While the calories in free foods are minimal, they'll still add up quickly. Measure your portions, since each serving has up to 20 calories and 5 grams of carbs. Not all free foods have portion sizes, but if they do, limit yourself to three servings daily.
Salad greens, like mesclun, iceberg and spinach, are on the free-foods list. Have them in unlimited amounts, since they contain minimal calories. Raw cabbage is an alternative, but the serving is 1/2 cup. Other free veggies include 1/4 cups of cooked carrots, cauliflower or green beans. Or have 1/2 cup of cucumber slices or five baby carrots. For free fruity alternatives, enjoy 1/2 cup of cooked cranberries sweetened with a sugar substitute or an unlimited amount of sugar-free gelatin. If you need a snack, have a cup of air-popped popcorn.
Many condiments, dressings and spreads are on the free-foods list. Have 1 tablespoon of fat-free cream cheese, 2 tablespoons of sugar-free syrup, 2 teaspoons of no-sugar-added jam, 1 tablespoon of either low-fat or no-fat sour cream, 1 tablespoon of fat-free mayonnaise -- or 1 teaspoon of the reduced-fat kind. Additionally, have 1 tablespoon of ketchup or relish or 1/4 cup of salsa. Or top your "free" salad with 1 tablespoon of nonfat or low-fat salad dressing, which are both included.
Liquids and Beverages
Plain broths, including consomme or bouillon, are considered free foods. For cold beverages, drink any type of sugar-free diet soft drink, diet tonic, soda water or unsweetened ice tea. Hot "free" drinks include hot tea, black coffee or hot chocolate made with sugar-free cocoa powder. Water, of course, is also included.
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Diabetes Diet
- Choose Your Foods: Exchange Lists for Weight Management; Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics