Published by American Diabetes Association

Knowing what to eat can be confusing—especially when life gets hectic and you’re trying to eat healthy on the go or make healthy choices when ordering fast food.

Regardless of what cuisine you prefer, here’s what all healthy eating plans have in common.

They include:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Lean meats and plant-based sources of protein
  • Less added sugar
  • Less processed foods


Eating healthy is important, it can be hard to know what and how much to eat — especially when you’re managing diabetes.

If you’re looking for an easy place to start, then try following the Diabetes Plate Method. This simple guide offers a stress-free way to plan your portions without any counting, calculating, or measuring.

First, grab a 9-inch plate. You want to fill half your plate with non-starchy vegetables, one quarter of the plate of protein foods, and the last quarter of the plate with carbohydrate foods. Top it off with a glass of water or another zero calorie drink and you’ve got yourself a well-balanced plate! This helps take the guess work out of meal planning so you can spend more time doing the things you love.

Check out the types of foods listed below so you can be on your way to eating good to feel great.

Non-starchy vegetables

Using the Diabetes Plate Method as your guide, fill half your plate with non-starchy vegetables for a healthy meal. These vegetables keep you feeling full for longer and provide you with the great-tasting nutrients your body needs without as many calories and carbs. Non-starchy vegetables include broccoli, carrots, cauliflower and more! Learn more about non- starchy vegetables.


Protein is an important part of a diabetes meal plan. Are you plant-based? That’s okay! There are plenty of protein-rich plant-based options, such as beans, hummus, lentils and others. Learn about your best choices.


Wondering if you can eat fruit? Yes! While fruit does count as a carbohydrate food, they are loaded with vitamins, minerals and fiber just like vegetables. Fruit can also help you satisfy your sweet tooth without the added sugar. Find out about the best choices.


Fats are not the enemy. Focus on adding healthy fats (like monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats) to lower your cholesterol and protect your heart. Healthy fats can be found in foods like olive oil, nuts, avocados, some types of fish and a host of other tasty options. Make healthy choices to decrease your risk of heart disease. Get the facts on fats.

Diabetes superfoods

You may have heard of diabetes superfoods. Get the facts, and then supercharge your meal plan with these ten foods full of vitamins, minerals and fiber. Learn more about diabetes superfoods.