Eating Well for Diabetes (and Overall Good Health!)

According to Diabetes Canada, 11.5 million Canadians are affected by diabetes, so there’s a good chance you know someone who’s living with diabetes or caring for someone with diabetes.

Food is an important part of keeping blood glucose (sugar) levels stable, so it’s essential for people with diabetes to pay close attention to what and when they eat. That means eating healthy foods in moderate amounts and sticking to regular meal and snack times.

What foods can someone with diabetes eat?

Diabetes-friendly foods are foods that I recommend for most everyone. In fact, a healthy eating pattern for diabetes is something we can all benefit from; it minimizes ultra-processed, sugary, nutrient-poor choices and includes nutrient-rich foods like:

  • lots of vegetables (we can all use more veggies!) and some fruit
  • quality carbs like fibre-rich legumes and whole grains (the amount matters – ask a dietitian)
  • lean protein (e.g., fish, turkey), nuts and seeds
  • healthy sources of fat like Canadian-grown canola oil

What to cook?

A diabetes-friendly diet doesn’t have to be complicated, and you don’t need to cook multiple dinners every night if someone in your family has diabetes.

The best news of all is that eating diabetes-friendly meals can be delicious – for everyone! Case in point: this Butternut Squash Chili is super-yummy, budget-friendly, easy to make and filled with nourishing ingredients.

A meal plan that includes easy, healthy recipes can be very helpful, not to mention a great time-saver. Planning meals in advance can also help reduce food costs.

I love how Canola Eat Well teamed up with Diabetes Canada to share a variety of meal plans. Take a look at these three plans for inspiration. They’re great examples of how diabetes-friendly meals are healthy and enjoyable for everyone.

7-Day Mediterranean healthy meal plan

7-Day Chinese healthy meal plan

7-Day South Asian healthy meal plan

One final note: If you have diabetes, it’s important to get personalized advice and a plan from your diabetes care team and dietitian, especially if you’re newly diagnosed. That way you can enjoy the foods that are optimal for YOUR best health.

Eat Well… Shannon

Shannon Crocker, Registered DietitianShannon Crocker, MSc RD PHEc is a food-loving registered dietitian and professional home economist with over 20 years of experience in nutrition communications. A skilled nutrition writer, recipe creator, enthusiastic spokesperson and engaging presenter and facilitator, Shannon promotes nourishing foods for energy and best health. You can connect with Shannon on Instagram @shannoncrocker.rd or at her website www.shannoncrocker.ca

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