What kind of food can I eat if I have diabetes?

If you are facing with diabetes for the first time, for sure, you are constantly asking yourself, “What kind of food can I eat?” Firstly, it’s time to stop worrying! Secondly, living with diabetes doesn’t have to mean feeling deprived. However, you just have to learn to balance your meals and make the healthiest food choices too.

The food groups people with diabetes can eat.

Moreover, you may worry that having diabetes means going without the 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.

The food groups

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

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
Photo of salmon avocado grains and olive oil.

Furthermore, use oils when cooking food instead of butter, or stick margarine.


How much can I eat if I have diabetes?

Eating the right amount of food will not only help you manage your blood glucose level but also it will help you manage your weight. In fact, your doctor can help you figure out how much food and how many calories you should eat each day.

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