By Johanna Burani, MS, RD, CDE

You know that eating healthy meals helps you to have a healthy body. That’s especially true if you have diabetes or prediabetes. What you eat can help you control your blood glucose, your blood pressure, your choles­terol and your weight.

The best place to start making good food choices is to look at your food plate. Think of it as having four parts that you fill up at every meal.

The two big parts are for your starches or grains, like rice, corn, beans, pasta or bread, and for your vegetables, like carrots, broccoli, spinach, tomatoes and salads.

The two small parts of your plate are for your protein-based foods, like chicken, fish, eggs and cheese, and for your fruit, like apples, peaches, berries and oranges. When all four parts of your plate are filled in this way, you have a well-balanced meal.

You don’t have to change everything all at the same time. You can choose one way to improve your diet and work on that until you feel comfortable with it. Then you can go on to another change. For example, you may choose to drink water with all your meals but allow yourself one can of soda per week. Once that change is part of your diet, you can try something else, like eating more vegetables. Make small changes that feel good to you and, little by little, you will improve your diet. You will find your own easy ways to eat healthy.


2 parts of your plate are for your starches or grains and your vegetables.

2 parts of your plate are for your protein-based foods and your fruit.


Try to eat the right number of calories. Enjoy your food but eat less of it. If you eat large portions, make them smaller. Burn extra calories with exercise.

Eat slowly. Pay attention to your food and enjoy it.

Use a smaller plate to help you eat less.

If you are in a restaurant, share a meal with someone or bring some of it home to eat at another time.

Eat vegetables, fruits, whole grains and fat-free or 1% milk and yogurt every day.

Eat less of these foods: cakes, cookies, ice cream, candies, soda, energy and sports drinks, pizza, soups, frozen meals, ribs, sausages, bacon and hot dogs.

Try to drink mostly water every day and save your favorite sugary drink for a special treat.

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