Pre-diabetes is a condition where your blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes. Pre-diabetes affects about one in three adults in the United States, and if left untreated, it can increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and other serious health problems.
But the good news is that pre-diabetes can be reversed with lifestyle changes, especially by following a healthy diet. A pre-diabetes diet can help you lower your blood sugar levels, lose excess weight, and prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes.
In this article, we will show you what to eat and what to avoid on a pre-diabetes diet, and give you some tips and examples on how to plan your meals and snacks. We will also answer some frequently asked questions about pre diabetes and diet.
What to Eat on a Pre Diabetes Diet
A pre diabetes diet is not a one-size-fits-all plan. It should be tailored to your individual needs, preferences, and goals. However, there are some general principles that can guide you in choosing the best foods for your health.
A pre diabetes diet should be:
- Balanced: It should include a variety of foods from all the food groups, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, healthy fats, and low-fat dairy products.
- High in fiber: Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that your body cannot digest. It helps you feel full longer, control your appetite, lower your cholesterol, and regulate your blood sugar levels. Aim for at least 25 to 30 grams of fiber per day from foods such as beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, oats, barley, quinoa, fruits, and vegetables.
- Low in added sugars: Added sugars are sugars that are added to foods and beverages during processing or preparation. They provide empty calories and can spike your blood sugar levels. Limit your intake of added sugars to less than 10% of your daily calories. Avoid or limit foods and drinks that have added sugars, such as candy, cookies, cakes, pastries, ice cream, soda, juice, sports drinks, energy drinks, and sweetened coffee or tea.
- Moderate in carbohydrates: Carbohydrates are the main source of energy for your body. They are broken down into glucose (sugar) in your bloodstream. However, eating too many carbohydrates or the wrong types of carbohydrates can raise your blood sugar levels too high. Choose complex carbohydrates that are high in fiber and low in glycemic index (GI), which means they raise your blood sugar levels slowly and steadily. Examples of complex carbohydrates are whole grains, beans, lentils, fruits, and vegetables. Avoid or limit simple carbohydrates that are low in fiber and high in GI, which means they raise your blood sugar levels quickly and sharply. Examples of simple carbohydrates are white bread, white rice, white pasta, potatoes, corn flakes, sugary cereals, crackers, pretzels, chips, and sweets.
- Lean in proteins: Proteins are essential for building and repairing your muscles, organs, skin, hair, nails, and other tissues. They also help you feel full longer and stabilize your blood sugar levels. Choose lean proteins that are low in saturated fat and cholesterol, such as chicken breast, turkey breast, fish, eggs, tofu, tempeh, seitan, low-fat cheese, yogurt, milk, nuts, seeds, beans, and lentils. Avoid or limit proteins that are high in saturated fat and cholesterol, such as red meat, bacon, sausage, ham, hot dogs, salami, bologna, full-fat cheese, cream, butter, lard, and coconut oil.
- Healthy in fats: Fats are important for providing energy and absorbing vitamins A D E and K They also help you feel full longer and protect your heart brain and nerves Choose healthy fats that are unsaturated such as olive oil canola oil avocado nuts seeds and fatty fish such as salmon tuna mackerel and sardines Avoid or limit fats that are unhealthy such as trans fats which are found in processed foods like pastries cookies cakes pies doughnuts margarine shortening and fast food and saturated fats which are found in animal products like red meat bacon sausage ham hot dogs salami bologna full-fat cheese cream butter lard and coconut oil
How to Plan Your Meals and Snacks on a Pre Diabetes Diet
A pre diabetes diet does not have to be complicated or restrictive. You can still enjoy a variety of foods and flavors as long as you pay attention to the quality quantity frequency and timing of your meals and snacks.
Here are some tips and examples on how to plan your meals and snacks on a pre diabetes diet:
- Quality: Choose foods that are high in fiber low in added sugars moderate in carbohydrates lean in proteins and healthy in fats. Use herbs spices vinegar lemon juice and other seasonings to add flavor without adding calories or sodium. Avoid or limit foods that are low in fiber high in added sugars high in carbohydrates high in saturated or trans fats and high in sodium.
- Quantity: Control your portion sizes to avoid overeating and gaining weight. Use smaller plates bowls and cups to help you eat less. Fill half of your plate with nonstarchy vegetables one quarter with lean protein and one quarter with complex carbohydrates. Add a serving of healthy fat such as a tablespoon of olive oil or a quarter of an avocado. For snacks choose a combination of protein and fiber such as a handful of nuts and a piece of fruit or a cup of low-fat yogurt and some berries.
- Frequency: Eat regularly throughout the day to keep your blood sugar levels stable and prevent hunger and cravings. Aim for three balanced meals and one or two healthy snacks per day. Do not skip meals or go longer than four hours without eating. If you have a long gap between meals have a snack that contains protein and fiber to tide you over.
- Timing: Eat your meals and snacks at consistent times every day to help your body regulate its insulin production and response. Avoid eating too late at night or too close to bedtime as this can interfere with your sleep quality and raise your blood sugar levels. Try to eat your breakfast within an hour of waking up your lunch around noon your dinner around 6 p.m. and your snacks between meals.
Here are some examples of what you can eat on a pre diabetes diet:
- Breakfast: A bowl of oatmeal cooked with low-fat milk topped with sliced almonds and fresh blueberries. A cup of black coffee or green tea.
- Snack: A hard-boiled egg and a small apple.
- Lunch: A turkey sandwich on whole-wheat bread with lettuce tomato onion mustard and low-fat cheese. A side salad with mixed greens cherry tomatoes cucumber carrots and olive oil dressing. A glass of water or unsweetened iced tea.
- Snack: A cup of low-fat plain yogurt with some raspberries and sunflower seeds.
- Dinner: A grilled salmon fillet with lemon juice and dill. A serving of brown rice with steamed broccoli and cauliflower. A glass of water or sparkling water with lime.
- Snack: A handful of baby carrots and hummus.
Pre diabetes is a condition where your blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes. Pre diabetes can increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes heart disease stroke and other serious health problems.
However pre diabetes can be reversed with lifestyle changes especially by following a healthy diet. A pre diabetes diet can help you lower your blood sugar levels lose excess weight and prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes.
A pre diabetes diet should be balanced high in fiber low in added sugars moderate in carbohydrates lean in proteins and healthy in fats. It should also include regular portion-controlled meals and snacks at consistent times every day.
We hope this article has answered your question of “pre diabetes diet” and given you some tips and examples on how to eat your way to better health.
Can I eat fruits on a pre diabetes diet?
Yes you can eat fruits on a pre diabetes diet as they are rich in fiber vitamins minerals and antioxidants. However fruits also contain natural sugars which can raise your blood sugar levels if eaten in excess. Therefore you should limit your fruit intake to two to three servings per day choose fresh or frozen fruits over canned or dried fruits avoid fruit juices and smoothies and pair fruits with proteins or fats to slow down the absorption of sugars.
Can I drink alcohol on a pre diabetes diet?
You can drink alcohol on a pre diabetes diet but only in moderation and with caution. Alcohol can lower your blood sugar levels too much especially if you drink it on an empty stomach or take medications that lower blood sugar. Alcohol can also add extra calories and carbohydrates to your diet which can lead to weight gain and increased blood sugar levels. Therefore you should limit your alcohol intake to no more than one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men choose light beer dry wine or spirits mixed with water or diet soda avoid sweetened cocktails beers wines or liqueurs and drink alcohol only with food.
Can I eat out on a pre diabetes diet?
You can eat out on a pre diabetes diet but you need to be careful about what you order and how much you eat. Here are some tips for eating out on a pre diabetes diet: