Diet and Nutrition

Guidelines and Tips for Diabetes Management

January 11, 2017   /
Lauren Chalal, MS, RD
Nutrition411 Staff

Your goal
Your goal is to keep your blood sugar levels as close to normal as possible. In other words, you do not want your blood sugar to go too high or too low.   

Your blood sugar
Check your blood sugar as advised. Here are the desirable blood sugar ranges:

  • Before meals: 90–130
  • 1–2 hours after meals: Less than 180
  • At bedtime: 110–150

Your diet
Follow these diet suggestions:

  • Choose healthy foods, such as:
    • Fruits
    • Vegetables
    • Fish
    • Lean meats
    • Chicken or turkey without the skin
    • Dry peas or beans
    • Whole grains
    • Low-fat or skim milk and cheese
  • Have meals and snacks at regular times every day                                                  
  • Eat similar amounts of foods each day                                                                 
  • Count your carbohydrates—spread them out over the course of the day and eat them as part of a balanced meal                                                                                                             
  • Do not skip meals—even distribution of carbohydrate over the day will make best use of the available insulin and prevent wide variations in blood glucose levels                                                           
  • Watch your portion sizes                                                                            
  • Read food labels                                                      
  • Follow a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet
  • Bake, broil, or grill your meat and fish
  • Select and prepare foods with little salt
  • Buy fewer processed foods
  • Limit your intake of simple sugars

Foods to Avoid 

                Better Choices 

Sugar, honey, molasses, syrup, jam, and jelly

Equal®, Splenda®, Sweet’N Low®, and sugar-free jams and jelly

Gum, candy, cookies, cakes, and doughnuts

Sugar-free cookies, ices, and gelatin

Condensed milk, milk shakes, and ice cream

Low-fat or skim milk and frozen yogurt

Regular soda, lemonade, and iced tea

Diet soda, diet iced tea, and hot tea (plain or with sugar-free sweetener)

Fruit juice, fruit punch, alcohol, beer, and wine

Coffee, water, and seltzer

Your medication
Always take your medication (insulin or pill), even when you are sick.

Your daily routine
Incorporate exercise into your daily routine. Always speak with your doctor before beginning an exercise program. If you are overweight, losing weight can help with blood sugar control.


References and recommended readings

American Diabetes Association®. Standards of medical care in diabetes—2012. Diabetes Care [serial online]. 2012;35(suppl 1):S11-S63. Accessed June 20, 2012.

Mahan LK, Escott-Stump S, Raymond JL. Krause’s Food and the Nutrition Care Process. 13th ed. St Louis, MO: Elsevier Saunders; 2012.