Managing Diabetes with the Right Diet

managing diabetes

Find out how managing diabetes with the right diet can reduce your need for insulin

Did you know that managing diabetes with the right diet and exercise may reduce or even eliminate your need to take insulin? For some individuals diagnosed with pre-Diabetes or Type 2 diabetes, combining a balanced diet of diabetic-friendly foods with regular exercise may be all that is necessary to keep blood glucose levels in a healthy range. Even if you still need to take insulin or other medication, managing diabetes with the right diet can help prevent or delay the development of certain health complications that are common in people with diabetes.

What foods are good for diabetics?

In each of the main food categories (proteins, grains, fruits & vegetables) there are certain foods that are more beneficial for diabetics to eat. The American Diabetes Association recommends that diabetics eat a balanced diet of vegetables, proteins, and grains. One way to be sure you are getting the right proportions is through the plate method: 50% of your plate should be non-starchy vegetables, 25% lean protein, and 25% grains and starchy foods.  If you’re wondering what foods are good for diabetics, the following list will get you started with healthy food choices:

  • Proteins – Lean meats other than red meat provide heart-healthy nutrition for diabetics. Choose fish, especially fatty fish such as salmon and herring, skinless chicken or turkey, eggs, or tofu. Beans and legumes are great protein sources that also high in fiber.
  • Grains – Whole grain foods such as brown rice, quinoa, oatmeal grains, and other complex carbohydrates are some of the best foods for diabetics to eat. These complex carbs are ideal for diabetics because they are digested slowly, providing a steady continuous stream of energy that can keep blood glucose levels steady.
  • Fruits – Fresh fruits such as berries, apples, melon and grapes provide minerals and vitamins
  • Non-starchy vegetables – Dark leafy greens and non-starchy vegetables such as mushrooms, peppers, broccoli, and asparagus provide necessary fiber along with nutrients and vitamins
  • Heart-healthy fats – Canola and olive oil, nuts, seeds, and avocado all provide healthy fats that can actually reduce the amounts of “bad” fats that are bad for your heart. Use these oils instead of butter or lard in cooking.

What are the foods to avoid with diabetes?

Certain foods can make it harder to manage your diabetes. People with diabetes should avoid foods that are high in carbohydrates and processed sugars, because they can cause blood glucose levels to spike.  Fruits that are packed in syrup, fruit juices, and jams that have added sugar also cause dangerous spikes in blood glucose. Fried foods and other foods that are high in saturated fats can increase your weight and make it harder for you to manage your diabetes.

Cutting down on the foods to avoid with diabetes doesn’t mean you have to deprive yourself. In many cases, you will find there are foods that are good for diabetes that you may enjoy as much or even more than the unhealthy foods. Once you get used to substituting foods that are good for diabetics, you will find that managing diabetes with the right diet is easier, and more enjoyable than you though possible when you first started. For more helpful tips with living with diabetes, including exercises for diabetics and delicious, diabetic-friendly recipes that are easy to prepare, visit





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