Make your next meal better for you

Balanced meals can help control diabetes symptoms

divided plate

A good diet isn’t just about healthy foods. It’s about healthy foods in the right portions. Finding the best combination of fruits, vegetables, grains, meat, and dairy can help keep your blood sugar steady and diabetes under control. It doesn’t have to be complicated.

Just remember to make vegetables the star. Non-starchy vegetables should take up half of your plate, says Lorena Drago, RD, MS, CDE, of the American Association of Diabetes Educators. Starchy vegetables like potatoes, corn, and green peas are less desirable because they’re higher in carbohydrates. It doesn’t mean you can’t ever eat them. Just keep track of them. The American Diabetes Association recommends 45-60 grams of carbohydrates per meal.

At home or out to eat, use the plate (below) as a guide for creating healthier meals.

Non-starchy vegetables
Go for a variety of colors to get a variety of nutrients. Spinach, carrots, lettuce, greens, cabbage, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, onion, cucumber, beets, mushrooms, peppers, turnips.

Whole grain bread, pasta, cereal, brown rice, oats, quinoa, tortillas. Includes starchy vegetables, like potatoes.

Lean meats like chicken or turkey, fish like salmon, seafood, or leanest cuts of beef and pork. For meatless protein, try beans, eggs, and low-fat cheese.


  • Low-fat dairy (1 serving)

  • Milk (8 ounces)

  • Yogurt (6 ounces)

Fruit (1 serving)

  • Apple

  • Berries (1⁄2 cup)