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In one European study, eating lots of fruit, vegetables, whole-grain bread, and low-fat dairy and limiting alcohol reduced the risk of diabetes and major coronary events when compared to a diet that made ample use of white bread, processed meat, fries, and full-cream milk.

Know the nutritional values in the recipes you use: Try to find out the amount of carbohydrate -- and ideally fiber and fat -- per serving. Then stay close to the prescribed portions by serving up your plate in the kitchen, using small plates, and eating slowly and calmly. As you do, you'll become more aware of the textures and flavors and feel more satisfied.

Replace butter and shortening with canola or olive oil: Both canola oil and olive oil are healthy alternatives. Both are rich in monounsaturated fat, and canola oil also contains omega-3 fatty acids.

Make salads ahead of time: Store a large spinach salad or vegetable-filled romaine lettuce salad without dressing in an airtight container. You can have crisp, wonderful salad with your dinner or as a snack for the next several days.

Make an easy fruit salad: With a few chops of a knife, you can turn a few pieces of fruit into a beautiful fruit salad. Drizzle lemon or orange juice over the top. Then toss to coat the fruit. The vitamin C in the citrus juice helps prevent browning.

Choose beverages wisely: Instead of soda, sweetened drinks, or fruit juice with your dinner meal, drink protein-rich beverages such as skim or 1% milk. Or sip no-calorie tea, coffee, or water. Regular consumption of coffee and tea was associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes in a recent Singapore study.

Slow down: Fast eaters tend to eat more. It takes at least 20 minutes for your brain to get the message that your stomach is officially “comfortable” and that you should stop eating.

Cut out evening snacks: Avoid late-night snacking unless your blood sugar is too low or an evening snack is prescribed by your certified diabetes educator or dietitian. Drink a cup of tea instead.

2 Dinner Menus

Here are two dinner menus with recipes to help you prepare delicious diabetes-friendly meals.

Dinner Menu 1

  • Sloppy Joes on whole-wheat buns -- 1 serving (see recipe below)
  • Steamed broccoli florets -- 1 cup
  • Sliced pear -- 1 each
  • Cup of hot or iced tea, water, or skim or 1% milk

Total nutritional value (not including milk as beverage): 530 calories, 34 g protein, 78 g carbohydrate, 12 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 3.5 g monounsaturated fat, 3 g polyunsaturated fat, 72 mg cholesterol, 16 grams fiber, 635 mg sodium.

Calories from fat: 20%. Omega-3 fatty acids: 0.4 gram; omega-6 fatty acids: 2.5 grams.

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