Foods in a prediabetes diet

Prediabetes is a warning sign that you are heading for type 2 diabetes. The good news is that you’ve caught it early enough to turn the train around and prevent your condition from getting worse.

Making lasting changes to your diet helps help to reverse prediabetes for good.

This article outlines the staples to eat and avoid for prediabetes, as well as a free PDF menu plans explicitly tailored for prediabetics.

What is prediabetes, and how should the diet be?

Prediabetes is characterized by having high blood sugar (glucose) levels but not high enough to be considered diabetic.

This is often caused by insulin resistance (we will explain this later). However, there are many things you can do right now to make things better.

According to the World Diabetes Association, you have prediabetes if:

  • Hemoglobin a1c is between 5.7 and 6.4%
  • Fasting blood glucose is between 100-125 mg / dL
  • Oral glucose tolerance test 2 hours after eating reads between 140-199 mg / dL

So what does this mean?

These statistics generally measure insulin resistance, which means that your body is not using insulin correctly. Insulin is a hormone released by the pancreas in response to glucose. When your body uses insulin correctly, the process looks like this:

Think of insulin as a key and your cells as a lock. In someone who does not have insulin resistance, insulin unlocks cells, so glucose leaves the bloodstream and enters cells for energy.

In someone with insulin resistance, it is as if the cells have changed their locks. Insulin can no longer interact with cells and be used for energy. Instead, glucose stays in the bloodstream, causing the blood sugar level to remain high. As a result, these blood sugar levels show up on your lab tests.

Foods in a prediabetes diet

As part of a prediabetes diet, we recommend eating foods moderately low in carbohydrates and taking longer to digest. This helps prevent blood sugar levels from spiking from a big glucose burst.

Including foods rich in fiber, lean protein, and foods with a low glycemic index is essential in a menu for prediabetics. Examples of healthy food groups for prediabetics are described below:

  1. Foods rich in fiber

High-fiber foods are digested and absorbed more slowly in the gastrointestinal system, causing a slower rise in blood sugar. This helps prevent quick “sugar spikes.”

  • Steel-cut oats
  • Whole grain bread ground to the stone
  • Beans and legumes
  • Fruits and vegetables
  1. Lean proteins

Prediabetes has been linked to other chronic conditions, such as heart disease. Including more lean proteins in place of proteins with higher saturated fat content can have a cardioprotective effect.

  • Eggs
  • Chicken
  • Fatty fish like salmon
  • Greek yogurt
  • Walnuts
  1. Low glycemic index foods

Food’s glycemic index reflects how quickly a given food will raise blood sugar. To avoid drastic spikes in blood sugar, choose foods with a low glycemic index:

  • Non-starchy vegetables
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Pumpkin
  • Quinoa
  • Whole wheat pasta
  1. Functional foods

Many “functional” foods can regulate blood sugar levels. Functional foods are natural foods that have been shown to have additional medicinal benefits beyond essential nutrition.

  • Cinnamon
  • Chia seeds
  • Turmeric
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Flax seeds
  • Apple cider vinegar

Foods to Avoid on a Prediabetes Diet

As part of your prediabetes diet, we recommend avoiding the food groups described below as much as possible. These foods tend to lack nutrients and have a high glycemic index, which can cause drastic spikes in blood sugar. If you have prediabetes, try to eat these foods and ingredients in moderation:

  1. Ultra-processed and refined foods

Processed and refined foods are deficient in fiber and nutrients, which tend to be absorbed more quickly from the gastrointestinal tract. These are the types of foods that not only cause drastic spikes in blood sugar, but some are also trans fat. Some examples of foods are:

  • Non-whole grain bread, donuts, cookies
  • White pasta
  • White rice
  • Frozen pizzas
  • Packaged snacks
  1. Foods rich in sugar and sweeteners

Foods high in sugar will cause a rapid rise in blood sugar, so avoiding these foods is essential for managing prediabetes. So instead of these foods, try incorporating some fresh fruits to satisfy your sweet tooth!

  • Sweetened breakfast cereals
  • Sugary drinks like soda
  • Alcohol
  • They have flavored coffee drinks.

