Diet is one of the pillars of type 2 diabetes treatment, and an integral part of type 1 diabetes management.

Dietary recommendations for people living with diabetes are similar to those for the general population.

No food is forbbiden!

Some basic tips

  • Cook with fresh, minimally processed foods as often as possible.
  • Eat a wide variety of foods.
  • Take time to enjoy what you eat.
  • Listen to and respect your hunger and satiety signals.
  • Eat three meals a day at regular times.
  • If necessary, eat a nutritious snack to satisfy hunger between meals, meet your nutritional needs or prevent hypoglycemia.
  • Choose fiber-rich foods: whole-grain cereals, legumes, whole fruits and vegetables with the skin, nuts and seeds.
  • Choose low-sodium (salt) foods.
  • Pay attention to the quantity and quality of carbohydrates consumed, while ensuring that they are well distributed throughout the day. The ones in the yellow sections of the balanced plate are sources of carbohydrates that raise blood sugar levels. Read our article on carbohydrates to find out more.

Most people need 45 to 75 g of carbohydrates per meal, and 15 to 30 g of carbohydrates per snack, if necessary.

Get inspired by the balanced plate for your meals!

A closer look: Diet for people living with diabetes. MSSS.2022


  • Half of your plate should be vegetables.
  • Make sure you eat a variety of vegetables.
  • See our article on vegetables for more information.


  • A quarter of your plate should be made up of starchy foods.
  • Choose whole grains and whole-grain cereal products, which contain more fiber.
  • Read our article on starches to find out more.


  • A quarter of your plate should be made up of protein foods.
  • Choose plant-based protein foods (e.g. tofu, legumes) and fish.
  • Read our article on protein foods to find out more.


  • Fruit can be eaten as a dessert or snack. Eat fruit whole, with the skin.
  • See our article on fruits for more information.


  • Water is the ideal beverage for hydration.
  • Carbonated water, homemade flavored waters, herbal teas, unsweetened teas and coffee are also good choices.


  • Choose heart-healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats such as olive oil, canola oil, nuts and seeds, fatty fish and avocados.
  • See our article on fats for more information.

How a registered dietitian can help you?

A meeting with a registered dietitian will provide you with personalized advice. It has been shown that nutritional follow-up with a registered dietitian alone can reduce glycated hemoglobin (A1C) levels by 1-2%.

Helpful resources


External resources

Research and writing: Diabetes Québec’s team of health professionals

July 2023