Foods that diabetics should list in a healthy eating plan include selections of fresh fruit, non-starchy vegetables, low-fat or fat-free dairy products, whole grains, and lean cuts of meat, fish or poultry, according to the American Diabetes Association. Including a variety of spices and seasonings, dried fruits, unsalted nuts, beans, and seeds is also beneficial for managing diabetes.
Diabetics should choose whole-grain products over refined grains with white flour, according to WebMD. The best choices for grains include whole-wheat flour, whole-grain breads and cereals, brown rice, and popcorn or other products made from corn. White rice, white bread and sugary cereal are poor choices. Vegetables that are high in fiber are considered healthy because they are low in fat and sodium, but packaging and preparation are additional factors to consider. Canned vegetables, pickles and sauerkraut tend to have high amounts of added sodium, which diabetic individuals should monitor. Additionally, they should avoid vegetables prepared in heavy butter, cream sauces or cheese or consume them in moderation.
Lean sources of protein, such as skinless poultry, fish, tofu and low-fat cuts of red meat are best for diabetic individuals, as WebMD explains. Beans, eggs, nuts and low-fat cheeses are good substitutions for fried meats, ribs, regular cheeses and foods prepared in heavy fat or lard. Diabetics should also monitor the added sugar in many fruit products and beverages, including fruit juices, flavored coffees and energy drinks, and replace them with water and unsweetened tea or coffee.