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Healthy Eating With Diabetes

Eating healthy can be hard when you have diabetes. This American Diabetes Month, use this sample grocery shopping list from the American Diabetes Association® to make it easier!

January 30, 2018 | HF Healthy Living Team

Eating a healthy diet is key to managing diabetes. When paired with regular exercise, healthy eating can improve blood glucose and blood pressure, lower cholesterol and weight, and prevent heart disease, stroke, and some types of cancer.

So, what foods can you eat as a part of a healthy diet? Here are a few!

Non-starchy vegetables like leafy greens, beets, broccoli, okra, onions, and tomato are filled with vitamins and fiber to keep you healthy and full. They are also low in carbohydrates, so they are good for keeping blood sugar healthy too. Always eat fresh vegetables when you can. If eating frozen or canned vegetables, look for kinds without added fat, sugar, or sodium. Rinse canned vegetables before eating them—it helps reduce sodium.

Whole grains are grains that contain the naturally occurring nutrients that make grains healthy. Types of whole grains include oatmeal, barley, and brown rice. White rice and white bread are made from grain, but not whole grain. The most nutritious parts of the grain have been removed, leaving mostly carbohydrates.

Fruit is a big part of a healthy diet. Berries, apples, avocados, and other common fruits are great sources of fiber and antioxidants. Fruits contain carbohydrates, so talk to your doctor about how much fruit you should be eating. Eat fresh fruit instead of dried or canned.

Non-fat dairy products are filled with calcium and vitamin D, which help build healthy bones and teeth. Look for non-fat milk and plain yogurt.

Beans—like black beans, navy beans, and pinto beans—are sources of fiber and protein. Always rinse canned beans to remove extra sodium before eating them.

Lean meats and fish are packed with protein. Some fish, like salmon, also contain healthy Omega-3 fatty acids that can improve your cholesterol. Avoid fried or breaded meat, which can contain unhealthy trans fats and carbohydrates.

American Diabetes Association® Sample Shopping List

Planning meals and meal times in advance can also help you manage diabetes. Check out this sample grocery shopping list from the American Diabetes Association®!

American Diabetes Association Shopping List

You don’t have to pick up all of these items every time you go to the grocery store—get the ones you like and that you know you’ll eat. Variety is also key to a healthy diet, so try new things!


Here are more tips for healthy eating with diabetes:

  • Don’t eat the same things every day. Eat a range of vegetables, fruits, meats, and grains so that you get a variety of vitamins and minerals from your food.
  • Watch portion sizes. It’s easy to overeat when you’re not paying attention to how much is on your plate. Read nutrition labels to find out how much food is in a portion, and when eating out try to match the amount of food you eat to the amount you’d eat at home. Save the rest for later, or share it!
  • Avoid processed foods like white bread, crackers, cookies, and chips. Instead, eat whole foods like vegetables, nuts, and fruit, which can make for healthy, prep-free snacks! Find out more about how to keep a healthy, stocked kitchen here.
  • Talk to your doctor about a meal plan that works for you and what you should eat, when, and how much. Always follow your doctor’s guidelines, and talk to your doctor before starting a new diet, meal plan, or exercise program.

Learn more about diabetes here, and check out this fast, easy way to plan healthy meals!



© 2018 HF Management Services, LLC.

Healthfirst is the brand name used for products and services provided by one or more of the Healthfirst group of affiliated companies.

This health information or program is for educational purposes only and not intended to treat, diagnose, or act as a substitute for medical advice from your provider. Consult your healthcare provider and always follow your healthcare provider’s instructions.

“Diabetes Meal Plans and a Healthy Diet,” American Diabetes Association®. July 1, 2015.

“Diabetes Superfoods,” American Diabetes Association®. February 2, 2015.

“Non-starchy Vegetables,” American Diabetes Association®. May 14, 2014.

“Fruits,” American Diabetes Association®. August 13, 2015.

“Shopping List,” American Diabetes Association®. Accessed September 29, 2016.

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