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How Diabetes Affected my Grocery Budget


Someone asked about how eating better or rather to suit my diabetic needs had affected my grocery budget. To be honest, I haven’t really tracked that. But I thought I would share the biggest changes I made and how I kept the costs under control.

Changes in My Food

  1. Bread – eliminated all bread for the most part. I tried some of the “keto” bread and recipes, including a cauliflower type bread and frankly, yuck! And the effort to make and keep it fresh and available when I wanted a quick sandwich was just too labor intense. So for the most part, I have eliminated the need for bread. I make sandwiches with a lettuce wrap or just roll up turkey and cheese and call it a sandwich.
  2. Lunch side items – my go to lunch since I work from home has always been a sandwich (see above,) chips and pickled okra and a couple of slices of cheese. Thankfully, the pickles and cheese are fine, but the chips had to go. I have replaced them with pork rinds. I definitely don’t get the variety that I had with chips, but there are a few different flavors and they satisfy the desire and are a wash cost wise.
  3. Potatoes and pasta – these two were not especially hard for me to give up EXCEPT that it made it harder to cook quick meals. I could throw together loaded baked or mashed potatoes or chicken fettuccine alfredo in less than half an hour most of the time. But since then, I have tried the cauliflower substitutes to make mac and cheese (delicous!) and a “potato” base and it works great. With enough cheese, sour cream and salt and pepper, I don’t even notice the difference. As long as I buy the heads of cauliflower versus the already cut  pieces, it’s fairly economical. I’ve even found some brands in the freezer section that have been pretty economical and make it easier to keep on hand. But again, this isn’t something I do alot.
  4. Rice – this has been hard. Really hard!!! So hard, that I have mostly failed. The only way this works is that I don’t eat it very often. But I LOVE rice and gravy, especially my grandmother’s. But at home, I have cut back on how often I include it in recipes, switched from white to brown or even more recently to wild rice. Again, a cheap food to begin with and while the wild rice is a bit more expensive, the quantity I use makes it a wash.
  5. Fruit – at first I gave up ALL fruit. And that was hard. But actually helped my budget quite a bit. As I’ve gotten better about my numbers and being careful about what I eat, I have added some fruits back in. I love Honeycrisp apples and will sometimes have one with peanut butter for lunch or a snack. But no more than once every couple of weeks because this definitely blows my numbers. But I do regularly eat berries of all types. They are a low carb fruit. And while they are a bit pricey, I don’t have to share them…Gymnast was the only child who ate berries, so now I get them all to myself. I buy some fresh every grocery trip, but mostly rely on frozen for smoothies and garnishes so that helps keep the cost down. Again, if the kids ate them, this could be an issue, but they don’t. So more for me!

I think that about sums up the changes I made as far as groceries.

Food Staples

We have always been big meat eaters, and I keep the freezer stocked with a variety either from Sams Club (in the days when all kids were home and buying in bulk made sense) and more recently from the quarterly truck sale at the local Quality Foods. Cheese and bacon are also big staples around our house. Otherwise, it’s mostly fresh or canned veggies. I can literally just sit and eat a can of green beans. I tried switching from canned to frozen, but just haven’t stuck to it.

So I buy cans in bulk of different veggies. Princess favorite are peas, History Buff loves greens and I will eat them all but love green beans. And then buy fresh options for steaming and roasting like zucchini and squash, carrots and spinach, peppers of all colors and cucumbers, can’t forget the cukes. A little olive oil, salt and pepper and yum!

So overall, diabetes has not really affected my grocery budget. It’s just really helped me make better choices on how I spend my money.


  • Reply Cheryl |

    Hope how much weight have you lost that you were able to stop any meds. I am a diabetic and can eat 1/3 cup of brown rice which counts as 15 gram of carbs. I am allowed 30 gram of carbs at a meal.

    • Reply Hope |

      It wasn’t the weight loss so much as it was going strict Keto for almost a year. I’ve since added some carbs back in but am very conscious of them. And more recently have been fasting pretty regularly. My boyfriend and I are both doing regular 18 hour fasts with the occasional longer one.
      My dad has really taken to fasting, sometimes for a week at a time. I’ll have to get the reference book we use. But it’s at home and I’m caretaking at my grandmothers now. I’ll post it later.

  • Reply Cheryl |

    My doctor said for me I should have more than the 30 or less a day most have and my husband on insulin absolutely not at all.

    • Reply Hope |

      Yes, I actually was looking at Keto (no carbs) for about a year before my diagnosis. Thankfully, within the first year was able to really get a handle on it. Hit it hard that year and now just check occasionally to make sure I’m staying on point.

  • Reply Louise |

    Well done on the diet change, I have had to do it myself and it is a lot of work. I found my grocery budget did go up a lot as in Australia carbs are so cheap/groceries are so expensive that even vegetables are expensive in comparison to rice and lentils – and meat is just plain expensive.

So, what do you think ?