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Steps to Balance  
 

making healthier food choices

Why It’s
Important

Healthy eating is one of the most important things you can do to help better control your blood sugar levels, your blood pressure, and cholesterol. Here, you’ll learn how to shop smarter, read nutrition labels, prepare healthier meals, and so much more. Plus, you’ll find fresh insights, helpful tips, and engaging videos to help you get started. You should also work with your doctor and dietitian to create a meal plan that's right for you.

Getting Started

The food choices you make can help you control your blood sugar levels, blood pressure, cholesterol, and weight. But knowing what to eat can be confusing. Find out more here. Why not get started now?

Click on the food to see a healthier choice:

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See your smarter choice here.

 

Eating
Healthy and
Diabetes

For people living with type 2 diabetes, healthy eating is important to help control blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol, and weight. Learn more about healthy eating here.

  • Shopping
    Smarter

    Learn how to recognize healthy foods. So when you go grocery shopping, you can explore the wide range of diabetes-friendly foods available!

    diabetic shopping guide

    It takes a little know how to shop smarter. Here, we’ll review the basics of shopping smarter. Learn the meaning behind packaging claims and terms. And get to the bottom of all those facts and figures listed on food labels.

  • Food for
    Thought
    When
    Shopping

     

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    Shopping smarter can take a little up-front planning. So give some thought
    to the diabetes-friendly meals you want to prepare. Make a shopping list
    of all the ingredients you will need. Then, stick to the list.

    And don’t shop hungry—we all know how that can turn out!

  • Food for
    Thought
    When
    Shopping

     

    diet tips for diabetes
    fruits for diabetes
    bread - food to avoid for diabetics
    beans for diabetes

    Choose vegetables

    Fresh, frozen, or canned vegetables are all options. Look for low salt or no salt added!

    Eat fruit

    Enjoy the colors of the season. Or go for frozen or canned fruit. Just avoid added sugar.

    Pick whole grains

    Get cooking with brown rice, whole-wheat pasta, 100% whole-wheat flour, cornmeal, breads, oatmeal, popcorn, barley, wild rice, buckwheat, bulgur, or quinoa. Also, choose whole-grain cereal for breakfast.

    Use the old bean

    Add beans, such as kidney, pinto, and navy, or use lentils as a lean source of protein and fiber in your meals.

  • Food for
    Thought
    When
    Shopping

     

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    Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. globally owned (domestic, international) photography, and model rights, unlimited time, unlimited use. Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. owns copyright. Created in 2013 by Daggerwing Health under standard AOR contract with Merck.
    Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. globally owned (domestic, international) photography, and model rights, unlimited time, unlimited use. Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. owns copyright. Created in 2013 by Daggerwing Health under standard AOR contract with Merck.
    Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. globally owned (domestic, international) photography, and model rights, unlimited time, unlimited use. Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. owns copyright. Created in 2013 by Daggerwing Health under standard AOR contract with Merck.
    Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. globally owned (domestic, international) photography, and model rights, unlimited time, unlimited use. Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. owns copyright. Created in 2013 by Daggerwing Health under standard AOR contract with Merck.

    Choose lean meats

    Remove skin and fat from chicken and turkey.
    Select beef and pork with lower fat content.

    Add fish and shellfish

    Add to your diabetes-friendly meal plan
    2 to 3 times a week.

    Pick the right dairy

    Select 1% or skim milk, or unflavored soy milk, and
    reduced-fat cheeses and yogurts.

    Go for healthier fats

    Choose healthier fats like vegetable oil and olive oil.

    Be smart about sweets

    Save sweets for special occasions. Try fresh fruit instead.

  • Getting to the
    Facts Behind
    the Claims

     

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    Get the scoop.

    What does it really mean when you see the words “fat free” or “low calorie” on a product’s packaging? Not always what you think. To help you understand, this slide show spells out the facts behind common product claims.

