How Should I Eat If I Am Prediabetic?

How Should I Eat If I Am Prediabetic?

Are you wondering how should I eat if I am prediabetic?

If you have prediabetes, you may be curious about how your diet can help manage your blood sugar levels. 

Without a doubt, prediabetes rates are on the rise, and your diet and lifestyle habits have a direct correlation with the condition. 

Whether you have recently been diagnosed or want to understand more about maintaining optimal blood-glucose levels, these dietary recommendations can lead you in the right direction!

Can you reverse prediabetes with diet and exercise? Find out in my full blog post on the topic!


What is Prediabetes?

Prediabetes is a health condition where your blood sugar levels are higher than usual but not high enough to be classified as type 2 diabetes. 

Prediabetes is the stage before type 2 diabetes. Because of this, there is an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. 

To be diagnosed with prediabetes, you have either:

  • Fasting blood glucose level ranging somewhere between 100-125 mg/dL
  • A glucose level of 140 to 199 mg/dL measured 2 hours after a 75-g oral glucose load
  • Glycated hemoglobin level (HbA1C) of 5.7% to 6.4% or 6.0% to 6.4%

Prediabetes is a warning sign that individuals should start implementing healthier lifestyles, dietary choices, and activity levels to prevent any further progression of type 2 diabetes. 

That being said, diet and physical activity are first-line treatments for prediabetes!  


Understanding Prediabetes

More specifically, prediabetes is “impaired glucose metabolism,” meaning the body has difficulty regulating glucose (blood sugar) levels to stay in the normal blood sugar range (below 100 mg/dL). 

Next, prediabetes occurs because of insulin resistance and dysfunction of specific cells in your pancreas since these components are responsible for blood sugar regulation. 

So, what does this mean? Let’s break it down. 

  • Insulin Resistance: Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that is responsible for the adequate regulation of blood glucose by absorbing glucose from the bloodstream. In prediabetes, cells in the body become less responsive to the effects of insulin, so large concentrations of glucose continue to stay in the bloodstream. Even more, insulin resistance leads to type 2 diabetes.  
  • Pancreatic Beta Cells: The pancreas contains cells called “pancreatic beta cells.” These cells are responsible for producing insulin. For example, if these beta cells do not function properly, there could be low insulin levels and heightened blood glucose levels. 

Further, the combination of insulin resistance and beta cell issues can lead to prediabetes. 

You may be wondering, what can lead to insulin resistance? 


  1. Genetics: Insulin resistance can be genetic, making someone more susceptible to prediabetes from birth, even with healthy lifestyle habits. 
  2. Physical Inactivity: Physical activity supports insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism. A lack of physical activity is a significant risk factor for insulin resistance. 
  3. Dietary Choices: Next, diets contributing to inflammation and obesity are risk factors for prediabetes. Food choices high in refined carbohydrates, sugars, saturated fats, high-fat meats, and processed foods can lead to insulin resistance. Further, the diet is a lifestyle intervention that plays a crucial role in prediabetes.
  4. Aging: Over time, insulin resistance naturally begins to occur. Other factors like diet and exercise status can progress this natural occurrence.  
  5. Obesity: Obesity is a major risk factor for prediabetes, as excess fat correlates with insulin resistance. Fat, also called adipose tissue, releases adipokines, which can corrupt insulin’s glucose regulation. 


How Should I Eat If I Am Prediabetic?

How should I eat if I am prediabetic

First off, healthy diet choices are crucial for managing prediabetes and reducing the risk of progressing to type 2 diabetes. 

Here are some general dietary guidelines important for those with prediabetes:


Increase Intake of nutrient-dense foods like:

  • Non-Starchy Vegetables
    • Leafy greens 
    • Broccoli 
    • Cauliflower 
    • Brussels sprouts 
    • Bell peppers 
    • Cucumbers 
    • Tomatoes 
  • Whole Grains 
    • Quinoa 
    • Brown rice
    • Oats 
    • Barley 
  • Lean Protein Sources
    • Chicken, Turkey 
    • Fish 
    • Lean cuts of beef or pork 
    • Tofu and tempeh 
    • Legumes (lentils, chickpeas, and black beans)
  • Healthy Fats 
    • Avocados 
    • Nuts & seeds 
    • Fish 
  • Fruit 
  • Dairy or dairy alternatives 
    • Skim or low-fat milk 
    • Soy milk 
    • Almond milk 
  • Water: continue to stay well-hydrated with non-sugar drinks like water, infused water, or herbal teas. 
  • Increase high-fiber foods 
    • Lentils
    • Chia seeds
    • Flax seeds
    • Whole fruits and vegetables 


Foods to limit with prediabetes:

  • Refined carbohydrates 
    • White bread
    • White rice 
    • Cereals 
    • Pastries 
  • Sugary foods and beverages 
    • Soda 
    • Candy 
  • Processed and pre-packaged foods 
  • High-fat meats: high-fat meats are generally high in added sugars, refined carbohydrates, sodium, and saturated fats.  
    • Packaged snack foods 
    • Fast-food meals 
    • Instant noodles or pre-packaged noodles 
    • Sugary beverages 
  • Excessive alcohol intake 

Furthermore, keeping track of what works best for you is essential, too! 


How Do I Prevent Blood Sugar Spikes?

Here are a few dietary tips that may help monitor glucose spikes:

Dietitian Tip #1: 

Skipping meals may cause unstable blood-glucose levels. 

Stay on a semi-structured eating pattern to support regular eating habits for blood sugar control. This schedule can be personal and unique to you. Additionally, keeping a food journal can allow you to create the best meal schedule for you!

Dietitian Tip #2: 

Portion control can aid in regulating blood sugar levels by being mindful of how much food you eat during meals or snacking. 

If you want to control portions, it is crucial to be mindful of hunger cues, have balanced portion sizes, and decrease overeating. 

Even further, overeating can cause immense glucose spikes, leading to even greater insulin sensitivity or more complicated health concerns. 

Avoiding distractions while eating can help you to stay more mindful of feelings of fullness or satiety. 


Professional Support for Managing Prediabetes

How should I eat if I'm prediabetic

Having personalized care from a healthcare professional can make a massive difference in blood-glucose management! 

Primary care physicians and registered dietitians help those with prediabetes find the best plan in prediabetes care. 

In addition, meal plans, lifestyle modification goals like diet and exercise habits, and medications are some examples of how healthcare professionals can support those with prediabetes. 

Have more questions about prediabetes, prevention, and access to nutrition support?  

Head over to my services page to learn more about my 1:1 premium nutrition services with an expert diabetes dietitian to make prediabetes management less stressful!

Lastly, your visit may be 100% covered by your insurance. That’s right- you can see me for little to no payment on your part. Find out more here!


How Should I Eat If I Am Prediabetic: Takeaways

Overall, lifestyle modifications, including keeping a healthy diet, having regular exercise, and appropriate weight management techniques as needed, are crucial for preventing and managing insulin resistance. 

I hope this article answers your question about how should I eat if I am prediabetic. 

For someone with prediabetes, whole grains, non-starchy vegetables, whole fruits,  healthy fats, lean proteins, fish, and legumes are great dietary choices for blood-sugar maintenance and care. 

Remember, food is medicine! Working with a healthcare professional such as a registered dietitian near you can ensure optimal strategies are being implemented for unique and personal care. 

All in all, prediabetes is absolutely manageable with support and personal dedication to healthier lifestyle habits. 

Amy’s Three Killer Tips to Grocery Shopping Like a Champ


I hope you are having an all-star start to your week. Coming off the weekend is alway tough. However, there is no day better than Monday to get back on track. It is time to shake off the Monday blues and bring your focus back to healthy eating. Your first stop – the grocery store. Today I am here to provide you with my three absolute BEST tips to grocery shopping like the champ you are. Put down that grocery store hater-ade and grab yourself a cart. Things are about to get fun!



grocery shopping tips

Grab a cart and get your shop on 🙂



I ♥ grocery shopping


Grocery shopping is pretty much one of my favorite past times. I guess you could even call it a hobby of some sort! Anyone who knows me – knows I love grocery stores. No matter where in the world I might be I am constantly on the look out for grocery stores so I can check out the latest and greatest food finds.


However, with that being said shopping aimlessly is never a good thing. BAD things happen in grocery stores for Amy Plano when she does not have a plan. And I can only imagine the same goes for many of you! Please tell me I am not alone?


So today I am going to rattle off some of my top ticks for staying on track with your diet at the grocery store. I know none of these are new concepts to you. However, if you are like me, I can ALWAYS benefit from gentle reminders on how to improve my behavior.



Game plan it on Friday



I have a rule for myself on Friday afternoons. I cannot leave until I have written down at least two things I am cooking for dinner for the up and coming week. For the other meals I fill in the blanks with leftovers or go-to meals. Easy ones like baked chicken thighs or flank steak on the grill rounding out with some Trader Joe’s frozen veggies. However, I must have two concrete (not made up in my head as I have a tendency to do!) meals that I commit to making before I walk out the door. No ifs, ands or buts about it. That way when I go to the grocery store I am exciting about what I am buying.




