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Nutrition Overview

Nutrition

Eating doesnt have to be boring.

It’s all about finding the right balance that works for you.

When you’re managing diabetes and prediabetes, your eating plan is a powerful tool. But figuring out what to eat can feel like a hassle, right? Well, it doesn't have to because there are easy things you can do to add flavor to your daily routine—including healthy twists on your favorite foods.

One key to feeling your best lies in the food you eat. You can start by working with a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN/RD) to make an eating plan that works for you. In it, be sure to include the foods you like—and don’t be afraid to try something new.

Most importantly, remember that eating well—and adding activity to your daily routine by moving more—are important ways you can manage diabetes. And we’re here to help you every step of the way.

The Clean & Simple Diabetes Cookbook

Let us walk you through the basics of eating whole, healthy, delicious foods that are diabetes-friendly with this cookbook for every day.
Cover of The Clean and Simple Diabetes Cookbook

Let's get started.

What does the science say?Example of Diabetes Plate Method for a vegetarian

"What can I eat?" is one of the top questions asked by people with diabetes when they are diagnosed—and our goal is to help answer that question. A panel of scientists, doctors, endocrinologists, diabetes educators and dietitians reviewed over 600 research articles over the course of five years to see what diets—or eating patterns—work well for people with diabetes. The results were published in our Nutrition Consensus Report.

The main finding? Everyone's body responds differently to different types of foods and diets, so there is no single "magic" diet for diabetes. But you can follow a few simple guidelines to find out what works for you to help manage your blood sugar.

Get the key takeaways

Introducing the Diabetes Plate Method

The Diabetes Plate Method is an easy way to plan healthy meals with just a plate. Start by filling half your plate with nonstarchy vegetables. Fill one quarter of your plate with lean protein foods. Then, fill the final quarter of your plate with carbohydrate foods.

No matter which eating pattern works best for you, it can still be hard to know where to start when it comes to building healthy meals that help you manage your blood sugar—while still being tasty.

That’s where the Diabetes Plate Method comes in. Using this method, you can create perfectly portioned meals with a healthy balance of vegetables, protein and carbohydrates—without any counting, calculating, weighing or measuring. All you need is a plate!

Learn more

And once you’ve got the Plate Method down, check out these tasty plates for some meal planning inspiration! Find articles like this and more from the nutrition experts at the American Diabetes Association’s Diabetes Food Hub®—the premier food and cooking destination for people living with diabetes and their families.

    Antoinette was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes—but she hasn’t let it hold her back.

    “During discharge I was given a sheet of paper of things to eat and things to avoid. This was supposed to be my guide for my new life. Although I was overwhelmed, I was determined that I would not let diabetes control my life.”

    Now, Antoinette manages her diabetes through a exercise, stress management, medication and a balanced meal plan—and she strives to remove the stigma associated with diabetes and build a community of people actively seeking to improve their health despite their diagnosis.
    Antoinette jogging

    What you need to know about nutrients

    Now that you’ve got the basics, let’s dive into nutrients.

    First things first: do you use food labels for products that you buy in the store? The food labels on packaging can be a great place to find information about the nutrients in the food you’re purchasing.

    Get smart on food labels

    Carbs, carbs, carbs—what about them?

    When it comes to managing diabetes, the carbohydrates, or carbs, you eat play an important role. They impact your blood sugar, so remember that balance is key!

    There are three main types of carbohydrates in food—starches, sugar and fiber. As you’ll see on the nutrition labels for the food you buy, the term “total carbohydrate” refers to all three of these types.

    When it comes to choosing foods with carbs, the goal is to choose carbs that are nutrient-dense, which means they are rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals, and low in added sugars, sodium and unhealthy fats. 

      Learn more about carbs

      Join our Online Community.

      Share your nutrition challenges. Not only will this help you clear your head, but by hearing from others, you can sharpen your resolve to stay on target.

      Find mental health resources.

      Don’t let how you manage your diabetes isolate you. Diabetes takes a toll on more than your body. It’s normal to feel emotional strain, and it’s important to ask for help.