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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

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