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Learn about a host of diabetes-related topics such as how many Americans suffer from this disease to how to easily adjust to a new diet after diagnoses. This section will provide you with the information you need to make informed dietary decisions regarding diabetes.

Diabetes Nutrition Guide

Though aimed to manage blood sugar, all can benefit from a balanced diet for diabetics. This diabetes nutrition guide focuses on nutritious foods over ones providing empty calories.


Diabetes is when the body is unable to utilize glucose from carb sources. This is mostly related to the absence or resistance of insulin. If left uncontrolled, blood sugars start to rise and increase the risk of diabetes complications.

If diagnosed with diabetes, one might be recommended to diabetic diet. Adopting this healthy eating pattern not only helps control blood sugars, but can support heart health and a healthy weight.

These benefits are especially important for those living diabetes, as they are at greater risk of developing heart disease. Weight loss can also improve diabetes management.

Though aimed to control blood sugars, a balanced diet for diabetics is truly one all can benefit from. Besides, considerations in this diabetes nutrition guide include incorporating more nutrient-rich food sources over those providing empty calories.

Diabetes Nutrition Guide

First and foremost, diabetic meal plans are completely individualized. They are constructed to meet individual needs and preferences. Coordinating with a dietitian can also ensure a diabetic meal plan effectively managing blood sugars while suited individual needs.

However, a diabetic meal plan is essentially a menu framework of which foods to eat and when to eat them. It also considers proper serving and portion sizes to best keep blood sugars within a normal range. Each menu commonly consists of breakfast, lunch, and dinner along with some sort of snack(s).

When incorporating more food sources described below, there is natural control in carbohydrate and calories to support diabetes and weight loss. It is also rich in heart-healthy nutrients and moderating in fat and salt to protect cardiovascular health.

Whole Grains

Choose whole grains and wheat products over highly processed, refined products. Wheat and related grains contain vitamins, minerals, and fiber that white and processed foods generally lack.

Examples of whole grains include barley, oatmeal, brown rice, and wheat products such as breads and pastas.

Equally as important, divvy away from desserts and pastries created with refined flours and sugars. Not only do they tend to offer empty calories, but can lead blood sugar spikes and subsequent drops.

A Mix of Vegetables

Colorful veggies burst with fiber, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. And while all vegetables supply valuable nutrients, they are not all treated the same.

Veggies are broken down into "starchy" and "non-starchy" varieties. The meal plate should ideally be comprised mostly of non-starchy veggies, as they are lower in carbohydrate. These include asparagus, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, peppers, kale, and spinach.

Starchy veggies are still rich in nutrients, but should be moderated to keep carb content balanced. Sweet and russet potatoes, corn, peas, and squash, pumpkin are a few starchy vegetable varieties.


While fruits are thought to be "off limits" related to their sugar content, they can absolutely be enjoyed! Not only do they offer natural sweetness to curb your sweet tooth, but supply adequate fiber and nutrients.

However, whole fruits are encouraged over fruit juices. If juice is desired, select an unsweetened product and limit to a 4-ounce serving. Also choose canned fruit packaged in their natural juice or water rather than added sugars and syrups.

No matter the variety, fruit also contains the natural sugar fructose and can spike blood sugar. The best fruit for diabetics includes pairing with a protein or healthy fat source to protect from this fluctuation. Some nutritious and delicious combos include blueberries and Greek yogurt, bananas and peanut butter, and peaches and cottage cheese.


Offering protein at meals is extremely valuable in improving blood sugars and inducing satiety. Protein is also important for weight loss, which can in turn augment insulin resistance common in type 2 diabetes.

Lean animal meats are naturally absent in carbohydrate and low in fat. Different sources of lean protein include chicken, ground turkey, pork tenderloin, bison, tuna, and shrimp.

Beans, lentils, soybeans, nuts and seeds are valuable plant-based protein sources to incorporate in a well-balanced diet. They also tend to offer fiber and healthy fat.

Dairy Products

Dairy products contain the natural sugar known as lactose. They are also excellent sources of protein and calcium.

Nutrient-dense dairy products include milk, yogurt, string cheese, and cottage cheese. Choosing Greek yogurt over traditional also supplies more protein.

But when choosing a dairy product, pay attention to the Ingredient and Nutrition Facts labels. Yogurt varieties, especially, are notorious for containing added sugars. Choosing low-fat options can also help control calorie content.

Healthy Fats and Oils

Unlike popular belief, fat can and should fit into a well-balanced diet. However, one should place the focus on the type of fat consumed. Because truly, not all fats should be treated the same and there are some considered to be more healthful than others.

More specifically, avoid trans fats completely and moderate saturated fat intake. Incorporate more healthy unsaturated fats, including monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) and omega-3 fatty acids. These healthy fats benefit the body in numerous ways, including controlling hunger and supporting heart health.

Healthy high-fat foods you should eat more often include avocado, nuts and seeds, peanut butter, and fatty fish, eggs. Adding extra virgin olive oil may also help reduce after-meal blood sugar levels.

Avoid Non-Nutritive Sweeteners

Compared to natural or refined sugars, artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols provide a lower glycemic response and are reduced in carbohydrate.

Though they appear to be safe, people have reported unpleasant gastric discomfort following their consumption, including diarrhea.

Beyond their more immediate side effects, consuming diet soda may lead to long-term consequences. And while consuming regular soda is discouraged, the artificial sweeteners in diet soda raises concerns regarding weight gain and blood sugars.

Moderate Alcohol

Moderating alcohol is important for all aspects of health, including diabetes management. Drinking alcohol on an empty stomach may cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Hypoglycemia can be serious and even life threatening.

If you do choose to drink, eating while drinking alcohol can lessen the risk of hypoglycemia. Also moderate alcohol consumption. Men are encouraged to consume no more than two drinks per day. Women are limited to one drink daily.

Choosing the Best Diabetes Diet

Choosing the best diabetes diet is essentially one founded on sound nutritional guidelines. It should likewise address personal needs and be enjoyed to ensure sustainability.

Desiring nutritious and delicious diabetic-friendly meals delivered straight to home? Look no further than the nation's leading weight loss meal delivery service!

The diabetic program is built to manage blood sugars, facilitate weight loss, and lead to good health. It was also created by Dr. Caroline Cederquist as a specific response to a very real need that diabetic members expressed.

Dr. Cederquist combines the nutritional requirements of a diabetic diet with the delicious flavors of top-notch cuisine. Registered Dietitians also customize menus to accommodate individual needs and preferences. A team of seasoned chefs and health experts create flavorful meals while keeping carb content moderated.

Healthy diabetic meals supply 25 net grams of carbs or less. Snacks supply 15 net grams or less. Both meals and snacks also deliver adequate lean protein the body needs to regulate blood sugars and keep hunger at bay. They likewise ensure the body gets an adequate amount of calories and prevent metabolism from slowing down.

Also recognizing health is not a one-size-fits-all, diabetic meal plans are completely customizable and flexible. With diabetic meal plans, choose between a 5 or 7-day diabetic program to best fit personal needs and schedules.

A balanced diet for diabetics has never tasted so good! Imagine this: A breakfast tostada to kickstart the day and sliced roast beef with red wine demi to end it. Oh, and stuffed grape leaves, a glazed cinnamon bar, and crunchy almond puffs somewhere in between!

Truly, using a diabetic meal delivery program helps tailor a menu with personal medical needs in mind. The best programs will specifically prepare their meals for their medical considerations and provide an easy way to order from home!

Written By Sydney Lappe, MS, RDN. Published on November 07, 2012. Updated on March 27, 2019.


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