Sample menu for prediabetes with PDF

The prediabetes menu presented was adapted based on work published by Wendy Gregor of Sutter Health. (1)

The following describes what a weekly menu for prediabetes would look like:

  1. Monday
  • Breakfast: 1 cup oatmeal porridge, 1 tsp chopped almonds, 1 tsp flax seeds
  • Lunch: Chicken sandwich (on two slices of whole wheat or rye bread), raw vegetables, one tablespoon of hummus
  • Dinner: Fish (120 g) with baked sweet potatoes (half a cup). Salad: 3 large lettuce leaves, one cucumber, half a lemon, and a slice of Parmesan cheese.
  1. Tuesday
  • Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with two whole wheat toasts and green juice
  • Lunch: Green salad, 1 cup pumpkin soup with lean cheese
  • Dinner: Chicken fillet sautéed with vegetables: peppers, onion, eggplant, etc.) and 120 grams of brown rice.
  1. Wednesday
  • Breakfast: 1 cup oatmeal porridge, 1 tsp chopped almonds, 1 tsp flax seeds
  • Lunch: Tuna salad, 150 grams of light yogurt without sugar, and a serving of fruit
  • Dinner: Chicken breast (110 grams) with pumpkin puree (one cup), sautéed broccoli (half a cup)
  1. Thursday
  • Breakfast: unsweetened oatmeal pancake (2 egg whites and 3 tbsp oats), one apple, cinnamon, almond milk
  • Lunch: 1 cup of vegetable soup, turkey wrap (120 grams) with raw vegetables (150 grams)
  • Dinner: 1 cup of spaghetti squash with bolognese sauce (100 grams), 1 cup of milk
  1. Friday
  • Breakfast: 1 cup oatmeal porridge, 1 tsp chopped walnuts, 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • Lunch: sautéed chicken with wok vegetables, mushrooms, and sesame sticks. One handful of blueberries. Green Tea.
  • Dinner: 2 slices of whole wheat thin pizza, creamy dessert without sugar, skim with blueberries
  1. Saturday
  • Breakfast: Sandwich with nopal, ham, and gratin cheese. One serving of fruit and green tea
  • Lunch: Skim white cheese (50 grams)
  • One tomato, whole grain croutons (50 grams), tofu (50 grams), 1⁄2 cup of kale, one serving of fruit
  • Dinner: 100 grams of shrimp, one zucchini, 1 cup of cubed zucchini, olive oil, cheese, and arugula.
  1. Sunday
  • Breakfast: 2 slices of French toast with whole wheat bread and unsweetened jam
  • Lunch: Quinoa salad, 1⁄2 cup of quinoa, chicken breast with soy sauce (120g), sesame seeds, half a tomato
  • Dinner: 120 grams of pan-fried fish, 1 cup of sauteed vegetables, 2/3 cup of brown rice

Snacks permits:

Very low in carbohydrates – (For when blood sugar is over 140)

  • Raw green vegetables
  • Tomato with low-fat cheese
  • 1 handful of nuts
  • Celery with unsweetened peanut butter
  • Boiled eggs

15 grams of carbohydrates – (By the time blood sugar is 100 – 140)

  • 1 cup strawberries
  • One serving of light yogurt with flax or sesame seeds
  • One medium orange
  • ½ banana
  • ½ cup light ice cream
  • Two pieces of chocolate 70% cocoa

30 grams of carbohydrates – (For when blood sugar is less than 100)

  • 2 cups of cantaloupe and strawberries, chopped
  • 1 serving of light yogurt and fruits
  • 1 orange and three crackers
  • ½ cup per corn (corn)
  • 1 cup unsweetened diet ice cream

General guide:

  • Women 30-45 grams of carbohydrates per meal
  • Men: 45-60 grams of carbohydrates per meal
  • Fiber 25-35 grams per day
  • Total Fat: 33-50 grams – Maximum 9-14 grams of saturated fat
  • Proteins: 1.0 – 1.5 grams per kilo of body weight per day
  • Maximum sodium 1500 mg per day

Or, if you prefer, you can download the PDF version:


Prediabetes is as if it were the alarm signal of risk of having type 2 diabetes. The most crucial factor for prediabetes is diet; therefore, adhering to a good and balanced menu can be the solution to the problem. Eating foods that help maintain blood sugar levels will help reduce the risk of future complications.


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