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Living with Diabetes: A Guide to Healthy Eating

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Living with Diabetes: A Guide to Healthy Eating

Learn how to create a sustainable eating pattern to ensure a balance of nutrients and support your health goals.


Healthy eating focuses on creating a sustainable eating pattern to ensure a balance of nutrients needed to support health. The goal is to include various fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dairy, lean protein, and healthy fats, as appropriate.  Healthy eating also focuses on reducing saturated trans fat, salt, and added sugar. When creating a healthy eating plan, it’s important to focus on the timing of meals and snacks, the portions of food, and food quality. Working with a Registered Dietitian-Nutritionist or Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist will provide tailored and individualized recommendations that align with your health goals and food preferences in mind. 


General Guidance to Balance Your Plate  

  1. Include ½ plate of non-starchy vegetables. Ex: leafy greens, cabbage, cucumber, tomatoes, peppers, onions, green beans, broccoli, and cauliflower. 

  2. Include ¼ plate of lean protein. Ex: chicken, turkey, eggs, fish, nuts, and soy. 

  3. Include ¼ plate of starch. Aim for whole grains or complex starches. Ex: 100% whole grains, beans, legumes, oatmeal, unsweetened cereal, and starchy vegetables (corn, green peas, potato, yam, plantain). 

  4. Eat healthy fats. Ex: avocado, nuts, nut butters, seeds, oils (olive, canola), olives.  

  5. Try to add in a small piece of fruit or ½ cup. Ex: apples, grapes, bananas, and oranges.


Top Tips:  

  1. Do not skip meals - eating regular meals and snacks throughout the day will help prevent significant variations in blood glucose levels. 

  2. Glucose is the number one source of energy for our brains and comes from the digestion of carbohydrates. In other words, our bodies need carbs! Combining fat and protein with carbohydrates slows down digestion and allows for a slower and more stable sugar release into the blood. 

  3. Monitor your blood sugar and notice how your body feels after eating, how certain foods and food combinations change your blood sugar levels. Over time this will help you figure out what works for you and your body.   

  4. Prioritize sleep. Lack of sleep or poor-quality sleep can lead to unstable blood sugar by disrupting hormones that control blood sugar.  

  5. Practice stress management. Stress may cause a rise in blood sugar.  

  6. Engaging in movement can help regulate blood sugar. This doesn't have to mean spending hours at the gym. Choose an activity you enjoy!  


Need help with figuring out the right balance of food for you? Schedule an appointment with one of ACPNY's Registered Dietitian-Nutritionists or Certified Diabetes Care Education Specialist to learn how to optimize your nutrition and blood glucose control.