What Can Diabetics Eat? Food and Meal Tips for Type 2 Diabetics
One important part of an overall diabetes treatment
plan includes eating a healthy, nutritious "diabetic-friendly" diet.
A proper eating plan helps people with type 2 diabetes
control blood sugar levels. What can diabetics eat
A healthy diet for diabetics is very similar to a healthy diet for everyone.
Diabetics do need to closely monitor the consumption of foods with carbohydrates,
though, as carbohydrates raise blood sugar
levels quickly. While you don't have to avoid
you do need to choose "carbs" that are better for you and watch
Complex carbohydrates are the best choices for diabetics. They provide
a slower, steadier stream of sugars that will help to keep your blood sugar under
control. Complex carbs are found in foods like fresh, whole fruits and vegetables
(not fruit juice), beans, brown rice, pasta, cereals, bread and potatoes. Choose
whole grains where possible since they also provide additional fiber.
Low-fat dairy products are also a good source of nutrition. These include
skim milk and yogurt. Try to choose low-fat dairy as much as you can.
Lean meats like skinless chicken breasts and fish should also be a part
of your diet, in small portions. Other protein sources include beans and legumes,
peanut butter (in small amounts), low-fat cheese, eggs, and tofu.
Be aware that healthy foods can be made unhealthy when preparing them: potatoes
are good for you, but if you make deep-fried french fries, that doesn't mean that
they're still healthy because they're made from potatoes. Steaming, broiling,
roasting, and grilling are generally good ways to prepare foods. Don't add too
much additional fat or salt.
Try to minimize sweets and alcohol. Both raise blood sugar
quickly and they are mostly "empty calories" - that is, few nutrients
but calorie-dense, which can result in weight gain. Refined and processed foods
should be avoided as much as possible in favor of fresh foods. Include lots of
fresh veggies and fruits in your diet.
Additional Eating Tips for Diabetics
- Eat frequent, small meals to help keep your blood sugar controlled
throughout the day.
- Stick to a regular eating schedule. Don't skip a meal here or there,
or eat when you get around to it. This only makes it more difficult to
manage blood sugar. Figure out an eating schedule that works for you,
and then stick with it.
- Eat a variety of foods at one meal or snack. Don't overload with
carbohydrates in one meal, and then only have a piece of protein in
another. Try to balance it out with approximately the same amount
of carbohydrates in each meal. This will help to avoid excessive dips and
spikes in blood glucose, and keep them more stable.
- Try to eat the same combinations of foods at the same times every
day. Don't decide you were "good" one day, so you'll be
"bad" the next. Doing so can result in blood sugar spikes,
something that should be avoided.
- Also remember that calories still count: just because you are choosing
healthy foods does not give you free rein to eat as much as you like. Being
overweight or obese is a strong risk factor for diabetes, and
(if you are overweight) can help to improve your body's insulin sensitivity.
Even a small weight loss of 10 or 15 pounds can make a significant difference.
- Don't go on any "fad diets" or take any diet pills. They can
cause serious long-term effects to your body. Aim instead for a long-term,
sustainable way of eating that you can live with, and even enjoy.
- Monitor your blood sugar.
If your eating schedule or patterns change, you may need to consult with your doctor
to come up with a way to keep your blood sugar as stable as possible.
- Factor in other parts of your diabetes treatment plan when coming up
with an eating plan. That is, make sure your eating plan accounts for
things like exercise, weight control, and any pills or insulin you may
- If you have other conditions such as high cholesterol or high blood
pressure, there may be foods that you should not eat. Ask your doctor
- Talk to a dietitian. He or she can help you create an eating plan that
includes some of your favorite foods, and show you how to eat in order to
stabilize your blood sugar. It is well worth the time to get diet advice
from a healthcare professional - plus it gives you an opportunity to ask
questions, address concerns, and re-balance your eating plan if needed.
Some insurance plans may help to cover part or all of the cost of
consultations with a dietician.
- A book of diabetic recipes
can be helpful for easier meal planning. Many
tasty and nutritious snack and meal recipes
are available, along with many great diabetes-friendly dessert recipes!
So what can diabetics eat? Pretty much everything - in moderation! The
main difference is in how you plan your meals. Healthy eating for diabetics is
very similar to healthy eating for everyone.
The information on this website is based on our own research and personal experience,
and is not a substitute for medical advice. Questions about your health and individual
situation should be directed to your doctor.