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Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 Diabetes > How to Manage Type 2 Diabetes

Eat Smarter: Type 2 Diabetes Diet

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 and helpful tips to help you get started. As someone with type 2 diabetes, 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 through the slideshow to see how to make healthier choices:

  • Choose Whole Grain Bread for More Fiber

    Choose whole-grain bread

    For more fiber in your diet, eat whole grains. If you eat rice, choose brown rice. If you have pasta, choose whole-wheat pasta.

  • Choose Baked Chicken for Less Fat

    Choose baked chicken

    For less fat, remove the skin from chicken or turkey before cooking. Lean meats contain less fat. When you eat beef or pork, choose lean cuts that end in “loin,” such as sirloin or tenderloin.

    When cooking, use liquid oils instead of solid fats like butter. Choose oils that are higher in unsaturated fats, like olive oil, canola oil, or sunflower oil. Talk with your doctor or nutritionist about the right amount of fat you should have in your diet.

  • Choose Sweet Potatoes for More Vitamins, Minerals, and Fiber

    Choose sweet potato

    Pick this carb packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

  • Choose 1% of Skim Milk to Trim Fat

    Choose 1% or skim milk

    You’ll trim fat from your diet. Choose skim milk and nonfat or low-fat yogurt and cheese.

  • Choose Grilled Salmon for Lower Fat and Cholesterol

    Choose grilled salmon

    Fish is usually lower in fat and cholesterol than most meat or poultry. Eat fish 2 or 3 times a week. But do not eat fish or shellfish if you are allergic to it. Avoid seafood that is battered or fried.

Eating healthy when you have type 2 diabetes

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) offers these additional diabetes-friendly eating guidelines:

Fruits and vegetables

Most fruits, like apples, berries, bananas, and grapes, are fine to eat, but fruits contain carbohydrates, so you’ll need to count them as part of your meal plan. Eat nonstarchy vegetables, such as lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, and broccoli, as they make great additions to a type 2 diabetes diet.


Drink water or other calorie-free drinks. Limit sugar-sweetened drinks. These include drinks containing sucrose and high-fructose corn syrup, which are other forms of sugar.

Limit alcohol

Alcohol can lower your blood sugar levels. It can affect you up to 24 hours after drinking. So, you should not drink alcohol when your blood sugar is low or when your stomach is empty. Ask your doctor if you have questions about whether alcohol is safe for you.

For people living with type 2 diabetes, healthy eating is important to help control blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol. Check out our recipes section to discover meal and snack ideas.