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A diet for diabetes is not only an indication to get better, but it plays the role of a vademecum to manage one's disease and not get worse. Therefore, its importance cannot be underestimated, nor should it be taken lightly and overstepped whenever desired.

Proper dietary management allows you to monitor blood sugar and fat levels in the blood, prevent cardiovascular diseases, manage weight and naturally not worsen your clinical situation.

So let's talk about how to do a good diet for diabetics, analyzing the foods allowed and those to avoid. Furthermore, we are describing a sample daily menu designed especially for those who have to deal with this pathology and from which to take inspiration to vary the foods at the table.

Diabetes: why monitor food

When the doctor diagnoses diabetes, it is necessary to change eating habits to bring them into line with the new state of health. In this context, the role of diet is decisive as it is tailor-made for the patient, taking into account his diagnosis and food preferences. 

Assuming that improvisation is not allowed, every diet for diabetes must take into consideration the need to take precise nutrients every day, essential for the proper functioning of the body.

As in any dietary program, the results are gradual and not visible for the first few days. However, by respecting the guidelines, it will soon become not only the tool to get better, but also the ideal means to live better and recover both health and a considerable state of well-being.

The new dietary behaviors can also remain as an indication for life (depending on the severity of the diabetic form), but they will help to acquire the correct metabolism and avoid the risk of nutritional deficiencies, while eliminating some types of foods.

But what to eat on a diabetes diet? Let's try to schematize the nutrients and make a list of allowed and forbidden foods.

Diabetes diet: what to eat

diabetes diet

The diet scheme that the nutritionist prescribes for diabetics is very precise and only admits certain foods in quantities adequate to the daily requirement and without which they can in any way worsen the clinical picture. 

Here's what you can put on your shopping list:

  • Non-starchy vegetables: leafy vegetables (lettuce, lamb's lettuce, lettuce, rocket, chicory, endive, endive, etc.), beets, broccoli, cardoons, cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, green branchy cabbage, collard greens, bok choy, cucumber, turnip tops, courgette flowers, fennel, mushrooms (champignons, ova, porcini), bean sprouts, green peppers, radishes, red and green radicchio, celery, spinach, courgettes.
  • Starchy vegetables: eggplants, brussels sprouts, green beans, tomatoes, red and yellow peppers, turnips, dandelion greens, yellow squash, carrots.
  • Fish: cod, sea bass, sea bream, anchovies, swordfish, salmon, mackerel and herring.
  • Meat: chicken and turkey.
  • Cold cuts: bresaola, cooked ham and lean raw meats.
  • Egg. Only twice a week!
  • Cheeses. Philadelphia, cottage cheese, ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan.
  • Low-fat plain yogurt or Greek yogurt.
  • Fruits: watermelon, oranges, apricots, melons, strawberries, medlars, peach nuts, peaches, apples, pears, pineapples, kiwis, tangerines, mandarin oranges.
  • Nuts: walnuts, almonds, cashews.
  • Extra virgin olive oil.
  • Sugar-free milk or vegetable drinks.
  • Drinks: water and unsweetened herbal teas.
  • Pasta and bread, preferably wholemeal.
  • Aromas and spices: parsley, basil, rosemary, sage.
  • Salt, in modest quantities.

These foods can be combined with each other in order to vary the weekly menu and ensure all the nutrients for the body.

Diabetes diet: what not to eat

There are foods that cannot be included in a diabetes diet because they risk raising blood glucose levels, gaining weight and promoting the risk of heart disease. Which ones are they? Here is the blacklist for those suffering from diabetes:

  • Sweets and snacks.
  • Sugary drinks.
  • Sugar, to be replaced with natural sweeteners, such as stevia.
  • Pre-cooked or breaded products.
  • Balsamic vinegar.
  • Tomato and mayonnaise.
  • Ready sauces.
  • Butter and coconut oil.
  • Sausages.
  • High fat dairy products.

Now that you know which foods to favor (and which to eliminate or reduce) we can therefore take a look at an example to use as a reference scheme for imaginatively varying your personalized diabetes diet. Remember this is a sample planner only and is not intended as a substitute for a doctor prescribed diet!

Diabetes diet example: daily planner

Here we are, ready to start the week with the right spirit and the necessary will to preserve the well-being of one's body already on the table. What to eat? Let's see in a typical day what you can cook to stay fit and healthy.

Obviously the quantities vary from person to person and take into account factors such as age, weight and type of diabetes.


  • Milk + shortbread biscuits with no added sugar
  • Vegetable drink without sugar + whole grains like oat flakes
  • Light yogurt
  • Greek yogurt
  • Toasted wholemeal bread with a veil of light jam

Snack and snack

  • Parmesan
  • Dried fruit 
  • A fruit of your choice or a fruit smoothie
  • Dark chocolate 

Lunch and dinner: first course

  • Bread  
  • Brown rice with a teaspoon of parmesan
  • Pasta + legumes, such as spelled, barley, couscous
  • Thin wholemeal croutons
  • Whole grain rice cakes

Lunch and dinner: second course

  • Baked, grilled, stewed, boiled, en papillote fresh fish
  • Natural tuna
  • Smoked salmon
  • Grilled slice of veal
  • Chicken or turkey burgers
  • Skinless chicken leg
  • Bresaola or turkey breast
  • Cheeses (to be chosen among those allowed)
  • Hard-boiled, soft-boiled, poached, scrambled, baked omelet eggs

Fruit and side dish

Fruit should only be consumed during snacks and snacks and according to the recommended doses which, we remind you, should never be modified on your own initiative, especially with more sugary types of fruit.

For the side dishes, however, you can range from those on the list and prepare them according to your taste both raw and boiled.

Gestational diabetes diet

diabetes diet

In the specific case of expectant mothers who are diagnosed with gestational diabetes, greater attention must be paid to avoid risks to the fetus.

Pregnant women will have to follow in principle the same rules, but increase foods rich in calcium, iron and folic acid.

The gestational diabetes diet must be strictly low in fat but high in fiber. And in particular it is advisable to moderate carbohydrates.

This type of diet must be followed throughout the pregnancy and will be discontinued only after the birth of the baby.


Now you have all the essential information and ideal foods in a diabetes diet. This is not a difficult path to take, but a normal diet that takes some precautions to avoid increasing one's disorder. It doesn't put your health at risk but preserves it, and allows you to acquire good habits that can only increase general well-being without debilitating the body. 

Before starting, it is always advisable to have a precise diagnosis, carry out specific tests and be followed by an expert nutritionist who will create a diet made especially for you. Don't be afraid to ask him for some food in particular: asking him to add some treats stimulates the appetite and motivates you to keep going! And doctors know how to please you without harming your health.

And now we just have to wish you a good diet!