  • Getting to the
    Facts Behind
    the Claims

     

    Calories

     

    Less than 5 calories per serving

     

    40 calories or less per serving

     

    At least 25% fewer calories per serving compared to an appropriate reference food

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  • Getting to the
    Facts Behind
    the Claims

     

    Total Fat

     

    Less than 0.5 g of total fat per serving

     

    3 g or less of total fat per serving and 30% or less of calories from total fat

     

    At least 25% less total fat per serving compared to an appropriate reference food

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  • Getting to the
    Facts Behind
    the Claims

     

    Saturated Fat

     

    Less than 0.5 g of saturated fat and
    0.5 g trans fat per serving

     

    1 g or less per serving and 15% or less of calories from saturated fat

     

    At least 25% less saturated fat per serving compared to an appropriate reference food

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  • Getting to the
    Facts Behind
    the Claims

     

    Cholesterol

     

    Less than 2 mg of cholesterol per serving

     

    20 mg or less of cholesterol per serving

     

    At least 25% less cholesterol per serving compared to an appropriate reference food

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  • Getting to the
    Facts Behind
    the Claims

     

    Sodium

     

    Less than 5 mg of sodium per serving

     

    140 mg or less of sodium per serving

     

    At least 25% less sodium per serving compared to an appropriate reference food

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  • Getting to the
    Facts Behind
    the Claims

     

    Sugar

     

    Less than 0.5 mg of sugars per serving

     

    At least 25% less sugars per serving compared to an appropriate reference food

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  • Make Sense of
    Nutrition Labels

     

    Nutrition labels are a great place to find the details you need to make healthier food choices. And once you know how to read them, you’ll be on your way to eating better.

    To get started, roll over the term you want to learn about.

  • Eating
    at Home

    Between home, work, and family, meal planning can sometimes fall to the bottom of our to-do list. So why not be prepared? A little up-front planning may make eating at home just a little easier.

    tips for healthy eating

    Having a kitchen stocked to support healthy eating is a great way to make sure you are ready to begin cooking healthier meals. Here are some easy tips and tricks to help you improve your meal preparation. And eating with the seasons makes shopping for fresh produce easy and flavorful.

  • A Healthier
    Kitchen

    Trying to stay on track with your eating? It may make sense to have the right foods and tools on hand. How can you get started? Check out these ideas.

    Make room for super foods

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    Dark leafy greens

    Low in calories and carbs so you can eat as much as you like.

    Sweet potatoes

    A starchy vegetable packed full of vitamin A and fiber.

    Tomatoes

    Pureed, raw, or in a sauce, they’re a great source of iron and vitamins C and E.

    Berries

    Packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and fiber, it’s the perfect snack.

    Fish

    A good choice is grilled fish that’s high in omega-3 fatty acids.

    Nuts

    These provide you with magnesium and fiber, and are good for staving off hunger.

  • A Healthier
    Kitchen

    Trying to stay on track with your eating? It may make sense to have the right foods and tools on hand. How can you get started? Check out these ideas.

    Equip yourself with the right tools

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    Nonstick pots and pans

    A great way to cook low-fat and fat-free recipes. Can be used with cooking sprays, too.

    Slow cooker

    An easy way to make healthy meals. Cooks stews, soups, and low-fat cuts of meat at a low, steady temperature so it’s ready when you get home.

    Hand blender

    A must-have for making low-fat smoothies, soups, and sauces. Purees food in the pan, so it saves time and dishes, too.

    Knives

    To make sure your fresh ingredients make the cut, be sure you have on hand a paring knife, serrated knife, and chef’s knife.

  • A Healthier
    Kitchen

    Trying to stay on track with your eating? It may make sense to have the right foods and tools on hand. How can you get started? Check out these ideas.

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    Some foods to stay away from:

    Processed or cured meats

    This includes hot dogs, bologna, salami, bacon, and sausage products with more than 8 grams of fat per ounce.

    Canned soups and broths

    Unless they are labeled as low sodium or low fat, it’s better to prepare these yourself and it’s easy with a slow cooker.

    Prepared mixes for
    pasta and rice

    These are usually high in sodium. Make your own sauces instead, using fresh, natural ingredients.

  • Improving
    Meal Prep

    Like to cook? We’ve got a few tasty tips for you. Love spaghetti and meatballs? How about making it with turkey instead? It’s just one of the many ways you can start cooking healthier today.

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    Lose the fat.

    Forget about frying. Instead, try
    broiling, microwaving, baking, roasting, steaming, or grilling.

    Trim the fat and remove the skin from your meat whenever possible.

    Use nonstick pans and
    cooking sprays.

  • Improving
    Meal Prep

    Like to cook? We’ve got a few tasty tips for you. Love spaghetti and meatballs? How about making it with turkey instead? It’s just one of the many ways you can start cooking healthier today.

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    Spice it up.

    Try not to butter things up. Squeeze a little
    lemon juice over your fish.

