Diabetes and Choosing the Right Foods


Because you have diabetes, it's important that you choose the right foods. Making a poor food choice or missing a single meal can raise or lower your blood glucose (also called blood sugar) to an unsafe level. Choosing the right foods can help you control your blood glucose level and your body weight.

Keep an Eye on Carbs

You will need to be aware of the carbohydrates, commonly called "carbs," that you eat throughout the day. When you eat, carbs are converted into blood glucose. Eating too many carbs can quickly raise your blood glucose level. Some foods that are high in carbohydrates include pasta, bread, rice, potatoes, cereal and milk. Carbs are also found in sugary foods such as fruit, soda, juice and candy. Carbs should be spread throughout the day. They should make up less than half of the calories you eat.

Limit Fat and Salt

Diabetes puts you at a greater risk for heart disease, so you should also limit the amount of fat and salt you eat. This can help lower your blood pressure. It will reduce your risk for heart attack and stroke.

Choose Whole Grains

Choose whole grains, not foods that contain refined grains and flours. The refining process removes everything but the starchy part of the grain. Refined grains raise your blood glucose more than whole grains do.

Eat Vegetables

Eat plenty of non-starchy vegetables. These include foods such as broccoli, green beans, carrots, peppers and tomatoes. You can also eat starchy vegetables, but be aware that these will have a greater effect on your blood glucose level. Examples of starchy vegetables include potatoes, squash and corn.

Eat Lean Proteins

Eat lean proteins. Fish, poultry and eggs are good options. Choose lean cuts of beef and pork. Eat beans and soy-based foods.

Fruit is Good For You

Fruit is good for you, and it can help satisfy a craving for sweets. But fruit does contain carbs. Choose fresh fruit if possible, or dried, canned or frozen fruit that does not contain added sugar.

Choose Low-Fat Dairy

Choose low-fat milk and dairy products. Make sure to be aware how the carbs in dairy products affect your meal plan.

Limit Sweets and Alcohol

You can eat sweets on special occasions, but you shouldn't eat much. If you are getting a dessert at a restaurant, share it with others. And limit the amount of alcohol you drink. By making good food choices, you can stay healthy and avoid complications from diabetes.