Diabetes is a disease where the body has difficulty in controlling its glucose levels, which can lead to serious health problems. To manage diabetes, it’s important to control your diet and eat healthily. In this blog post you will learn about how to eat well with diabetes and manage it well. The American Diabetes Association offers several tips to those looking for a healthier lifestyle.

In this Diabetic & Me article you will learn about:

  • How to have a balanced diet?
  • Is it better to eat small or big portions?
  • How important is it to exercise?
  • What are some healthy snacks for diabetics?

1. Keep your diet balanced

To keep your diet balanced it's important to know what foods are high in carbohydrates and sugars so that you avoid them. There's no one food which is good for all diabetics because everyone’s diet needs will be different. It's important to tailor your diet according to what works best with your lifestyle. For example if you're an athlete it would make sense to eat more carbs than someone who sits at their desk job all day long. Eat a variety of foods in all food groups, with an emphasis on fresh vegetables and fruit.

Some great tips to keep your diet balanced:

  • Try to eat smaller meals and snacks throughout the day.
  • Eat low glycemic index foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans and legumes. These types of food will help keep your blood glucose levels under control.
  • Avoid high sugar or carbohydrate dense foods like donuts, cakes and pastries because they can lead to a spike in your blood sugars which is not good for you.
  • Limit fats from animal products such as meat, dairy, eggs and cheese (meaning choose lean cuts);

A dietician may also be able to provide advice on how best to maintain a healthy diabetic diet through one's lifestyle choices at home or work place by tailoring it according with individual needs.

2. Learn to eyeball portions

It's important to learn how to eyeball portions because it can be difficult to measure them precisely. It's better to eat smaller portions of food throughout the day then to eat larger portions at one time; so if you want a piece of cake for dessert, don't have it all in one sitting.

Do you know how to eyeball your portion size? It can be difficult sometimes because things like pasta and potatoes are hard to measure out exactly, but there is an easy way: Divide the item into four sections with your eyes or on a plate. You should take about two pieces of pasta per section (or more) as well as three small rolls instead of two large ones.

Fruits and vegetables are low glycemic index foods which mean they will help keep your blood glucose levels under control, while high sugar or carbohydrate dense foods like donuts, cakes and pastries may lead to a spike in your blood sugars which is not good for you.

3. Do 20 to 30 minutes of daily moderate exercise

As a diabetic it's not new when we say that it's important to add one half hour daily of moderate exercise to your daily routine. This will help you to control your weight, decrease stress and sleep better.

Exercise is important for everyone but especially so if you are diabetic! Aim to spend moderate exercise at least one hour a day (feel free to break it up into shorter sessions). This will not only keep the pounds off and give you more energy, but can also reduce the risk of diabetes-related complications like heart disease or stroke. Exercise should be aerobic in nature - that means activities such as walking, cycling or swimming which get your heart pumping. It's best to start with 20 to 30 minutes three times per week before gradually increasing time and intensity over time until eventually exercising for an hour each day. Be sure when working out that blood sugar levels are adequately covered by taking insulin and testing your sugar levels regularly during your workout. Here you can find the best 20 minute home workout for diabetics.

Type II diabetes usually starts as an inability to control glucose with exercise alone but progresses to require medication for treatment. Diabetics should also eat fewer calories than they expend each day, at least until their lifestyle changes have been well-tested over about six months time.

Eat healthy foods, exercising regularly and keep stress under control while following your doctor's instructions closely.

4. Drink more water

The benefits of drinking more water are endless. A few tips are to drink water before snacking, drink water when you feel hungry and eat more fruits and veggies. One reason drinking a lot of water is good for diabetics is that it helps keep glucose levels under control.

5. Eat less snacks or eat healthy snacks

One of the hardest parts, for me, is to cut back on snacks . I find myself snacking a lot because it is quick and easy to do when you are on the go. If you have diabetes, snacks should be healthy like fruits and vegetables with no added sugars or preservatives.

Some suggestions for snacks that are healthy for diabetics include: mixed nuts that contain fewer than six grams of sugar per serving; fruit; veggies such as carrots, cauliflower or broccoli dipped in hummus (vegan); apple slices with peanut butter; celery sticks filled with almond butter - these two things can also help lower blood pressure if consumed regularly. There are also a lot of healthy snack bars for diabetics that could be beneficial for your health and blood glucose levels. If you love chocolate there are also sugar-free dark chocolate bars for diabetics to snack on.

Eating less snacks will lead to weight loss which could decrease how often your doctor needs to adjust your medication dosage levels. Overal it's better for your health and weight to eat healthy snacks.


Keeping your diet balanced and taking care of yourself can be challenging, but it is worth the effort. Managing diabetes requires a lot of time in order to stay healthy and reduce risks for complications like kidney disease or cardiovascular issues. By following some simple tips you will not only feel better but also start living longer! 

About the Author

Ely Fornoville

Hi, I'm Ely Fornoville, and I am the founder of Diabetic Me. Being a type 1 diabetic since 1996, I developed a passion to help people learn more about diabetes. I write about diabetes and share stories from other diabetics around the world. I currently use a Medtronic Guardian 4 CGM and a MiniMed 780G insulin pump with Humalog insulin.

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