Grocery shopping by a newbie

I'm pretty new to this having just been diagnosed with DT2 about a month ago. One of my biggest challenges so far is grocery shopping. I mean, trying to keep to a low carb diet is really pretty hard. It seems that almost everything sold in the store is loaded with them. I figure that If I just stay on the edges and keep out of the aisles is about the only way I can do any shopping. What prompted this posting tho was that this morning I found myself in the cereal aisle, checking out the carbs on my favorite cereals.. The problem with this is that this is about the third time that I have done the same thing (I miss my morning cereal!) as if the cereal manufacturers are going to magically lower the carbs in their products. Makes me feel pretty stupid.

Don't feel stupid. It's hard to change your diet and especially hard to give up things that you've eaten since you were a kid. Staying on the edges of the grocery store is a good strategy. Another is to emphasize things you already like that meet your low carb goals. If you like eggs make them (or EggBeaters) your new core breakfast food. Emphasize salads, nuts and protein foods at other meals.

And sadly you will probably have to give up cereal for good. Even those of us who aren't insulin resistant find that cerals - even those with complex carbs and lots of fiber tend to act as rocket fuel for our blood sugar.

You'll get the hang of it. It just takes time, effort and patience.

Take care,


You will find that ceral is one of the most missed food by members of the D club. When my wife bring homes cerial for the grandkids I will find myself pulled toward the box.

When grocery shopping I find it's best to stick to the vegetable and the meat isles. Whats best to limit is grains, sugars, and potatoes. Leafy vegetables have fewer carbs and meats have none at all.

I hate to tell you this, but the best thing to do is avoid the processed foods aisles. Those foods generally have high carbs (and really junky ones, at that). Your best bet is to stick with the fruit and veggie aisles, maybe dairy.

If you're really desperate for breakfast cereal with high carbs, you can try cutting the serving size in half and then replacing the food with something that has very few carbs (like eggs). I'd recommend something that doesn't have a ridiculous amount of sugar (like Multigrain Cheerios) if you want to try that.

I make almost all of my own food with nothing processed (except for oatmeal and dairy and other things I can't possibly make at home) because I'm banned from practically all carbs. It's NOT easy and I don't think it will ever be, but it does get easier.

One more thing--I was diagnosed with a food allergy more than 6 years ago, and I still check my favorite "old" foods that I haven't been able to eat in years to see if they've magically taken the peanuts out of peanut butter. Give it some time, you'll get bored of checking, but if you're anything like me, you'll still go down those aisles occasionally just to check.

I wish you lots of luck!

Maurie is right, just forget the cereal, it's easier that way. This and the other things that don't work (rice, pasta, potatoes, anything with flour for me) make it harder to find quick foods. You may find yourself eating foods at times you usually don't eat them. For example an omelet and bacon for supper. Keep hard boiled eggs handy at all times. I also keep lots of celery and sugarless peanut butter, nuts, avocados, and salad stuff. I make a huge crockpot of my own vegetable soup, that makes an easy meal and I can hide things in there that I otherwise wouldn't eat (kale, a turnip). Another thing you can make in a big pan and just cut a slice when you need it is a frittata. I make mine with eggs, spinach or zucchini, and cheese. I can eat cheese and salami, just don't have crackers to put them on. You'll find out for yourself what you can tolerate and what you can't, just treat it like an adventure.

Just a suggestion, guitarnut if you love peanut butter but are allergic specifically to peanuts, try other nut butters. Personally I like every single one better than I ever liked peanut butter: almond butter, cashew butter, macadamia butter, hazelnut butter and my latest fave which isn't a nut at all but is so yummy: coconut butter!

I appreciate that, but I'm severely allergic to so many nuts that I've been told not to bother with any at all. I've never seen coconut butter--where do you get it?

In my supermarket it's on the same shelf as the peanut butter. They also have it at my health food store in a larger jar which is good as it's expensive. You have to stick it in the microwave for a minute before you use it as it forms a hard white shell on top, but the warming just makes it yummier!

I walk the dog after my breakfast of muesli and milk, I find that my 20 minute walk will lower my blood sugars by at least 2.0 every morning. I don't like eggs for breakfast and particularly not eggs without toast, so this is an option a T2 can consider. If you exercise afterwards you can have your morning treat. And that is generally the last of the carbs for the day, well not quite all as there are carbs in salad stuff as well. Then it is just meat or fish and salads and an avoidance of processed foods.

That's how I get away with a half serving of oatmeal in the mornings. I have 1/4 cup oatmeal and 2 pieces of american cheese, then I walk a mile to school. I almost never spike above 130 from this, and it's the only time I get to eat a grain carb.

The rest of the day's carbs vary between Greek yogurt, lattes, and fruits. (Those are the only carbs I can tolerate, apparently--dairy and fruit.)

Good question Capri--we have all been in your shoes!
At dx I too was shocked to see that things like cereal were pretty much off the table. I could not believe the small portions of carbs recommended by the ADA (ie, 1/4 C of rice!!). I spent the first months anxious and overwhelmed as I tried to remake my kitchen, got used to my meds, all in the quest for a controlled A1C. I checked carb content of all kinds of foods for months &, gradually, I stored that in my head. Today I can eyeball a recipe & guess carb content.
So, relax, learn, and experiment. Try borrowing some diabetic or lo-carb cookbooks from the library for ideas. Try buying some vegetables that you've never had. You will learn your way.

Thanks for all of the replies. All very helpful. I guess someday I'll stop whishing for that nice big bowl of cereal in the morning.....Now if I could just do I could just do something about that plate of homemade chocolate chip cookies and a large glass of cold milk before going to bed................:(

I think many of us have struggled with the changes to eating we have had to make. It is not easy. Carbs are addicting. And this is a process. Over time you will make the changes and after three months or so with a new diet, it will no longer be a "diet," it will be your lifestyle. After diagnosis, I often sought replacement foods for my favorites. Cereal's like Special K Protein have 14g of carbs/5 g fiber in a 3/4 cup serving. Better than Cheerios at 22g carbs/3g fiber for a 1c serving. But I still had to remember the 12g carbs for 1 c of milk.

Over time, I found alternatives for my meals. Now eggs and meat are my staple breakfast. I actually have no interest in cereal, it has been years since I have had any. And these days, I think I eat very well. In time, I am sure you will feel less deprived and this will be easier.

The types of carbs that cause us the most problems are also the ones that are the most addicting. If you stay away from them completely the cravings will gradually disappear. IMHO going half way and allowing occasional deviations actually makes things harder, but in this as in so many things, we are all different.

I've been eating 30 to 50 G/day for about 3.5 years have no cravings for the foods like grains potatoes etc. which were formerly a mainstay of my diet. I can sit and watch coworkers eating birthday cake and ice cream with no temptation to join in. Actually since my body has become used to relatively low BG levels I would feel physically very ill from the mega spike that would result from giving in to the cake and ice cream.

So my advice would be to stick with the program and stick with shopping the perimeter instead of the isles, things will get better. There are tons of low carb recipe sites on the web and several low carb recipe groups her on TuD, perhaps you can find an acceptable substitute for that late night snack. I have also found that, like Brian says, you can restrict carbs and still eat very well.