Diabetes & Healthy Eating

Eating healthy is the key to managing your diabetes. The Diabetes Food Guide can help you figure out how many servings of grains, vegetables, fruits, dairy, protein, and fats you should eat each day. Make sure you limit alcohol. The number of servings you need depends on how many calories are right for you. This is based on your age, sex, size, and activity level.

Grains, beans, and starchy vegetables

Daily servings: About six a day

  • Choose whole grains, such as whole wheat or rye bread, brown or bulgur rice, that are high in fiber. 
  • Choose beans as a good source of fiber.
  • Eat low-fat breads, such as bagels, English muffins, pita bread, and corn tortillas.
  • For snacks, try pretzels or low-fat crackers.


Daily servings: Three to five

  • Include vegetables are low in fat and provide vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
  • Choose fresh or frozen vegetables without added sauce, fat, or salt.
  • Choose more dark green and deep yellow vegetables, like spinach, broccoli, romaine, carrots, chilies, and peppers.


Daily servings: Two to four

  • Include fruits and fruit juices are low in fat and provide vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
  • Choose whole fruits more often than juices for the fiber.
  • Choose citrus fruits, like oranges, grapefruits, or tangerines.
  • Choose juices without added sweeteners.


Daily servings: Two to three

  • Choose low-fat or nonfat milk, or yogurt.
  • Yogurt has natural sugar. It may also have added sugar or sugar substitutes. Choose the yogurt with sugar substitutes. It has fewer calories.
  • Choose low-fat or nonfat milk, and yogurt. These are good sources of calcium.

Meat and other protein

Daily servings: Two to three

  • Include poultry, fish, dry beans, meat, eggs, cheese, and nuts are sources of protein.
  • Choose fish and skinless poultry more often.
  • Broil, bake, or roast, instead of frying. 
  • Select lean meats and trim off fat.

Fats, sweets, and alcohol

Eat sparingly

  • Includes fats and oils, sweets, and alcohol. Fats and oils include salad dressings, cream, butter, or margarine. Sweets include sugars, soft drinks, candies, and sweet desserts. Alcohol includes wine, beer, and liquor.
  • Choose sweets less often because they are high in fat and sugar.
  • If you choose alcohol, drink it with a meal. Also, ask your doctor about a safe amount for you.
  • Eat less saturated (solid) fats, such as butter and cheese.