HF 262

Basics of Healthy Eating for Diabetes or Prediabetes

  1. Eat three meals every day around the same times. If meals are more than 4-5 hours apart, include a small snack.

  2. Reduce sugar and sweets.

  3. Use water as your main drink. You can also use other sugar-free drinks.

    • Limit fruit juice to ½ cup (4 oz) per day and milk to 3 cups (24 oz) per day.

    • Read food label ingredients. Avoid foods that list sugar, sucrose, fructose, corn syrup, dextrose, honey, or molasses as one of the first 3 ingredients.

  4. Try to eat about the same amount at each meal. Create a healthy plate as shown below. Choose foods from all food groups in moderate portions at each meal. Fill ½the plate with vegetable and limit starchy foods and grains to ¼ of the plate.

  5. Include a good lean protein food at each meal and snack. Protein foods include: low-fat meat, chicken, fish, low-fat cheese, nuts, peanut butter, cottage cheese, and eggs.

  6. Eat smaller portions of carbohydrate foods. Carbohydrate is found in: starches, fruit, milk, yogurt, and sweets. These are foods that raise blood sugar and need to be eaten in smaller amounts.

  7. Choose high-fiber foods. Choose fruits, fresh and frozen vegetables, beans and legumes, and whole grains. “High-fiber” means a food with 3 or more grams of dietary fiber per serving.

  8. Eat less fat.

  • Use less cheese, butter, margarine, oil, mayo, cream, and salad dressings.

  • Use non-fat or low-fat (1%) milk and dairy products.

  • Buy lean meats and remove visible fats (take skin off chicken, trim meat fat).

  • Limit fatty meats to once a week or less (lunch meat, bacon, sausage, hot dogs).

  • Bake, broil, steam, boil, or grill foods (no frying) and use nonstick cooking spray for cooking.

Sample Menus

Menu 1


2 slices 100% whole grain bread

1-2 Tbsp. peanut butter

1 cup (8 oz.) low fat milk


¼ cup unsalted walnuts

5 dried apricot halves

16 oz. water


1 cup black bean soup

6 whole wheat crackers

1-2 cups salad with tomato, cucumber and carrots

1 Tbsp. low fat salad dressing

6 oz. plain or light yogurt with

1 cup fresh or frozen berries

16 oz. water


1 apple

1 piece part skim string cheese


1 small baked pork chop (3oz)

1 cup cooked whole wheat pasta, with

1 tsp. olive oil and crushed garlic

1 cup cooked broccoli

½ cup bagged coleslaw mix tossed with 1 Tbsp. low fat ranch dressing

1 cup (8 oz.) low fat milk


1 small orange

1/4 cup almonds or peanuts

16 oz. water or cup of hot tea

Menu 2


2 eggs scrambled with mushroom and onion

2 slices 100% whole grain bread

1 Tbsp. soft, tub margarine

1 cup (8 oz.) low fat milk


½ cup low fat cottage cheese

½ cup pineapple canned in juice


1 chicken breast (3oz) on

1 whole wheat sandwich bun with lettuce, tomato and

1 tablespoon mustard or light mayonnaise

1 cup raw veggies (carrots, celery, pea pods)

1 apple

5 oz. carton Greek style yogurt

16 oz. water


15 small grapes

¼ cup unsalted pistachios


2 small crispy taco shells

½ cup black beans or lean ground beef

Lettuce, tomato, and onion, as desired

¼ cup shredded cheese

¼ cup salsa or guacamole

2 cups green salad with cucumber, carrot, tomato, etc.

1 Tbsp. low fat salad dressing

1 cup (8 oz.) low fat milk

Who to Call

If you are a UW Health patient and have more questions, please contact UW Health at one of the phone numbers listed below. You can also visit our website at www.uwhealth.org/nutrition.

Nutrition clinics for UW Hospital and Clinics (UWHC) and American Family Children’s Hospital (AFCH) can be reached at: (608) 890-5500.