"How to diet and exercise if you have diabetes".

  • What foods can I eat if I have diabetes?
  • What foods and drinks should I limit if I have diabetes?
  • When should I eat if I have diabetes?
  • How much can I eat if I have diabetes?
  • What is medical nutrition therapy?
  • Will supplements and vitamins help my diabetes?
  • Why should I be physically active if I have diabetes?
  • How can I be physically active safely if I have diabetes?
  • What physical activities should I do if I have diabetes?
What can I eat with 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

  • vegetables
    • 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
  • protein
    • lean meat
    • chicken or turkey without the skin
    • fish
    • eggs
    • nuts and peanuts
    • dried beans and certain peas, such as chickpeas and split peas
    • meat substitutes, such as tofu
  • dairy—nonfat or low fat

Learn more about the food groups at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) ChooseMyPlate.gov External link.

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
  • avocado

Use oils when cooking food instead of butter, cream, shortening, lard, or stick margarine.

Which foods and drinks should I avoid if I have diabetes?

The message tells you which foods and drinks to avoid. You should limit fried foods, foods high in saturated fat and trans fat, foods high in salt and sweets like candy and ice cream. You should also avoid beverages with added sugars like regular soda or energy drinks. Instead, drink water or use sugar substitutes in your coffee or tea. If you drink alcohol, limit it to one drink a day if you’re a woman or two drinks a day if you’re a man. This is important because alcohol can affect your blood glucose level, especially if you haven’t eaten. It’s best to eat some food when you drink alcohol, especially if you use insulin or diabetes medicines that increase insulin production.

Scroll to Top