Shopping guide for diabetes or weight control

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A healthy eating plan is high in whole foods. These include vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, wholegrain foods, and lean protein. This guide suggests healthy processed food and drink options, but it isn’t a complete list of all suitable foods.


Look for products that have less than 10 g of sugar per 100 g, and less than 10 g of fat per 100 g. Check the nutrition information panel of food products.

Breakfast cereal

Healthy high‑fibre cereals that also include dried fruit have slightly more sugar. Look for cereals with less than 10 g of fat per 100 g, less than 15 g of sugar per 100 g, and more than 6 g of fibre per 100 g.

These are good options:

  • porridge (using wholegrain oats if possible)
  • Weet‑Bix
  • Sanitarium San Bran
  • Kellogg’s All-Bran (original or wheat flakes)
  • Healtheries Bran Flakes
  • certain muesli and flake cereals (but only half a cup).


Choose grainy bread, rolls, buns, wraps, roti, and chapatti, with more than 5 g of dietary fibre per 100 g

Buy wholemeal flour and add whole grains and seeds if you make homemade bread.

Canned fruit

Choose unsweetened, or in natural fruit juice, or light juice. Always drain the juice off the fruit before eating.

Beans and lentils

Choose beans and lentils with less than 5 g of sugar per 100 g. Healthy choices might include baked beans, chilli beans, red kidney beans, salad beans, chick peas, and three-bean mix.

Eat beans and lentils with your meals several times a week.

Rice, pasta, and noodles

Better choices include basmati rice, doongara rice, Uncle Ben’s parboiled rice, koshihikari rice, wholemeal pasta, San Remo pulse pasta, and Trident wholegrain noodles.

Grainy crackers

Choose crackers with less than 10 g fat per 100 g, preferably less sodium (less than 600 mg per 100 g), and preferably more than 6 g fibre per 100 g.

Better choices include Arnott’s Vita-Weat, Ryvita, and Huntly and Palmers 8 Grain wholegrain crackers.

Vegetable juices

V8 (vegetable variety only), and some tomato juices (but check for added sugars).


Choose milk with 1.5 g fat or less per 100 ml. This includes yellow, green, or light-blue top packaged milk.

For dairy alternatives, choose rice, nut, oat, or unflavoured soy milk. Choose alternatives that are calcium enriched and commercially produced (not homemade).


Choose cheese with less than 20 g fat per 100 g. This may include:

  • quark and ricotta
  • cottage cheese
  • cream cheese
  • lite cheese slices (check label for fat content)
  • low-fat Leyden (in the speciality cheese section)
  • mozzarella (check the label for fat content)
  • feta (check the label for fat content).

Noble Tasty Mainland Cheese (25.8 g fat per 100 g) and Edam Cheese (26.5 g fat per 100 g) are also okay to eat.


Choose unsweetened or artificially sweetened yoghurt, with less than 2 g fat per 100 g and less than 10 g sugar per 100 g. Better choices include natural or Greek style yoghurt.

Dips and toppings

Choose products with less than 10 g fat per 100 g and less than 5 g saturated fat per 100 g. These may include, tzatziki, tomato salsa, hummus, 98% fat-free sour cream, and Tararua lite dips.


  • Peanut butter with no added sugar
  • Weight Watchers jams and marmalade
  • St Dalfour jams
  • Barker’s spreadable fruits and no refined sugar fruit preserves
  • Select 100% fruit spread
  • Craigs Lite Fruit Spread
  • Healtheries Dietex Preserves
  • Jok’n’al jams and marmalade
  • Royalty Mix ‘n’ Made (in preserving section)
  • Vegemite, Marmite, Promite
  • AvoFresh Avocado Spread
  • Margarine
  • Cholesterol lowering spreads such as Logicol and Flora ProActiv

Fats and oils

Choose unsaturated fats and oils, such as canola oil, rice bran oil, and olive oil. Avoid saturated fats such as butter, palm oil and coconut oil.

Use a cooking spray for pan frying and use baking paper to prevent sticking on pans and dishes.

Treat foods

Eat these foods in moderation.

  • Weight Watchers low calorie Jelly Crystals and Chocolate Mousse
  • Zilch ice cream
  • Bulla Frozen Yoghurt (mini cup)
  • Nice and Natural Protein Nut Bars and Whole Seed Bars

Sugar substitutes

If you’re pregnant, avoid products containing cyclamate (952) and saccharin (954), including Sactab, Sugromax, Sweetabs, Sweetex, Splenda, and Sucaryl.

Other healthier choices include Equal, and stevia (Pure Via, Natural, NatVia, Sweete).

Sugar-free drinks

Use artificially sweetened beverages in moderation. Choose tap water, soda water, and low-fat milk to increase your fluid intake.


  • Weight Watchers Low Calorie Drink
  • Diet Refresh Low Calorie Drink Flavour
  • Vitafresh 99% sugar free

Liquid concentrates

  • Thriftee
  • VitalZing WaterDrops

Soft Drinks

  • Diet, Zero, or caffeine free varieties
  • Diet Soda Stream or soda water

Hot drinks or milk flavourings

  • Weight Watchers Drinking Chocolate
  • Sugar free cocoa chocolate drinking mix
  • Avalanche sugar-free milkshake mixes
  • Vitarium Du Chocolat No Added Sugar
  • VitalZing MilkDrops

Flavoured water or tea

  • Lipton Iced Tea Zero Sugar
  • Fruit tea bag
  • Flavoured water (check that there is no added sugar or fructose)

Low sugar drinks

  • Baker Halls and Co low‑calorie concentrates (low sugar)
  • Ribena Lite
  • Pam’s low calorie lemon and barley (low sugar)
  • Diet ginger beer or diet lemon, lime and bitters

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