Skip to main content

Diabetes Diet and Nutrition

It is important for people with diabetes to prepare balanced meals and make healthy food choices. Learn more below about how to manage diabetes through nutrition and meal planning.

What is a healthy diet for diabetes?

Patients with diabetes should focus on an overall healthy and balanced diet to manage their diabetes. Having a variety of nutritious foods and being careful with portion size are essential to a diabetes-friendly diet. Avoid heavily processed foods and select foods rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber instead.

How do carbohydrates affect diabetes?

Carbohydrates have the greatest effect on blood glucose levels in the body. Decreasing foods that are high in carbohydrates can help you manage blood glucose levels. Foods that are high in carbohydrates include:

  • Grains, such as rice, oatmeal and barley
  • Grain-based foods, such as pasta, cereal, bread and crackers
  • Starchy vegetables, such as potatoes and corn
  • Milk and yogurt
  • Sweets, such as candy, soda, cakes, cookies and chips

How do I make a diabetes meal plan?

A good diabetes meal plan balances the carbohydrates you eat with your body's energy requirements insulin levels. One plan does not fit all when it comes to diabetes meal planning. Talk to you doctor about a meal plan that meets your personal needs, schedule, and food preferences. Some types of diabetes meal-planning methods include:

  • Carbohydrate-counting
  • Exchange system
  • Glycemic index
  • Plate method

A healthy diet can benefit everyone in the family so it is not necessary to prepare separate meals. Nutrition guidelines for people with diabetes are flexible and offer a variety of options. A healthy eating plan that allows occasional sweets will provide adequate nutrition but will also not leave you feeling deprived of favorite treats.

Feeling frustrated about your diet?

Learn how to cope with negative feelings about your diet with diabetes.

At risk but not yet diagnosed?

The MaineHealth Diabetes Prevention Program offers free classes to help people lower their chance of developing type 2 diabetes and other serious health problems, like heart disease or stroke.

Latest News

View All
Franklin Memorial Hospital Honored by The Chartis Center for Rural Health as a 2021 Top 100 Rural & Community Hospital
Franklin Memorial Hospital in Farmington, Maine announced it has been recognized as a 2021 Top 100 Rural & Community Hospital.
MEDIA ADVISORY: Governor Janet Mills, Maine CDC Director Nirav Shah, M.D., to visit MaineHealth’s high-volume vaccination clinic at Scarborough Downs
Governor Janet Mills and Maine CDC Director Nirav Shah, M.D., will be touring MaineHealth’s high-volume vaccination clinic at Scarborough Downs to see first-hand how the clinic is safely and efficiently vaccinating thousands of Maine residents each week.
Sanford High-volume COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic Opens to Patients
The 29,000 square foot clinic will have the capacity to vaccinate up to 1,000 people a day, thanks to partnership between MaineHealth, York County Emergency Management Agency and Maine CDC.
MaineHealth to update registration system in support of 60-plus vaccine eligibility in Maine
The state’s largest integrated health system voiced its support for opening up vaccine eligibility to those 60 and over and will begin setting vaccination appointments for those who are newly eligible.