Diabetes and Nutrition
Diabetes Diet, Eating, & Physical Activity
Nutrition and physical activity are important parts of a healthy lifestyle when you have diabetes. Along with other benefits, following a healthy meal plan and being active can help you keep your blood glucose level, also called blood sugar, in your target range.
To manage your blood glucose, you need to balance what you eat and drink with physical activity and diabetes medicine, if you take any. What you choose to eat, how much you eat, and when you eat are all important in keeping your blood glucose level in the range that your health care team recommends.
Eating well and being physically active most days of the week can help you:
- keep your blood glucose level, blood pressure, and cholesterol in your target ranges
- lose weight or stay at a healthy weight
- prevent or delay diabetes problems
- feel good and have more energy
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:
- non starchy: 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
- lean meat
- chicken or turkey without the skin
- nuts and peanuts
- dried beans and certain peas, such as chickpeas and split peas
- meat substitutes, such as tofu
- dairy—nonfat or low fat
- milk or lactose-free milk if you have lactose intolerance
Eating the right amount of food will also help you manage your blood glucose level and your weight. Your health care team can help you figure out how much food and how many calories you should eat each day.
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