Healthy Eating

When you are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, it’s natural to have questions about what food to eat. Each person with diabetes is different and there is no single diet that suits everyone.

In fact, there are several different eating patterns that you may choose to follow such as the Mediterranean diet or the DASH diet. Whatever diet you decide to follow, the idea is to choose foods that help you to do the following:

  • manage your blood glucose (sugar)
  • manage your weight
  • manage your blood pressure level
  • manage your cholesterol
  • reduce the risk of diabetes complications like stroke or heart attack


A registered dietitian can give more specific advice and help you plan meals to achieve your goals. Until then, use this basic meal planning information for guidance

Local Registered Dietitians

Victoria Middleton

Victoria Middleton

Registered Dietitian
New York City, NY
Yumna Khan

Yumna Khan

Registered Dietitian
Burlington, ON
Margarita deGraaf

Margarita deGraaf

Registered Dietitian
Burlington, ON

How Mindful Eating Can Help Diabetes Management

Mindful eating is listening to your body, and having a healthy relationship with food. So what this means is taking a step back and listening for your hunger cues and your satiety cues. So when you hear your stomach rumbling, this is a sign that you’re hungry and it’s time to eat.

Once you start eating, to actually get the cue to the brain that there’s food there can take up to even 20 minutes. So there’s different types of cues. There are also emotional cues, and this is when we eat in response to an emotion, like feeling sad, or mad, or bored, or stressed.

To implement mindful eating in a day-to-day way, the first step is really listening to your body and listening for those hunger cues. The next steps are trying to eat with no distractions. So this means turning the TV off, turning off the computer, and sitting down at a table.

Next, when you start eating, you want to start by smelling the food, then you want to really chew and savour and taste the food by taking little bites. So sitting at a table, with little distraction, really tasting the food and having pleasure in the foods that you’re eating, that’s what it’s all about.

There is some research showing that people who practise mindful eating have lost weight. But what’s more important is their success in keeping the weight loss. So what happens is mindful eating becomes a habit; it becomes part of the routine, and this is why there’s more success in keeping the weight loss.

Mindful eating is really listening to the body and listening to those hunger cues so we end up eating smaller portions and making healthier options, and this can lead to healthier eating habits and possible weight loss.

Mindful eating can play an important role in diabetes management. Weight loss is the most important and efficient way to help control blood glucose levels. So mindful eating is taking that step back, really listening to the body and the hunger cues, taking away those distractions, and looking at what we’re eating. So by doing this we’re having more success with weight loss, which in turn can then help control blood glucose values.

Here are some tips to practise mindful eating:

• Remember: slow down, listen to your body. Listen to those hunger cues. • Remember that it can take 20 minutes when that food gets into your stomach to send that message to the brain. • Taking the time to chew and really taste your food is so important. • Take away those distractions. Close your phone, turn off the TV, turn off the computer, and really appreciate the food that you’re eating.

For more questions or information on mindful eating, please reach out to your Registered Dietitian or Professional Dietitian and your healthcare team.

Presenter: Ms. Sarah Blunden, Registered Dietitian, Ville Saint-Laurent, QC

Local Practitioners: Registered Dietitian

Healthy Carbohydrates for Glycemic Control

Carbohydrates are starches, fibres and sugars that we can find in different foods. So, there are different food groups that contain carbohydrates, such as our grains and starches, fruits, some vegetables, and dairy and milk.

We also find them in another food group called other. So, this is usually cookies, candies, things like that. Carbohydrates are actually our main fuel and source of energy, and even the brain will use carbohydrates as its source of energy.

In carbohydrates, we find a lot of vitamins, minerals and fibre. So, fibre has a lot of benefit for our body. It can actually help lower our cholesterol levels. It’s very important for the health of our intestines and our digestion. Best of all, it can even help with management of diabetes.

There are different types of carbohydrates, such as short-chain carbohydrates, so these are also called rapid-acting carbohydrates. Meaning that the body will digest them and absorb them quickly or faster, which can actually cause a spike in the blood sugar. Some examples would be juice, white bread and sugar.

Then we have longer-chain carbohydrates, so this takes the body longer to digest and absorb, causing less of an effect on the blood sugar. Examples would be legumes, oats, barley and berries, for example.

When you’re looking for foods, let’s say out in the grocery store, and you’re reading labels, a really important thing to look for is the amount fibre. So, when you choose products that have higher fibre, these are going to take longer to digest.

Carbohydrates can play a very important role in diabetes management. Aiming to choose high-fibre carbohydrates will help in slowing down the digestion, causing less spikes in blood glucose. Also, when choosing carbohydrates, we’re looking at the quality – so meaning high fibre – but also the quantity.

For example, on your plate, a quarter of your plate should be the quantity of carbohydrates, which could equate to about one cup, or a fist. So, for example at a meal, having a cup of cooked barley, or a cup of cooked lentils, for example, on your plate could be your portion of carbohydrates.

Here are some tips: aiming to put more vegetables and legumes on your plate. Looking at the quality of the carbohydrates, so high fibre, and also keeping an eye on the quantity. As you increase your fibre, don’t forget to increase your water as well.

And if you’d like more information, reach out to a Registered Dietitian or a Professional Dietitian, as well as your healthcare team.

Presenter: Ms. Sarah Blunden, Registered Dietitian, Ville Saint-Laurent, QC

Local Practitioners: Registered Dietitian

Sarah Blunden, P.Dt, CDE, CPT, Professional Dietitian, talks about how mindful eating techniques can help with diabetes management.

Sarah Blunden, P.Dt, CDE, CPT, Professional Dietitian, talks about how to eat healthy carbohydrates for a good energy sources and improved glycemic control.

Sarah Ware, B.Sc.(Hons), RD, CDE, discusses Glycemic Index and Blood Glucose Levels

Sarah Blunden, P.Dt, CDE, CPT, Professional Dietitian, talks about how to eat healthy carbohydrates for a good energy sources and improved glycemic control

Diana Steele, BSc, RD, discusses how the DASH diet works for weight loss.

If you’ve been diagnosed with high blood pressure or hypertension, it’s important to follow the DASH diet.

This is the dietary approaches to stop high blood pressure. This diet is high in potassium, magnesium and calcium, low in sodium, saturated and trans fats, and higher in omega 3 fats. In order to do this, you want to try and add more whole grains, so choosing whole grain bread, whole grain pasta, and brown rice, and some alternative grains such as quinoa and millet.

You can also add more fruits and vegetables for potassium: tomatoes, bananas and oranges are great sources of potassium. Lowering your sodium intake by getting rid of the salt shaker and choosing low sodium items is a good choice as well, and having more vegetarian meals to replace some of those high fat meat meals is a good option.

For more information on the DASH diet, contact your local registered dietitian.

Presenter: Ms. Diana Steele, Registered Dietitian, Vancouver, BC

Local Practitioners: Registered Dietitian

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