The Best Food Choices

Today we know more about nutrition than ever before. There is a great deal of information out there and it can be hard to sort through sometimes. So how do we navigate it all? For starters, it will help to know the general principles of healthful eating listed below.

Eat more vegetables, especially non-starchy vegetables.

  • Choose fresh, frozen, and canned without added salt or fat.
  • Include a variety of types and colors.

Choose whole grain foods over foods made with refined grains and flours.

  • Try to make at least half the grains you eat whole grains.
  • When buying pasta, breads, tortillas, crackers, and cereal, choose those with a whole grain listed as the first ingredient.
  • Switch from sugary cereals to unsweetened whole grain cereal or oatmeal.

Choose lean protein foods.

  • Try to include fish twice per week.
  • Choose vegetarian sources of protein often such as beans and soy-based products.
  • Eggs and egg substitute are also great sources of protein.
  • Remove the skin from chicken and turkey.
  • Choose lean cuts of beef and pork, such as those that end in “loin” (pork loin and sirloin).

Fruit is also a great option and can curb your sweet tooth.

  • Choose fresh, frozen, or canned fruit without added sugars.

Choose low-fat milk and dairy.

  • 1% or skim milk, or unflavored soy milk are best.
  • Non-fat or low-fat yogurt (plain or sweetened with artificial sweetener).
  • Opt for reduced-fat cheeses or cottage cheese.

Choose healthy fats in moderation and limit unhealthy fats.

  • Healthy fats include vegetable oils, mayonnaise, trans-free margarine, margarine with plant sterols and stanols, avocado, olives, nuts, and seeds.

Some additional guidelines:   

  • Cut back on high calorie snack foods and desserts.
  • Reduce intake of chips, cookies, cakes, full-fat ice cream, etc.
  • Watch your portion sizes.
  • Eating too much of even healthful foods can lead to weight gain.
  • If you choose to drink alcohol, do so in moderation. (Two or less drinks per day for men and one or less drinks per day for women.)


More information on these food groups can be found in our What Can I Eat? section.

Think about the foods you usually eat and compare them to the choices listed on each page. Are you making the best choices most of the time or is there room for improvement?

Check out our suggested Sample Shopping List to get started with making healthier choices next time you are at the grocery store.

  • Last Reviewed: December 17, 2013
  • Last Edited: March 25, 2014

Articles from Diabetes Forecast® magazine:

Diabetes Forecast