I generally just pull up my Pinterest board called “Dinner” (yes – super original) and see what looks interesting and is hopefully in season. Here is the link for my dinner board in case you need some inspiration. Once I have identified the recipes I jot down the ingredients I will need in my spiral plain Jane notebook. This when I go home I know what I need and can compare it against what foods I already have.




A typical entry might look like this:



Monday: Baked chicken thighs, Trader Joe’s frozen sweet potatoes & broccoli

Tuesday: Egg Roll in a Bowl

Wednesday: Sushi

Thursday: Crock Pot Chicken Chili

Friday: Low Carb Chicken Quesadillas with cabbage lime slaw

Saturday: Out

Sunday: Flank Steak, Baked Potatoes and Salad



It is important to note these dinner recipes do not need to be fancy! Nor does your weekly ‘meal plan’ need to be elaborate. People get wrapped up in the semantics. They say to themselves I don’t know what to make that is healthy. Come on. You know what is healthy and what is not. You do not need me to tell you day-day what you should eat. These meals should be something everyone enjoys and resembles something relatively healthy. Depending upon your family the term relatively healthy likely means different things. But don’t sweat the small things.




Just write it down – the very act of writing things down help sets you up to succeed. Plan to succeed right from the start.



food journal

I know you have heard this quote a zillion times – but the message never gets old.




By planning ahead on Friday you will save yourself a ton of stress, time and money at the grocery store. It really puts YOU in the driver seat rather than leaving your meals to chance. So many of my patients do awesome all day with healthy eating. But then dinner rolls around and nothing is planned – so they reach for what is most convenient but not always healthy. They then beat themselves up. By coming up with a plan before the fact this can easily be avoided.



Because you and I both know when we go to the grocery store with no meals planned – food goes to waste and we come home with food but no meals = no bueno 🙁  It’s like having a closet full of awesome clothes – but no perfect “outfits”. We aint’ got time for that!




Make a list and stick with it



DO NOT step foot in any grocery store without a list. Okay – I admit I am the worst at this. However, we all need to raise the bar and follow through with grocery list making. Maybe I should start a self-help group for this? Honestly.  I don’t care if you need to scribble the list down on a receipt you find in your purse. You MUST have a shopping list BEFORE you step foot in that grocery store.


grocery store

Just write it down – the very act of writing things down sets you up to succeed




Shopping with a list is so critical. Not only does it save money because you are only buying exactly what you need – it also saves you from buying less than stellar foods that were not on your list. By making a list and sticking to it you can get in and out of the grocery store without cruising down every aisle wondering, “Do I need these delicious bourbon pickles from Traders?” – nope not on the list. Move on sista’!




The Type A person in me likes to arrange my list on how the store is set up.  The list often starts with vegetables, then fruit, next protein and ultimately the dairy aisle. That way I don’t need to back track. Also the crazy dietitian in me likes to play a game when I grocery shop. I like to see if I can only manage to shop the perimeter of the grocery store. As it is really in the aisles that most people get into trouble with processed foods. Sometimes I am successful – sometimes not. However, I do make a point to spend more time out of the aisles if possible. But sometimes those Ghost Pepper Potato Chips do call my name in aisle 3.



Never ever shop hungry


I know this one is really a no brainer – but nothing good ever comes of going to the grocery store hungry. I don’t care what you eat – whether it be a meal or a snack – but dear friend please have something! If not everything looks good. You end up buying things that you would have never have even contemplated putting in your cart. If you go astray – always try to J.E.R.F. If you do that – then the damage might not be too bad.


grocery shopping tips



And guess what? If it ends up in your cart – it ends up in your house. And if it is in your house — you will likely eat it 🙂


So why not avoid this nonsense all together? Keep healthy snacks in your car. Some suggestions include single serving packs of almonds, RX bars, single serving packet of trail mix, small bags of popcorn, and my personal favorite beef jerky.



Well my friends that is hopefully motivation on this Monday to get your butt in gear.  Happy grocery shopping and hope to see you at Traders, Shop Rite, Whole Foods, Aldi’s or Costco or any other grocery store in between.



Need help navigating the jungle that we call the grocery store? Did you know the dietitians at The Plano Program conduct both one-one and group grocery shopping tours? Well we sure do!  Email us us at to sign up.

Hugs & High Fives,

  food journal



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