Diet & Nutrition

Diabetes ResearchMaking healthy food choices and tracking your eating habits can help you manage your blood glucose level and keep it within a safe range.

If you have diabetes or pre-diabetes, your doctor will likely recommend that you see a dietitian to guide you on dietary changes that can help you control your blood sugar (glucose) level. When you eat excess calories and fat, your body responds by creating an undesirable rise in blood glucose. If blood glucose isn’t kept in check, it can lead to serious problems, such as a dangerously high blood glucose level (hyperglycemia) and chronic complications, such as nerve, kidney and heart damage.

What healthy food choices should I make?

Eat smaller portions. Learn what a serving size is for different foods and how many servings you need in a meal. Eat less fat. Choose fewer high-fat foods and use less fat for cooking.

You especially want to limit foods that are high in saturated fats or trans fat, such as:

  • Fatty cuts of meat.
  • Fried Foods
  • Whole milk and dairy products made from whole milk.
  • Cakes, candy, cookies, crackers, and pies.
  • Salad dressings.
  • Lard, shortening, stick margarine, and nondairy creamers.

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What should I eat more of?

Eat more fiber by eating more whole-grain foods. Whole grains can be found in:

  • Breakfast cereals made with 100% whole grains.
  • Oatmeal.
  • Whole grain rice.
  • Whole-wheat bread, bagels, pita bread, and tortillas.

Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables every day. Choose fresh, frozen, canned, or dried fruit and 100% fruit juices most of the time. Eat plenty of veggies like these:

  • Dark green veggies (e.g., broccoli, spinach, brussel sprouts).
  • Orange veggies (e.g., carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, winter squash).
  • Beans and peas (e.g., black beans, garbanzo beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, split peas, lentils).

What should I eat less of?

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Eat fewer foods that are high in sugar, such as:

  • Fruit-flavored drinks.
  • Sodas.
  • Tea or coffee sweetened with sugar.

Use less salt in cooking and at the table. Eat fewer foods that are high in salt, such as:

  • Canned and package soups.
  • Canned vegetables.
  • Pickles.
  • Processed meats.

Where can I learn about making a diabetes meal plan?

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Source: National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion,
Division of Diabetes Translation