There is no such thing as a “diabetic diet” it is merely a healthy eating plan.  Most of us know what we SHOULD be eating, yet we do not necessarily implement this in our daily lives.

Most of the health issues (diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol) that our society is burdened with today (locally and internationally) are related to unhealthy eating habits: too much fast food, too many sugary drinks, too many sweets and cakes and cookies, too much alcohol, too much food per meal…. and the list goes on.  Along with our busy lifestyles, many of us don’t find the time to exercise either, and when one puts the 2 together you have a time bomb waiting to explode.

“If you cannot find time for health, find time for illness”

Some general principles that should be adopted as part of a healthy eating plan

PLEASE NOTE: The information below is merely a guide and should not replace the advice given to you by your doctor or dietician.

  1. Eat at regular intervals throughout the day, and try and distribute the carbohydrates evenly across all 3 meals. Instead of eating fruit with meals, save these and eat them as a snack mid-morning and mid-afternoon. Eat about 2-3 servings of medium-sized fruit per day. 
  2. Manage the portions of food that are consumed at each meal
  3. Trim off any excess fat before cooking
  4. Avoid fast foods and sugar foods


To make managing portions simple and easy to implement, the Idaho Plate Method has been implemented and adopted by most diabetes societies.

The average plate size is 23 cm. Using a ruler measure across the middle of the plate (as indicated by the line in the middle of the plate above), and this should measure 23cms.  If the diameter of the plate is >23cm, then the plate is too large.  The problem with using a plate that is too large, is that one is tempted to “fill” it and hence the problem with portion sizes.

Once the correct plate size has been selected, draw an imaginary line down the middle of the plate, and then cutting the lower section in half, one has the “perfect” plate model for distribution of food within a meal across the different food groups.  NOTE: you cannot pile the plate high as this defeats the object of portion control.  ½ the plate should be filled with vegetables (cooked or raw); ¼ of the plate should be filled with ‘starchy” vegetables, and ¼ of the plate should be filled with protein.

The correct vs. incorrect way to dish up a plate of food. Always to be careful not to “overload” the plate with food (bottom 2 visuals). The correct way to dish up a plate of food is show in the top 2 visuals.

Click here to see a healthy eating plan.  The information in the healthy eating plan is based on 1600 Calories (6720kJ) and 2000 Calories (8400kJ) per day. The table outlines daily portions and food groups that should be combined to make up the 3 meals per day, with snacks being fruit options between meals. 

This is merely a guideline and should be used merely as such and should not replace the guidance given to you your doctor or dietician.

The 2 main aims of healthy eating plans for people with diabetes are to assist in the management of blood glucose levels, and weight loss (or maintenance).  For people with diabetes living with the co-morbidities of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and obesity, the healthy eating plan also assists in limiting salt and fat intake, thus assisting with the management of the co-morbidities.