Management of Diabetes through Diet and Exercise
Recommendations are not the same for everyone with diabetes and will often depend on age, activity level, and medications you take.
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People with diabetes can still enjoy a healthy, enjoyable, meal plan that is suitable for the entire family.

It is important to focus on learning how different types and amounts of foods affect your body, especially your weight and blood sugar.

Although food is not the only factor that raises glucose, your food choices have a significant impact on the control of your blood sugar, cholesterol, blood pressure, weight, and of course, your overall health.

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Work with your healthcare team to learn what to eat, how much to eat, and when to eat.

This will help you manage your blood glucose levels and your weight. It will also lower your risk of heart disease and other diabetes complications.

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Keep in mind that even a modest degree of weight reduction in overweight individuals will help improve your blood sugar and cholesterol.

Persons diagnosed with diabetes can significantly reduce their chances of developing diabetes related complications by reducing the amounts of sugars, starches and saturated fats in their diets; increasing the amount of non-starchy vegetables eaten; losing weight; and increasing daily physical activity to 30-45 minutes per day. Exercise can help reduce insulin resistance and help your body absorb insulin better.

Find An Ochsner Fitness Center Location Near You

General Healthy Food Choices and Tips


Make healthy choices. As often as possible, eat at home or bring food from home. Choose nutritious, natural, less-processed foods. Some healthy options are listed below.


Choose grains with high fiber content (ex. 100% whole wheat bread, dried beans and peas, brown rice), non-starchy vegetables or vegetables with high water content (ex. leafy greens, lettuces, spinach, carrots, broccoli, cabbage), and fruits with high fiber content (ex. strawberries, pears, plums, oranges).


Choose low-fat or fat-free dairy or non-dairy products such as 1% or skim milk, low-fat or fat-free yogurt, low-sugar soy milk, or almond milk.


Choose lean protein sources (prepared with minimal added fat) such as poultry without skin, fish (especially deep sea fish such as salmon, halibut, and tuna that contain larger amounts of omega 3 fatty acids), shellfish, lean cuts of red meat and pork, egg whites, soy products, low-fat or reduced-fat cheeses or cottage cheese.


Choose small amounts of heart-healthy fats high in monounsaturated fats such as olive, canola, or peanut oils; olives; avocados; nuts; and seeds.

Food Groups: Their Impact on Blood Sugars

How many calories you need depends on your age, gender, activity level, and weight goal (to lose, gain, or maintain weight). This is very individualized and is not the same for every person.

Because diabetes is a disorder in the way the body utilizes or breaks down nutrients from food people with diabetes should become familiar with how different food groups impact their blood sugar.

Understanding Food Labels