Healthy eating

Healthy eating and an active lifestyle is important for everyone, including people with diabetes. Meals that are recommended for people with diabetes are the same as for those without diabetes.

Everyone including family and friends, can enjoy the same healthy and tasty meals together, based on the Australian Dietary Guidelines Healthy Eating for Adults and Healthy Eating for Children.

Because diabetes is a condition where your blood glucose level is too high, many people think they need to avoid sugars and foods containing sugar.  However, it is important to understand that it is not sugar in itself that causes diabetes but rather a combination of factors such as being overweight and being inactive. Sugary foods may add to weight gain and this is why it is important to limit excessive sugars in your food. Eating less fat, particularly saturated fat, is also very important to help you manage your diabetes and your weight.

Guide to healthy eating for people with diabetes

Enjoy a wide variety of nutritious foods including:

  • Vegetables, legumes and fruits
  • Cereals (including breads, rice, pasta and noodles), preferably wholegrain
  • Lean meat, fish, poultry and/or alternatives
  • Milk, yoghurt, cheese and/or alternatives(reduced-fat varieties should be chosen where possible)
  • Drink plenty of water

Take care to

  • Limit saturated fat and eat only a moderate amount of total fat
  • Choose foods low in salt
  • Limit your alcohol intake if you choose to drink
  • Consume only moderate amounts of sugars and foods containing added sugars

Prevent weight gain

Be physically active and eat according to your energy needs. One of the most important aspects of diabetes management is to maintain a healthy body weight. Being overweight not only increases your risk of heart disease, stroke and some cancers, it also makes your diabetes harder to manage. Small changes in your diet such as reducing your portion sizes and swapping to low fat dairy products, can help you to achieve a healthy body weight and manage your diabetes.

It is important for all people with diabetes to visit a dietitian who will give tailored advice just for you. Remember, healthy eating can be enjoyable.



Diabetes: A pictorial guide to healthy eating

The pictorial guide to healthy eating is targeted at individuals who may have difficulty reading and understanding large amounts of complex written information. The pictures convey the message of healthy eating in simple language that is easy to understand, so that individuals are able to visually see the types of foods to eat more of and those to eat less of.

This resource is suitable for all adults and teenagers, including people with diabetes and those wanting to lose weight. Topics that are presented include the different food groups, recommendations for each food group, the concept of portion sizes, healthy snacks, healthy cooking methods, buying healthy foods on a budget and sample meal plans.

This resource is also available in other languages including Chinese, Vietnamese, Arabic, Greek and Italian. Each resource presents culturally appropriate food choices. A&TSI specific booklets are also available.

To order this resource please click here.   The cost is $1.10 per booklet .  Postage charges will apply for health professionals in other states.

Click here to read this resource online.



Diabetes Australia – Vic Catering Guidelines

Healthy eating is important for everyone and is essential for the prevention and management of chronic health conditions including diabetes, cardiovascular disease and obesity. These guidelines were developed to help you to provide healthy and nutritious foods when catering for events, meetings or functions.



More information

To find an Accredited Practicing Dietitian go to the Dietitians Association of Australia website or contact DA–Vic.

For more information, read Food Choices for People with Diabetes information sheet (PDF)




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