Diabetes Diet and Healthy Food Tips
Diabetes Diet, Eating, & Physical Activity
Nutrition and physical activity are important parts of a healthy lifestyle when you have diabetes. Along with other benefits, following a healthy meal plan and being active can help you keep your blood glucose level,
also called blood sugar, in your target range. To manage your blood glucose, you need to balance what you eat and drink with physical activity and diabetes medicine, if you take any. What you choose to eat, how much you eat, and when you eat are all important in keeping your blood glucose level in the range that your health care team recommends.
Becoming more active and making changes in what you eat and drink can seem challenging at first. You may find it easier to start with small changes and get help from your family, friends, and health care team.
Eating well and being physically active most days of the week can help you
- keep your blood glucose level, blood pressure, and cholesterol in your target ranges
- lose weight or stay at a healthy weight
- prevent or delay diabetes problems
- feel good and have more energy
What foods can I eat if I have diabetes?
You may worry that having diabetes means going without foods you enjoy. The good news is that you can still eat your favorite foods, but you might need to eat smaller portions or enjoy them less often. Your health care team will help create a diabetes meal plan for you that meets your needs and likes.
The key to eating with diabetes is to eat a variety of healthy foods from all food groups, in the amounts your meal plan outlines.
The food groups are
- nonstarchy: includes broccoli, carrots, greens, peppers, and tomatoes
- starchy: includes potatoes, corn, and green peas
- fruits—includes oranges, melon, berries, apples, bananas, and grapes
- grains—at least half of your grains for the day should be whole grains
- includes wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, barley, and quinoa
- examples: bread, pasta, cereal, and tortillas
- lean meat
- chicken or turkey without the skin
- nuts and peanuts
- dried beans and certain peas, such as chickpeas and split peas
- meat substitutes, such as tofu
- dairy—nonfat or low fat
- milk or lactose-free milk if you have lactose intolerance
Learn more about the food groups at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) ChooseMyPlate.gov .
Eat foods with heart-healthy fats, which mainly come from these foods:
- oils that are liquid at room temperature, such as canola and olive oil
- nuts and seeds
- heart-healthy fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel
Use oils when cooking food instead of butter, cream, shortening, lard, or stick margarine.