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Stock Up Your Pantry On Diabetes-Friendly Staples


No time to plan dinner? No problem. With a few staples, you can make a quick and healthy meal.


Even with great meal planning, there’ll be times when you need to whip together a quick meal. Having a pantry stocked with diabetes-friendly staples can help you keep it simple and healthy. Here’s a list of some items to have on hand 1:

  • Canned vegetables (no added salt)

  • Canned fruit (in water or unsweetened juice)

  • Canned beans (rinse before eating to remove any salt)

  • Canned tuna or salmon (in water)

  • Dried herbs

  • Olive oil

  • Cooking spray

  • Quick oats or steel-cut oats

  • Whole-grain cereal

  • Whole-wheat pasta

  • Brown rice

  • Dried fruit

  • Whole-wheat bread

  • Whole-wheat pita

  • Nuts (e.g., almonds, peanuts, walnuts)

  • Peanut or almond butter

  • Seeds (sunflower, flax)

  • Popcorn (light, microwave)

  • Potatoes (sweet potatoes, yams)

  • Spaghetti sauce

  • Soup (low-sodium and low-fat versions)

  • Whole-wheat crackers

  • Whole-wheat flour

Canned beans are a good source of protein and fibre and can make a satisfying vegetarian entrée (see recipe below). If you like meat in your mains, stock up on frozen meats like chicken breasts or shrimp that can be defrosted and added to a recipe. Low-fat cheese is another good item to replenish from week to week.


Quick & Easy Chicken and White Bean Stew 2



  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) canola oil

  • 1 lb. (450 g) boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch (5 cm) pieces

  • 1 medium onion, chopped

  • 1 cup (250 mL) carrots, diced

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 pkg. (227 g) sliced cremini mushrooms

  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) chopped fresh thyme leaves

  • 4 cups (1 L) low-sodium chicken broth

  • 1 can (540 mL) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) each cold water and cornstarch

  • 4 cups (1 L) chopped kale

  • ¼ cup (50 mL) grated Parmesan cheese


  1. In Dutch oven or large heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add chicken; cook, stirring until browned, about 4 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer mixture to plate; set aside.
  2. Add onion and carrots; cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add garlic, mushrooms, thyme and 2 tbsp (30 mL) water; cook, stirring occasionally until mushrooms are tender and no liquid remains, about 4 to 5 minutes.
  3. Add chicken mixture to Dutch oven. Stir in beans and broth; bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes.
  4. In small bowl stir together water and cornstarch; stir into Dutch oven; add kale. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until thickened, stirring constantly until kale is tender-crisp, or for about 3 to 5 minutes. Garnish with Parmesan cheese.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 220 mg sodium, 6 g fibre, 27 g protein, 1.5 g saturated fat, 24 g carbohydrates, 9 g total fat, 50 mg cholesterol, 280 calories (kcal).




1 Diabetes Care Community. (2020, February 23). Tips for stocking a diabetes-friendly kitchen. Retrieved March, 2021, from

2 Diabetes Canada. (2020, January). Chicken and white bean stew. Retrieved March, 2021, from