Delaying sugar into the blood stream – slows how quickly sugar goes into your bloodstream and therefore may reduce peaks of blood sugar levels. It helps to control weight, blood pressure and alleviate constipation.