Secrets to a Good Diet for Prediabetes


If you just found out you have prediabetes, you were probably told you had to exercise, which seems simple enough. But there’s another aspect of addressing prediabetes so many have questions about: your diet. Don’t worry, the great thing about making changes to your diet is that you have control over it. With more knowledge about nutrients and a few meal ideas discussed below, you can design your diet to help you overcome prediabetes. 

First, remember that prediabetes is an indicator that your cells aren’t using glucose as intended due to insulin resistance or inadequate insulin production by the pancreas. When thinking about adjusting your d

The food we eat are the greatest source of glucose in our body and that is why seeking a balance between nutrients and the way the body uses them is essential for the management of prediabetes.

Let’s Talk about Nutrients

Food contains macronutrients like proteins, fats,and carbohydrates as well as micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals. All of them are important for proper health maintenance. 


Proteins: Proteins are found mainly in foods of animal origin such as meat, eggs and cheese as well as in legumes such as beans, lentils and chickpeas. Proteins help us build tissues such as muscle and skin and also facilitate chemical reactions in the body, transport nutrients and other important functions that make our body strong.

Fats: There are two sources of fats: vegetable, such as walnuts, vegetable oils and avocado; and animal, such as lard, bacon, butter and cream. Fats provide us with energy, help us to maintain body temperature and also contribute to the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D, E and K as well as the production of hormones and the making of cell membranes, among other functions.

Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates, on the other hand, mainly provide us with energy in the form of glucose, so we will place greater emphasis on them.

Carbohydrates are found in the food groups of cereals, fruits, vegetables, legumes and dairy and are divided into simple and complex. 

Simple carbohydrates are those that are rapidly absorbed and can raise blood glucose more than necessary, so it is good, if possible, to reduce or eliminate their consumption. Some simple carbohydrates are found in regular sugar, refined flours, honey, soft drinks, juices, etc.

Complex carbohydrates are absorbed slower and contain fiber, so they do not have such a high impact on blood glucose. They are found in vegetables, legumes, bread, tortillas, whole wheat pasta, potatoes and fruits. Since they are absorbed more slowly, eating them is favorable for blood glucose management.

Good and Bad Food?

It must be emphasized that we should not label food as good or bad. A diet with good results in blood glucose depends mainly on the amount of food because, while eating one or two cookies in a meal can be perfectly applicable in a diet plan without raising blood glucose levels too much, eating three mangoes, even if they are fruit and they are natural, they can have an unwanted effect on your levels.

Choosing food that provides protein, another that provides fat and at least two that provide complex carbohydrates at each mealtime can contribute to proper blood glucose management. For example:


1 scrambled egg with spinach and 1 slice of whole wheat bread + 1 cup of papaya with ½ glass of plain yogurt without sugar + 1 chamomile tea without sugar.


¼ cup of walnuts, almonds, or peanuts.


1 roasted unbreaded chicken cutlet + 2 cups of lettuce salad with 1 teaspoon of vinaigrette and avocado + 2 slices of toast + 1/3 cup cooked rice + 1 apple + lemon water without sugar


1 cup jicama and cucumber with chili without salt and lemon


2 quesadillas with panela cheese + avocado + pico de gallo sauce + 1 glass of light milk + ½ pear

As you can see, each meal has one food from each group, the foods are varied (there are different fruits at each mealtime for example) and in moderate portions.

This is an example of a menu but it does not mean that it is suitable for everyone since the portions depend on many variables including your weight, height, age, sex and other characteristics that must be considered when making a meal plan for each person.

Ideally if you have been diagnosed with prediabetes you should approach a health professional who will help you adjust your diet according to your characteristics and needs so you can keep blood glucose within your goals and also feel full and have energy to carry out all your daily activities. We hope this information awakens in you the desire to learn more in order to properly manage your prediabetes.

Related content: 

I Have Prediabetes, Now What?

What is Prediabetes?

Using Small Changes to Overcome Prediabetes 

WRITTEN BY Eugenia Araiza, Diabetes Educator, Nutrition Specialist , POSTED 11/12/20, UPDATED 10/12/22

Eugenia has a degree in nutrition and is a diabetes educator. She was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes 23 years ago. She currently works at Healthy Diabetes She really enjoys studying and helping others to manage their different types of diabetes.