A person with type 2 diabetes should eat a diet consisting of foods that contain plenty of nutrients and minimal fats and calories. Healthy carbohydrates such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes and low-fat dairy products should be the focus of most meals, notes Mayo Clinic.
Simple and complex carbohydrates break down into blood glucose, so they should be avoided in favor of healthier carbohydrates. Foods that have plenty of fiber are ideal, as fiber helps to regulate blood sugar levels, and they also lower the risk of heart disease. Some excellent choices include beans, peas and lentils. Other fiber-rich foods include wheat bran, whole-wheat flour, vegetables and fruits, states Mayo Clinic.
Eating fish twice per week is recommended by Mayo Clinic. Some examples of healthy fish include mackerel, halibut, tuna and cod. Other options are salmon, bluefish and sardines. Foods that contain monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, such as avocados, nuts and olives, can keep cholesterol levels down, but they should be consumed in small quantities. Foods that contain cholesterol, trans fats or saturated fats should be avoided whenever possible, notes Mayo Clinic.
Speaking to a dietitian is the best way to form an individualized meal plan. Diets vary depending on many factors, including age, size and level of physical activity. A dietitian can recommend carb counting methods, explain the glycemic index and create a sample menu that can be used as a template. A diabetes diet is not very restrictive, and mainly requires healthy food choices and eating habits, according to Mayo Clinic.