Though there is no one best diet for blood sugar control, it is possible to take good care of yourself and your diabetes with an overall healthy diet. Managing type 2 diabetes with diet and exercise is often the first recommended step after the initial diagnosis of diabetes.

Trying new recipes is a great way to incorporate new foods and dishes. New recipes can keep a fresh variety of foods in your diet and keep you from becoming bored and returning to less healthy eating habits. Good recipes for type 2 diabetes include many nutritional components, like produce, whole grains, healthy fats, and lean protein.

Must-Haves for Type 2 Diabetes Recipes 

Healthy recipe choices for people with type 2 diabetes should include items from the categories of whole grains, produce, lean proteins, and healthy fats. These components are listed below with example foods in each group.

Whole grains

  • Quinoa
  • Brown rice
  • Whole-wheat flour
  • Barley
  • Oats

Healthy fats

  • Olive oil
  • Canola oil
  • Avocado
  • Nuts and seeds


  • Berries, like blackberries, blueberries, raspberries
  • Apples
  • Kiwi
  • Bananas
  • Pineapple

Non-starchy vegetables

  • Green beans
  • Tomatoes
  • Squash, like zucchini or yellow squash
  • Snap peas
  • Greens, like collards, spinach, kale
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Onions

Lean proteins

  • White meat turkey or chicken
  • Lean cuts of pork, like pork loin
  • Lean types of beef, like flank steak or 93% lean ground beef
  • Fish
  • Tofu
  • Beans
  • Tempeh

Keep an eye on the suggested serving size and the number of servings per recipe. Eating multiple servings of even a healthy food or recipe can cause problems with your diet management.

Foods To Avoid

  • High-fat foods, such as fried foods, high-fat meats, and full-fat dairy products
  • Trans fats usually found in vegetable shortening, hydrogenated oils, or shelf-stable baked goods
  • Sugary-sweet foods, like cakes, cookies, and candy
  • Sugar-sweetened beverages, like sweet tea, regular soda, or fruit juices
  • Highly processed foods, like packaged meats or packaged snack and meal foods

Obese woman eating donut

How To Find a Great Recipe for Managing Type 2 Diabetes

Diabetes recipes should contain healthy ingredients but can also be delicious. Healthy diabetes recipes include a balance of carbohydrates, protein, and fat. National organizations like the American Diabetes Association and American Heart Association have many cookbooks available, and their websites also have suggested recipes. A local library is excellent for checking out cookbooks or browsing different recipes. Try cookbooks that focus on healthier eating, like vegetarian, vegan, heart-healthy, or whole-grain cooking.

Helpful Cooking Tools for Managing Diabetes

Multicooker (example: instant pot): Multicookers containing a pressure cooker component can save much time in the kitchen. Multicookers can save time in these ways: cooking a big batch of whole grains to eat