The best foods to eat to keep your blood sugar stable throughout the day

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Getting a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes can be overwhelming and finding the best healthy foods to properly fuel your body can seem difficult i keep blood sugar stable. But the fear of not having a list of foods for type 2 diabetes can help.

Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disorder related to insulin resistance that leads to high blood glucose (blood sugar) levels, says Kimberly Gomer, RDN, a Miami-based dietitian who specializes in weight loss, diabetes, cholesterol, and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). ). No one is born with type 2 diabetes, but it’s often linked to dietary choices, he says.

Fortunately, type 2 diabetes can be controlled (and even reversed) with a nutrient-dense diet that focuses on whole foods. Balancing your plate with lean protein, healthy fats, fiber, and complex carbohydrates can also help stabilize blood sugar while adding variety to your diet, Gomer says. Whether you have type 2 diabetes or simply want to regulate your blood sugar, here’s what to eat (and limit), according to dietitians.

Meet the experts: Kimberly Gomer, RDN, is a Miami-based dietitian specializing in weight loss, diabetes, cholesterol, and polycystic ovary syndrome. Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, is a registered dietitian specializing in diabetes and author of 2-day diet for diabetes.

Foods suitable for type 2 diabetes


Protein is central to a healthy diabetic diet, as it’s necessary for hormone balance, muscle growth and repair, and blood sugar management, Gomer says. Plus, animal and plant-based proteins are extremely filling, so they’ll help keep you fuller for longer, she adds.

  • egg

  • lamb

  • chicken

  • Turkey

  • fish

  • seafood

  • tofu

  • Tempeh

  • Legumes

  • lentil

  • Beans


Non-starchy vegetables are diabetes-friendly and provide an excellent source of vitamins, minerals and fiber, says Gomer. And yes, you can eat your vegetables raw, steamed or roasted.

  • lettuce

  • Asparagus

  • Spinach

  • cucumber

  • Courgette

  • pumpkin

  • tomato

  • onion

  • pepper

  • Eggplant

  • celery

  • carrot

  • Brussels sprouts

  • cauliflower

  • Col

  • Chinese cabbage

  • Beetroot

  • Broccoli

  • artichoke


Fruit gets a bad rap when it comes to type 2 diabetes, but low-sugar fruits are actually a great addition to your diet thanks to their vitamins, minerals, and low glycemic index (meaning they have little effect on on blood sugar levels). Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, diabetes dietitian and author of 2-day diet for diabetes. The fruit’s fiber content may also promote blood sugar balance and a healthy gut, he adds.

  • blueberry

  • strawberry

  • Blackberry

  • Raspberry

  • lemon

  • Lima

  • To

  • plum

  • Kiwi fruit

  • apple

  • melon

  • to prune

Quick note: Fresh or frozen fruit is a good option, but if you opt for dried fruit, Palinski-Wade says to choose an option with no added sugar.

Healthy fats

Healthy fats are anti-inflammatory and key to brain function and heart health. Just be aware that they are often higher in calories. So if you’re trying to lose weight, it’s important to consider portion size, says Gomer.

  • avocado

  • olives

  • Olive oil

  • Avocado oil

  • Ghee

  • Nuts (raw or roasted without vegetable seed oil)

  • Seeds (raw or roasted without vegetable seed oil)

Whole grains

Whole grains are a diabetes-friendly option known for their low glycemic index. Many are also high in soluble fiber (looking at you, oats), which can help slow glucose absorption, improve insulin sensitivity, and lower cholesterol levels, says Palinski-Wade.

  • Rolled oats

  • brown rice

  • Quinoa

  • bean

  • barley

  • farro

Foods to avoid with type 2 diabetes

Saturated fats

Saturated fat is a no-no when it comes to type 2 diabetes, as it increases insulin resistance, says Palinski-Wade. For this reason, saturated fat should be limited to less than 10 percent of total daily calories, he adds. Eating too much saturated fat can also raise cholesterol, leading to an increased risk of heart disease and stroke, according to the American Heart Association.

  • butter

  • cream

  • bacon

  • Sausage

  • Frankfurt sausages

  • Processed meats

  • cheese

  • fried food

  • Fast food

Seed oils

Seed oils can increase the ratios of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids that can damage the heart and gut, Gomer says. They also typically contain additives that can cause bloating, gas and inflammation, she adds. Most packaged snacks, prepared foods, and restaurants use seed oils, so they’re hard to avoid completely, but do your best to minimize consumption if you can.

  • soybean oil

  • Corn oil

  • Canola oil

  • Cotton seed oil

  • Grape seed oil

  • Rice bran oil

  • Safflower oil

  • Sunflower oil


It can be difficult to cut all sugar, but those with type 2 diabetes should avoid consuming large amounts since it’s low in fiber and can worsen insulin resistance and blood sugar regulation, Palinski-Wade says. Sugar also has limited nutritional value and can spike blood sugar, she adds.

  • refreshment

  • Sweets

  • cake

  • ice cream

  • honey

  • Agave

  • Brown sugar

  • molasses

Large processed

Processed grains typically contain white flour that can spike blood sugar, Gomer says. They also lack nutritional value and are low in fiber, Palinski-Wade adds.

Frequently asked questions

What causes insulin resistance?

Insulin is an essential hormone that controls blood sugar and helps the body convert food into energy that is used or stored as fat, Gomer says. The hormone secreted by the pancreas acts as a key to open a door for cells to access sugar.

If you’re insulin resistant, your cells resist that insulin, so the key is sticking, he says. The body then figures that the message didn’t get to the pancreas, so the message is sent again, which creates an overproduction of insulin, he explains. As a result, insulin resistance occurs and over time, blood sugar levels rise.

How does diet affect diabetes?

At a basic level, blood sugar is balanced by eating a whole foods diet focused primarily on lean protein, vegetables, and complex carbohydrates, as these foods provide the most reliable and stable energy without causing a spike in insulin, says Gomer. On the other hand, a diet high in added sugar, refined carbohydrates and saturated fat raises blood sugar and worsens insulin resistance, which in turn leads to type 2 diabetes, Palinski-Wade adds.

Despite the common recommendation to cut carbs if blood sugar is high, people with diabetes do no you need to avoid carbs altogether, says Palinski-Wade. That’s because complex carbs balanced with lean protein, good fats and fiber can provide steady sugar and energy throughout the day, he says. Carbohydrate foods such as whole fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts and seeds have been shown to prevent diabetes and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, he adds.

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