How to Enjoy Summer Sweet Corn, even with Diabetes!

Published on: 07/20/2021
bowl of black bean & corn salsa

Many people with diabetes are told to avoid sweet corn because it’s high carb.

Well, that’s true if we eat it as part of a meal filled with other starches but if we choose wisely, we can still enjoy this summer favorite.

I bet you don’t hear the healthy things about sweet corn. Did you know it is a great source of 2 nutrients that are great for your eyes?  You may have heard of lutein. The other is called Zeaxanthin.

Sweet corn is also good source of fiber that helps keep you regular, plus serves as a fiber food that the good bacteria in our gut need.

Try these 3 smart strategies for eating sweet corn:

  1. If you are enjoying fresh sweet corn, keep the portion to 30 grams if possible. That would be 1 cup or 2 small to medium cobs of corn.
  2. Don’t overcook your fresh sweet corn. You will keep more flavor and nutrition if you steam it instead of boiling in water. Bring about 2 inches of water to a boil in a steamer. Add corn, cover with lid and steam for 5 minutes. Butter and salt have always been my traditional add-on before eating, but this summer I am going to try a flavored olive oil, sea salt and pepper as suggested by the World’s Healthiest Foods website.
  3. After you get your fresh corn on the cob fix you can enjoy sweet corn added to other lower carb recipes such as chicken tacos with black beans and corn or the Black Bean Salsa recipe below.

Black Bean Salsa Recipe

This recipe is from my sister Patty, who I call my master gardener. She grows one of the most impressive gardens I have ever seen and happens to be an amazing cook as well!


1 can black beans drained and rinsed

2 cups fresh sweet corn (or thawed from frozen)

½ cup fresh cilantro chopped

½ cup chopped onion

½ cup chopped tomato

1/3 cup fresh squeezed lime juice from 2 limes

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon cumin


  1. Rinse and drain black beans and dump into a medium to large mixing bowl. Add sweet corn.
  2. Chop the cilantro, onion and tomatoes and add to the mixture.
  3. Cut limes in half and squeeze enough juice for the 1/3 cup portion and add to mixture.
  4. Add olive oil and cumin.
  5. Stir gently to blend ingredients. Put into smaller glass bowl.
  6. Cover and let sit in refrigerator for about 30 minutes to allow flavors to blend.

Recipe Notes:

  • My husband and I do not grow our own sweet corn, but we are lucky enough to have a local grower that has great sweet corn every year for sale. For past 3 years we have put 50-75 bags corn in the freezer so we can enjoy great tasting sweet corn all year round.
  • One of the key ingredients in this salsa is the cilantro. I am growing my own cilantro this year in pots, and this is a favorite flavor ingredient for my husband as well.
  • Red onion can also be used if you don’t want to use sweet onion or green onion.
  • I prefer cherry tomatoes cut in half or smaller, depending on their size. I also grown one cherry tomato plant each year to enjoy. You can use whatever tomato you like.
  • The lime juice is my other favorite ingredient in this recipe. I really like the balance of the tartness with the sweetness of the corn. I always use fresh lime juice. It is more work, but I think worth the effort. I don’t even have a juicer yet, but it is on my shopping list for sure!
  • If you want to go gourmet you could use a flavored olive oil of your choice. I occasionally use that and get mine from the MN Olive Oil Company.
  • All the ingredients in this recipe are very healthy. If you enjoy this salsa with corn chips you will have to practice some carb portioning, but you can also add it to eggs or wraps or tacos.


Are you confused by all the diabetes food advice to reverse diabetes? Get answers with this free report. 


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I’m Karen, a diabetes nutrition specialist who is passionate about fighting diabetes for my clients, my family, and myself.

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