Healthy Eating

Healthy eating is important for everyone. But it’s even more important if you have diabetes. That’s because making the right food choices can go a long way toward helping you manage your blood sugar.



Food is made up of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Carbohydrates (carbs) have the most effect on your blood sugar. That’s why, with a type 1 or type 2 diabetes diet, it’s important to keep track of how many carbs you’re eating.  

Some examples of carbohydrate foods are:

  • Starches, including starchy vegetables like peas or corn, breads, cereals, pasta, and rice
  • Fruits and fruit juices
  • Milk and milk products


One serving of a carbohydrate food contains 15 grams of carbohydrate. This is sometimes called 1 “carb choice.”


Some examples of 1 carbohydrate choice are:

  • 1 slice of bread
  • 1 small apple
  • 8 ounces of skim milk
  • ¼ of a large baked potato (3 oz)


Your meal plan should include the following:

  • Eat different healthy foods at every meal so that you get needed nutrients (the healthy things in food)
  • Keep track of the carbohydrates you eat. People with type 1 diabetes often count carbohydrates as a way to help them manage their blood sugar. But it is a good habit for people with type 2 diabetes as well
  • Match how much you eat with your activity level 
  • Limit the amount of saturated fats you eat (Examples of saturated fat include butter and lard.)


Healthy meal planning may help you reach some important goals such as: 

  • Keeping your blood sugar within your target range 
  • Managing your weight 
  • Controlling your blood cholesterol and triglycerides (a type of fat in your blood)  
  • Controlling your blood pressure 


Control portion sizes with the Plate Method 

The Plate Method is a meal-planning tool that helps in a type 1 or type 2 diabetes diet. It helps you to include all the important food groups in each of your meals and manage your portion sizes.  

Draw imaginary lines on your plate (just like the image below). Put servings in each section as shown. You’ll get just the right portions of the foods you need. 

One example is the "My Plate" design from the US Department of Agriculture, which replaces the old food pyramid. You may find it useful in understanding portion control.

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