The Best and Worst Foods for Diabetic Patients

healthy food for diabetic patients, caring for elderly

If you have a loved one with diabetes, planning their meals may seem like walking on a tightrope at times. They can eat this, but not that. They can have some of this, but none of that.

We’re here to make it easier for you. Here’s the low-down on some of the best and worst foods for diabetic patients.


Ban all fats from their diet? Not a great idea. Some fats such as monounsaturated fats can lower cholesterol and help protect heart health while saturated and trans fats are those to avoid.

Best bets:

  • Avocado
  • Nuts like pecans, peanuts, walnuts, and almonds 
  • Olive and canola oil
  • Peanut Butter
  • Pumpkin and sunflower seeds
  • Fatty fish, such as salmon and albacore tuna

Worst offenders:

  • Butter, lard
  • Cream sauces
  • High-fat red meats, such as 20% ground beef, T-bone steaks, ribs, pork shoulder roast and pork chops
  • Processed meats, such as hot dogs and sausage
  • Whole-fat dairy products


Fruits are healthy, high in fiber and provide important nutrients you’re not going to get in other foods. The key: portion control.

Best bets:

  • Fresh fruits
  • Frozen fruits
  • Canned fruits in its own juice or water

Worst offenders:

  • Canned fruits with added sugar or in syrup
  • Fruit juice or punch with added sugars
  • Jam, jelly, and preserves
  • Dried fruits with added sugars


Like fruit, vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber and low in calories. But not all veggies are alike when it comes to diabetes. Non-starchy vegetables, like broccoli, tomatoes, and carrots, are low in carbs. But starchy vegetables (think potatoes and corn) are one of the main sources of carbohydrates, so carb counters should eat them in moderation.

Best bets:

  • Fresh vegetables served raw, steamed, roasted or grilled
  • Dark, leafy greens like kale, collards, and spinach  
  • Steamed frozen vegetable
  • Canned vegetables low in sodium
  • 100% vegetable juice-low or reduced sodium

Worst offenders:

  • Canned or frozen vegetables with added sodium, fat or sugar
  • Vegetables cooked with butter or creamy sauces


When it comes to grains, whole grains are the most nutritious—full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Whole wheat, high fiber, and less processed foods provide the best response on blood sugar and are the healthiest. But buying whole grain foods can be tricky. The package may tout whole grain as an ingredient, but it may be a small amount. The whole grain should be listed first on the nutrition label.

Best bets:

  • Bread, crackers, and pasta made with 100% whole wheat flour
  • Oatmeal
  • Bran cereal
  • Brown and wild rice
  • Quinoa
  • Bulgur
  • Whole grain barley
  • Popcorn

Worst offenders:

  • Foods such as bread, pasta, cereal and crackers made with refined grains
  • Instant rice or instant noodles


Now that you know the worst foods for diabetic patients, it should make it easier to plan their meals. Here’s a simple formula:

  • Fill half the plate with non-starchy veggies

  • Fill ¼ with whole grains like brown rice and quinoa

  • Fill the remaining quarter with a lean protein such as chicken, fish or beans.

  • Add a serving of fruit or dairy (or both) as the meal plan allows.

Read more articles on eldercare: 

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Marigold Caregivers provides in-home caregivers and nurses to care for seniors. Give us a call at +65 9109 1965 for more information.

Disclaimer: The words and other content provided in this blog, and in any linked materials, are not intended and should bot be construed as medical advice. If the reader or any other person has a medical concern, he or she should consult with an appropriately-licenced physician or other healthcare workers.

Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog or in any linked materials.

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