    Sprinkle your chicken with lemon pepper
    or mesquite seasoning.

    Liven up meat and vegetables with garlic.

  • Improving
    Meal Prep

    Like to cook? We’ve got a few tasty tips for you. Love spaghetti and meatballs? How about making it with turkey instead? It’s just one of the many ways you can start cooking healthier today.

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    Go low on dairy.

    Dairy can still be a part of your day. Just look for nonfat or low-fat items.

    If you can, stick with fat-free milk
    and yogurt.

    And if you love ice cream, make it
    low fat or choose frozen yogurt.

  • Improving
    Meal Prep

    Like to cook? We’ve got a few tasty tips for you. Love spaghetti and meatballs? How about making it with turkey instead? It’s just one of the many ways you can start cooking healthier today.

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    Make the switch.

    It’s easy to change recipes that have a lot of fat.
    Just substitute foods that are more diabetes friendly.

    Make chili with lean ground turkey instead of beef.

    Use yogurt low in fat instead of mayonnaise
    in salad dressing.

  • Improving
    Meal Prep

    Like to cook? We’ve got a few tasty tips for you. Love spaghetti and meatballs? How about making it with turkey instead? It’s just one of the many ways you can start cooking healthier today.

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    Be carb conscious.

    Foods that contain carbohydrates can raise blood sugar levels.

    Try to include nonstarchy vegetables,
    which are generally low in carbs, in your meals, including
    broccoli, cucumber, mushrooms,
    salad greens,
    and tomatoes.

  • Eat Seasonally

    Love to eat seasonally? Need some fresh ideas? Use this tool to help find out when certain foods are in season. And what meals may make sense for that time of the year.

    What’s in right now?

    Finding out is as easy as clicking on the season.

    What’s hot in winter is not in summer. Get ready for some fun tips. Just choose your season and see what pops up.

    Spring

    The days are getting longer. The tulips are showing their colors. And the taste of spring is brightening up the table.

    Add some berries to breakfast

    Strawberries are a sweet way to start the day.

    Toss it up with fresh, spring greens

    Throw together some butter lettuce, spinach, and watercress.

    Snack on something different

    Try crunching on a fresh snow pea or dip an endive leaf into some hummus.

    Summer

    The temperature is rising. The grill’s fired up. And the produce is summer fresh.

    Cool down with a smoothie

    Blend nonfat yogurt with summer-fresh berries.

    Grill it lean and mean

    Burgers on the grill are great; just choose meat that’s at least 90% lean.

    Have fresh veggies with lunch

    Pile on the tomatoes, cucumbers, and lettuce.

    Winter

    The holidays are here. The new year beckons. And the food is rich and hearty.

    Slow down and slow cook

    With a slow cooker, soups and stews are easy to make.

    See what’s in season

    Look for clementines, pears, brussels sprouts, butternut squash, and other tasty winter fruits and vegetables.

    Fall

    The frost is on the pumpkins. The kids are back in school. And the harvest is delicious.

    Enjoy the pick of the crop

    Apples and pears are plentiful, and are a convenient, healthy snack.

    Discover your roots

    Sweet potatoes are sweet, flavorful, and can keep for up to 2 weeks.

    Keep school nights simple

    Forget gourmet meals and pick up a precooked rotisserie chicken for dinner.

Eating Healthy Recipes

Who says healthy eating has to be boring? There are lots of great meal ideas out there. And they’re not just healthy—they’re delicious.

Categories
  • Appetizers & Snacks
  • Beef, Lamb & Pork
  • Beverages
  • Breads
  • Breakfast & Brunch
  • Chicken & Turkey
  • Desserts
  • Meatless Entrees
  • Pizza & Sandwiches
  • Pasta, Rice & Grains
  • Salads & Dressings
  • Sauces & Seasonings
  • Seafood
  • Soups & Stews
  • Vegetables
Cuisine
  • All
  • American
  • Asian
  • Hispanic
  • Italian
  • Southern

Following a diabetes-friendly meal plan can help you manage your type 2 diabetes. Your health care team and/or dietitian can help you create a diabetes-friendly meal plan that is best for you based on your recommended daily amounts of nutrients. Some recipes may not be right for everyone. Keep in mind any limitations or restrictions recommended. Percent daily values are based on a 2,000-calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie and individual nutrient needs.

