Whether you have diabetes or not,
following the MyPlate guidelines is good for your health. The MyPlate plan can help
you eat a variety of foods while encouraging the right amount of calories and fat.
USDA and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services have prepared the following
food plate to guide you in selecting foods.
MyPlate has 5 food group
categories, stressing the nutritional intake of the following:
Grains. Make half the grains you
eat each day whole grains. Whole-grain foods include oatmeal, whole-wheat flour,
whole cornmeal, brown rice, and whole-wheat bread. Check the food label on
processed foods. The words “whole” or “whole grain” should be listed before the
specific grain in the product.
Vegetables. Vary your vegetables. Choose a variety of
vegetables, including dark green- and orange-colored kinds, legumes (peas and
beans), starchy vegetables, and other vegetables. Healthier choices include buying
fresh, low-sodium, or no-salt added canned versions, or plain, frozen vegetables
that have no added sauces or seasonings.
Fruits. Any fruit or 100% fruit juice counts as part of
the fruit group. Fruits may be fresh, canned, frozen, or dried. They may be whole,
cut up, or pureed. Choose fruits without added sweeteners or sugars.
Dairy. Milk products and many foods made from milk are
considered part of this food group. Focus on fat-free or low-fat products, as well
as those that are high in calcium.
Protein. Go lean with protein. Choose low-fat or lean
meats and poultry. Vary your protein routine. Choose more fish, nuts, seeds, peas,
Oils are not a food group. Yet
some, such as nut oils, contain essential nutrients and should be included in the
The MyPlate Plan also advises eating and drinking less sodium,
saturated fat, and added sugars.
your intake to 2,300 mg per day, or as directed by your healthcare provider. Reduce
the amount of sodium in your diet by choosing fresh, frozen, or canned vegetables
that are low-sodium, reduced sodium, or no-salt-added products and without added
sauces. Choose to cook more at home instead of eating out. And season your food with
herbs and spices instead of salt.
This type of fat is most often found in animal products such as beef and pork. Leaner
animal products, such as skinless chicken breasts or pork loin, contain less
saturated fat. Foods that have more saturated fat are often solid at room
temperature. They are often called “solid” fats, such as butter.
These are in many processed foods and drinks, including regular soda, energy drinks,
fruit drinks, sports drinks, flavored coffee beverages, cookies, cakes, pastries,
candy, ice cream, icing, jams, and syrups. Limit the amount of added sugars you eat
by choosing water or milk over sweetened beverages. You can have fruit for dessert
share a sweet treat with a friend or family member. Or purchase products with no
added sugar like plain yogurt, unsweetened applesauce, or plain dried fruit.
Also include exercise and every day
physical activity with a healthy dietary plan.
For more information about the
Dietary Guidelines for Americans
and to find the right dietary recommendations for your age, sex, and
physical activity level, visit the Online Resources page for the links to the
ChooseMyPlate.gov and 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines sites.
Please note that the MyPlate plan is designed for people older than age 2 who don't
chronic health conditions.
Although the MyPlate plan promotes
health, including the prevention of diabetes and its complications, the American
Diabetes Association (ADA) advises individualized meal plans for people with diabetes.
People with diabetes should talk with their healthcare providers and registered
dietitians (RD) for guidance with meal planning and physical activity.
The number of servings from each
food group may differ for a person with diabetes, based on his or her recommended
treatment plan, diabetic goals, calorie intake, and lifestyle. There are many tools
available to help you follow a diabetes meal plan, including ChooseMyPlate.gov, exchange
lists, and carbohydrate counting. Always talk with your healthcare provider or dietitian
for dietary recommendations and daily physical exercise requirements for your
Grains provide the
body with energy, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Although filled with
carbohydrates that raise blood sugar levels, grains are essential to a
healthy diet. Grains are divided into 2 subgroups: whole grains and
refined grains. Whole grains contain fiber and have less of an effect on
blood sugar levels, compared to refined grains. Examples of grains
vitamins and minerals essential to the body. Many vegetables also contain
fiber. Because they are low in calories when eaten raw or cooked, people
with diabetes are encouraged to eat plenty of vegetables. However, people
with diabetes may still need to count carbohydrates when they eat certain
vegetables, because even nonstarchy vegetables contain some
Fruit can provide
energy, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Fruit also contains natural
sugars, which can raise blood sugar levels. How and when to eat fruit or
drink fruit juices for a person with diabetes is very specific to that
person. Certain fruits can affect blood sugar levels differently in
different people. You may need to experiment to determine how a certain
fruit affects your blood sugar.
Milk and yogurt
Fat-free and low-fat
milk and yogurt provide energy, protein, calcium, vitamins, and minerals.
Fat-free milk is also a good food to treat low blood sugar levels, since
8 ounces contains around the same amount of carbohydrates as 1 serving of
fruit or starch.
Foods that contain
protein help build muscles and body tissue, in addition to providing
vitamins and minerals. Due to the increased risk of heart disease in
people with diabetes, the ADA recommends that people cut down on animal
protein foods. Animal protein foods, like meats, whole-milk products, and
high-fat cheeses contain saturated fat. Other examples of protein foods
include poultry, eggs, fish, beans, nuts, and tofu.
The total fat and
oil intake should be based on your cholesterol levels, blood sugar
control, and lifestyle. Limit the amount of saturated fats you eat and
stay away from trans fats. Trans fats are often found in processed foods
likes pastries, cakes, cookies, crackers, pies, and stick margarines.
Some examples of
healthier fats and oils (lower in saturated fats and higher in mono- and
polyunsaturated fats) include fish, olive oil, olives, nuts, seeds,
canola oil, avocado oil, and avocados.
Because diabetes is
associated with glucose (sugar) levels in the blood, some people think
they should not eat any sugar at all. However, table sugar and other
sugars in your diet don't increase blood glucose levels any higher than
other simple carbohydrates, according to the ADA. Choose natural sugars
(like those in milk and fruit), when possible, and limit the amount of
added sugars in your diet.
How much sugar you
eat depends on your personal diabetes treatment and nutrition plan, and
how well you control your blood sugar levels and blood fats. Always talk
with your healthcare provider or registered dietitian for more specific