Healthy Meal Plans for Prediabetes
Build healthy habits
from your phone
Having prediabetes is a risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes within a few years, but making changes in the way you eat can lower your risk, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Along with losing 5 to 7% of body weight if you are overweight or obese, choosing more nutritious foods can slow or reverse insulin resistance and lower blood sugar.
Best Diets for Prediabetes
Many different eating patterns can help lower blood sugar and reduce the chance of developing diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association. These are some dietary patterns that have been linked to weight loss, lower blood sugar, and/or lower risk for diabetes.
- Vegetarian or vegan
- DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension)
For most people, the most important consideration is whether the diet is sustainable for them. Someone who loves meat may not be able to follow a meatless diet indefinitely, and may go back to old eating habits soon. Similarly, someone who loves pasta and bread may feel deprived on a low-carbohydrate diet and may not be able to stick to the plan.
Following are sample menus for each of the above types of diet to lower blood sugar and decrease risk for diabetes.
Vegetarian diets include strict vegan diets, which do not include any animal-source foods, as well as ovo-lacto vegetarian diets, which include eggs and cheese but no fish or meat. Pesco-vegetarian diets include fish.
Each of these patterns has been linked to weight loss, lower risk for type 2 diabetes, and reduced A1C (or glycated hemoglobin, a measure of long-term blood sugar control. According to research published in Current Diabetes Reports, compared to regular meat-eaters who had a prevalence of diabetes of 7.9%, vegan diet eaters had a 2..9% prevalence, those who ate an lacto-ovo vegetarian diet had a 3.2% prevalence, and those who followed a pesco-vegetarian diet had a 4.8% prevalence of diabetes. Patterns were similar for body mass index (BMI), a measure of a healthy body weight.
Sample Menu for a Vegetarian Diet
Summary Table of Diets for Prediabetes
Mediterranean Diet Patterns
You are correct if you think, "heart health," "red wine," and "olive oil," when you think of Mediterranean diets, but wait, there is more! What about, "weight loss," "lower A1C," and, "whole grains," as the American Diabetes Association points out? The Dietary Guidelines also suggest a Mediterranean diet as one of many possible healthy eating patterns to try.
It emphasizes vegetables, fruits, and healthy fats such as olive oil, as well as whole grains and protein sources such as fish and beans. To limit are sugars and unhealthy fats, as well as red meat.
Low-Carbohydrate Diet Patterns
Carbohydrates drive up blood sugar levels, and cutting back on carbohydrates may help lower blood sugar in diabetes and prediabetes. The American Diabetes Association says a low-carb diet may get below about 40 to 45% of calories from carbohydrates, with the other calories coming from fat and protein.
Eggs, fish, poultry, and meat are carbohydrate-free foods, and they may be the foundation of a low-carb diet, along with non-starchy vegetables. Fats are also carbohydrate-free or low-carb, and healthy ones include olive oil, canola oil, nuts, seeds, and avocados. Low-carb diets may limit fruits, grains, and sugar-sweetened foods and beverages.
Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH)
The DASH diet was developed to lower blood pressure, but the American Diabetes Association says it may also help control weight and lower blood sugar. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute says the diet includes vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products, and limits red meat and sweets.
Best Prediabetes Diet
Lark Diabetes Prevention Program pulls on elements from the above diets to create what we consider to be the best prediabetes diet. Lark's unique coaching offers personalized weight loss and healthy eating plans for each individual. Not only are they healthy and simple, but they are designed to fit into your lifestyle. Check your communications from your employer or health provider to see if Lark is an available benefit for you!