  •  
     

    Search over 1,000 recipes

    To help you get started, here’s a collection of over 1,000 recipes that you can start searching now.

    To begin, select a category and/or cuisine, or type in a key ingredient.

    recipes for diabetes
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  • Dining Out

    A home-cooked meal every night may not be for everyone. Especially if you have a busy schedule. But why feel guilty? Stick to the right portion. Try to eat the same portion as you would at home. If the serving size is larger, share some with your dining partner, or take the extra food home. Here are some other tips to help you make healthy eating choices when dining out.

    eating out tips for diabetes
    toppings and sauces - food to avoid for diabetics
    bread - food to avoid for diabetics
    cheese - food to avoid for diabetics

    Watch out for these words

    Jumbo. Giant. Deluxe. Super-sized. Larger portions
    add up to more calories, more fat, more cholesterol, and more salt.

    Keep toppings plain and simple

    Avoid rich sauces and mayonnaise. Ask for mustard or low-fat sour cream. Add some extra crunch with lettuce and onions.

    Skip the danish and donuts

    If you’re yearning for bread, consider whole-wheat toast or an English muffin and save calories and fat.

    Cut out the cheese

    At 100 calories per ounce, not to mention the added fat and sodium, it’s just not worth it.

  • Dining Out

    A home-cooked meal every night may not be for everyone. Especially if you have a busy schedule. But why feel guilty? Stick to the right portion. Try to eat the same portion as you would at home. If the serving size is larger, share some with your dining partner, or take the extra food home. Here are some other tips to help you make healthy eating choices when dining out.

    Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. globally owned (domestic, international) photography, and model rights, unlimited time, unlimited use. Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. owns copyright. Created in 2013 by Daggerwing Health under standard AOR contract with Merck.Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. globally owned (domestic, international) photography, and model rights, unlimited time, unlimited use. Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. owns copyright. Created in 2013 by Daggerwing Health under standard AOR contract with Merck.Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. globally owned (domestic, international) photography, and model rights, unlimited time, unlimited use. Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. owns copyright. Created in 2013 by Daggerwing Health under standard AOR contract with Merck.

    Go for the salad

    Pile on the lettuce, spinach, carrots, peppers, onion, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, and other healthy veggies,
    but stay away from bacon bits, crumbled cheese, and croutons.

    Take it easy on the Tex-Mex

    Stay away from anything fried, including refried beans. Choose chicken over beef. And ditch the taco salad—
    it can add more than 1,000 calories to your day.

    Pick a healthier piece of pizza

    Order thin crust with vegetable toppings and limit yourself to no more than 2 slices

  • Dining Out

    A home-cooked meal every night may not be for everyone. Especially if you have a busy schedule. But why feel guilty? Stick to the right portion. Try to eat the same portion as you would at home. If the serving size is larger, share some with your dining partner, or take the extra food home. Here are some other tips to help you make healthy eating choices when dining out.

    Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. globally owned (domestic, international) photography, and model rights, unlimited time, unlimited use. Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. owns copyright. Created in 2013 by Daggerwing Health under standard AOR contract with Merck.Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. globally owned (domestic, international) photography, and model rights, unlimited time, unlimited use. Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. owns copyright. Created in 2013 by Daggerwing Health under standard AOR contract with Merck.Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. globally owned (domestic, international) photography, and model rights, unlimited time, unlimited use. Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. owns copyright. Created in 2013 by Daggerwing Health under standard AOR contract with Merck.Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. globally owned (domestic, international) photography, and model rights, unlimited time, unlimited use. Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. owns copyright. Created in 2013 by Daggerwing Health under standard AOR contract with Merck.

    Limit your salt intake

    Eat smaller portions and avoid salty foods to help you cut back on sodium.

    See if you can substitute

    Skip the baked potato and choose a double order of veggies instead. They taste great and are only a fraction of the calories.

    Limit your alcohol intake

    Alcohol has zero nutritional value and plenty of calories that can really add up.

    Ask that it be broiled

    Keep it simple. Meat or fish broiled with no extra butter is the way to go.

  •  
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  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  • Testing My
    Eating Smarts

    Ready to check what you learned with this quick quiz? Here are a few questions about planning healthy meals. Why not get started now?

    diabetes-friendly meals
     

    Some types of bread are healthier than others.

    Tip:
    Choose bread made with whole grains.

    You’re right!

