How to Eat Well With Diabetes

Eating healthy is one of the most important, but also very difficult aspect of managing your diabetes. 

  • Working with a registered dietitian or nutritionist can help you create a meal plan that supports your personal goals and health needs  
  • In addition to reaching or maintaining a healthy weight, eating healthy will also help you manage your blood sugar
  • Changing your eating habits can start with eating less of the foods that are not good for your body, and more of the foods that are
  • Balance nutrition and taste with portion control

Education Workshops Available at UMass Diabetes Center of Excellence

Heart Healthy Meal Planning Workshop 

Changing what and how much you eat can make a big difference in your blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels.  This workshop will help you to identify good vs bad fats, label reading for cholesterol and salt, and more.

Basic Carb Counting Workshop 

This workshop provides tools for counting carbs and examples to help you plan consistent carbohydrate meals.  It will also help you to make educated healthy eating choices in a variety of settings.

Advanced Carb Counting Workshop 

Learn to match insulin doses to carbohydrate intake and blood glucose levels.  It will help you get the most out of your carb ratios and sensitivity factors. 

How to Register for Our Diabetes Education Workshops

These monthly workshops are offered at the Ambulatory Care Center on the University Campus of UMass Memorial Health Care.  Ask your care team or diabetes educator about registering. 
For more information, contact:  

Ideal way to fill your 9" plate

Half of your plate should include non-starchy vegetables and salad

Vegetables are a wonderful source of vitamins and nutrients.  Choose fresh or steamed veggies, because fried vegetables do not have a high nutritional value.  

One quarter of your plate should include protein

Good sources of protein include lean meat (such as skinless chicken), fish & seafood, low-fat or fat-free cheeses, eggs, tofu, and no sugar added peanut butter.

OK sources of protein include beef, lamb, pork, and ham & turkey bacon.

Not so good choices include fried chicken, sausage, cheeseburgers, pizza, regular bacon, and regular cheeses.

* Protein portions should be no larger than the size of a deck of cards

* Barbeque, teriyaki, and other sauces contain carbohydrates and are high in sugar

One quarter of your plate should include carbohydrates in the form of grains and starchy vegetables

Whenever possible, choose higher fiber, whole-grain or whole-wheat breads and pastas instead of white breads and pastas.  Brown rice is a healthier choice than white rice.  Other good starches include old fashioned & steel cut oats, quinoa, artichoke, sweet potatoes & yams, potatoes, corn, squash, and pumpkin.

Carbs which are "OK" include granola bars, corn chips, pumpernickel or oat bread.

Not so good choices include bagels, fries, tortillas or wraps, corn bread, muffins, pancakes, and couscous.  Sweetened breads and pastries are not healthy choices, and you should only eat them occasionally.


Choose drinks that are low in sugar or sugar-free as a way to help control your blood glucose (blood sugar).  Avoid orange juice, apple juice, cranberry juice, or boxed juices. 

**Remember that milk and all fruit juice (even 100% juice) contain carbohydrates.