What’s the Best Diet for Diabetes?

I can’t even begin to tell you how many clients I’ve seen over the years, who have just been diagnosed with diabetes. It’s becoming quite an epidemic in this country, fueled by our desire to constantly eat, sit, and eat some more. Because we overindulge far in foods that really should be eaten “every once in a while”, and because most of us sit all day for work, or just because, an estimated 29 million Americans, or over nine percent of us have diabetes. Crazy. Yes?

It’s once they’re diagnosed, that most people start to think about their diet. That’s the first time they ever visit a registered dietitian to learn about how, what and why to eat, and so the question RDs are usually asked is What Can I Eat with Diabetes?”

Well, the funny thing is, the “diet” you should follow to control diabetes, is the same on you could have followed to prevent it – a healthy diet. That’s right, there really isn’t a right or wrong, specific diet to control diabetes. All foods are allowed, in moderation, and the emphasis should be on whole grain carbs, lots of fruits and vegetables, and lean protein, with a few treats sprinkled in here and there for fun and interest.

If you’ve recently been diagnosed with diabetes, or are in that prediabetes stage, work hard on eating 3 small meals, with 1 or 2 snacks in between if you’re hungry. Take a plate when you eat (a smaller one is best) – never eat from the fridge or cabinet, or in the car. Fill half of your plate with any combination of fruits and vegetables. Put something that’s high in protein in one quarter of your plate – cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, tofu, chicken , tuna or salmon, even a small piece of lean beef. If there’s a little bit of space left, have a spoonful of quinoa, or farro, or brown rice.


Eat it slowly, and savor every bite. Brush your teeth.  Try to leave the kitchen and go for a walk after dinner. If you’re still hungry when you get back, by all means, have a cookie or two, or a small scoop of ice cream. Oh, and it would be really great if all of your treats were homemade, because they’ll be better for you, and you’ll have to make them all over again when they’re gone, and you probably won’t eat them nearly as often as when you just run out and stock up on snacks at the grocery store.


What's the Best Diet for Diabetes|Craving Something Healthy



That’s it. Just eat a healthy diet.

If you really want to “follow a diet”, try the DASH diet – it’s one of the best healthy diets out there. The American Diabetes Association also has some great meal planning tools on their website.


But really. If you have or are trying to prevent diabetes, just eat a healthy diet.


Do you have any tips for eating with diabetes?

Eat well!


  1. Great Advice! My Mother, Grandmother have diabetes. My uncle died at 35 with complications from diabetes. I had gestational diabetes so I know i have the gene and my numbers were creeping up! I finally took it serious, adapted a clean diet, lost almost 30 pounds and feel so much better! I have not had my numbers checked (physical in February) but am excited to see where they land!
    Insightful and great article!
    Thanks for sharing,

    1. Thanks so much for your comments Kathi - it's so important to get checked and take serious steps if you're more at risk. Congrats to you for all of your hard work (although I don't know how you do it with all of those delicious recipes on your blog!!)

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