    Bread made with whole grains is more nutritious than bread made with highly processed or “refined” flour. Here’s why: 100% whole-wheat flour is made from the entire wheat grain. Highly processed or “refined” flour only includes the starchy parts of the grain. That means you’ll miss out on the nutrients found and fiber in whole-wheat flour.

    Oops!

    The truth is, bread made with whole grains is more nutritious than bread made with highly processed or “refined” flour. Here’s why: 100% whole-wheat flour is made from the entire wheat grain. Highly processed or “refined” flour only includes the starchy parts of the grain. With refined flour, you’ll miss out on the nutrients and fiber found in whole-wheat flour.

  • Testing My
    Eating Smarts

    Ready to check what you learned with this quick quiz? Here are a few questions about planning healthy meals. Why not get started now?

    diabetes-friendly meals
     

    All meats have the same calorie and fat content.

    Tip:
    Choose lean cuts of meat.

    You got it!

    As you know, some cuts of red meat can be high in calories, total fat, and saturated fat. Try lean cuts of red meat, fish, and chicken and turkey (both with skin removed). These can be a healthier way to eat.

    Not quite.

    Truth is, some cuts of red meat can be high in calories, total fat, and saturated fat. Try lean cuts of red meat, fish, and chicken and turkey (both with skin removed). These can be a healthier way to eat.

  • Testing My
    Eating Smarts

    Ready to check what you learned with this quick quiz? Here are a few questions about planning healthy meals. Why not get started now?

    diabetes-friendly meals
     

    You can have some sweets with your meal if you cut back on other carbs during the same meal.

    Tip:
    Keep track of your carbs.

    You’re a smart cookie!

    The truth is, the American Diabetes Association says you can fit some sweets into your meal with some planning. What’s the key? Switch small portions of sweets and sweeteners for other carb-containing foods in your meals and snacks.

    Oh well.

    The truth is, the American Diabetes Association says you can fit some sweets into your meal with some planning. What’s the key? Switch small portions of sweets and sweeteners for other carb-containing foods in your meals and snacks.

  • Testing My
    Eating Smarts

    Ready to check what you learned with this quick quiz? Here are a few questions about planning healthy meals. Why not get started now?

    diabetes-friendly meals
     

    Planning diabetes-friendly meals helps you control your blood sugar levels.

    Tip:
    Make meal planning a habit.

    You’re right!

    But that’s not all. Planning diabetes-friendly meals can help you

    • Feel better
    • Improve your blood sugar levels
    • Lower your blood pressure or cholesterol
    • Maintain or lose weight
    • Maintain a nutritious diet

    Try again.

    The truth is, planning diabetes-friendly
    meals can help you

    • Feel better
    • Improve your blood sugar levels
    • Lower your blood pressure or cholesterol
    • Maintain or lose weight
    • Maintain a nutritious diet
  • Testing My
    Eating Smarts

    Ready to check what you learned with this quick quiz? Here are a few questions about planning healthy meals. Why not get started now?

    diabetes-friendly meals
     

    All fats are the same.

    Tip:
    Avoid saturated and trans fats.

    Try again.

    The fact is, saturated and trans fats are unhealthy fats. They can raise your cholesterol and put you at a high risk for heart disease. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) suggests you eat less of these. Why? Because doing so can help lower your risk of heart attack or stroke. As you cut back on saturated and trans fats, you can substitute with other fats, including monounsaturated fat, polyunsaturated fat, and omega-3 fatty acids. All fat is high in calories so it is important to control portion sizes as well.

    You got it!

    As you know, saturated and trans fats are unhealthy fats. They can raise your cholesterol and put you at a higher risk for heart disease. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) suggests you eat less of these. Why? Because doing so can help lower your risk of heart attack or stroke. As you cut back on saturated and trans fats, you can substitute with other fats, including monosaturated fat, polysaturated fat, and omega-3 fatty acids. All fat is high in calories so it is important to control portion sizes as well.

  • Testing My
    Eating Smarts

    Ready to check what you learned with this quick quiz? Here are a few questions about planning healthy meals. Why not get started now?

    diabetes-friendly meals
     

    Results

    0 Correct

    0 Incorrect

    Hey, you did great!

    Congrats! You seem to know quite a bit about healthy eating and understand the role it plays in helping to manage type 2 diabetes. Why not check out other sections of this site and add to your knowledge?

    There’s always more to learn.

    Looks like you missed a few answers. Read up on the material you got wrong. Then repeat the test again if you’d like.


 

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