‘Free’ Foods

There are some foods that are considered to be “Free” foods for Type 1 Diabetics. This term does require an explanation and isn’t to be misinterpreted.

“Free foods” are those foods or drinks that have less than 20 calories per serving and no more than 5 grams of carbohydrate per serving. They are considered free because you may eat them up to three times a day in reasonable amounts without significantly raising your blood sugar. Here is a sampling of the free foods available by category:

  • Asparagus, cooked
  • Beans, green, cooked
  • Broccoli, cooked
  • Celery
  • Cucumber
  • Lettuce, iceberg
  • Olives
  • Red capsicum
  • Radishes
  • Shallots
  • Spinach, cooked
  • Tomatoes
  • Tomato juice


  • Avocados
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Pecans
  • Butter
  • Cheese, cheddar
  • Cheese, Swiss
  • Cream cheese
  • Cottage cheese, 2% milkfat
  • Eggs
  • Half and half
  • Mayonnaise
  • Milk, 1% milkfat, added solids
  • Soy milk
  • Yoghurt, plain, whole milk
  • Coffee (without cream or sugar)
  • Tea (without milk or sugar)
  • Water

Serving Sizes for Snacks

Limit yourself to only two snacks a day. Don’t snack throughout the day, eat snacks at designated times between meals so that your snack doesn’t spoil your appetite and adds some nutritional value to your daily food intake. See below for examples of snacks with less than 5 grams of carbohydrates:

  • 15 almonds
  • 3 celery sticks + 1 tablespoon of peanut butter
  • 5 baby carrots
  • 5 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 hard-boiled egg
  • 1 cup cucumber slices
  • ¼ cup of fresh blueberries
  • 1 cup of salad greens + 1/2 cup of diced cucumber + drizzle of vinegar and oil
  • 1 cup of light popcorn
  • 1 piece of string cheese stick
  • 8 green olives
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin or sesame seeds
  • ¼ of a whole avocado (around 4grams)

Creating a Plan Around Free Foods

Free foods can be eaten in moderation. Incorporate free foods up to three times a day and add a serving at each meal. To prevent a rise in blood sugar, avoid eating all three servings of a free food in the same meal. Instead, eat one serving of a particular free food during a meal or snack.

  • Portion Control – Know the proper serving size for your free food as that’s important to keep it well within the less than 20 calories and less than 5 grams of carbohydrate. Too much of anything is not a good thing.
  • One Each – Don’t overindulge on free foods. Plan ahead and designate a free food for each meal or snack time.






Reference:   https://www.verywellhealth.com/free-foods-diabetes-exchange-lists-3289496


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