Food for Thought with Morgan Atherton, RD, LD

American Diabetes Awareness Month

November is American Diabetes Awareness Month. Each year, 1.5 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes. For those with this disease, regardless of type or age when diagnosed, diets can be difficult and tricky to navigate. When it comes to food, there are three main types of carbohydrates at play: starch, sugar, and fiber. Diabetics need to be mindful of their overall intake of starches and sugar, as these foods break down into glucose, which can greatly elevate blood sugar if consumed in excess. Consistently elevated blood sugar levels can increase risk for many complications down the road if not managed well. Food groups play a big role in diabetes management.

There are best choices within food groups. A best choice is a food that would be a better, healthier option compared to other foods within the same group. Below are some of the healthiest food choices for diabetics.

Non-starchy Vegetables

  • Asparagus
  • Green beans
  • Carrots
  • Cabbage
  • Eggplant
  • Cauliflower
  • Broccoli
  • Mushrooms
  • Tomatoes
  • Spinach
  • Onion
  • Peppers


  • Apple
  • Blueberries
  • Orange
  • Grapefruit
  • Grapes
  • Peaches
  • Pear
  • Plums
  • Cherries

Whole Grain Foods

  • Whole wheat flour
  • Whole oats/oatmeal
  • Whole-grain corn/corn meal
  • Popcorn
  • Brown rice
  • Whole-grain rye
  • Whole-grain barley
  • Wild rice
  • Buckwheat/buckwheat flour
  • Triticale
  • Bulgur (cracked wheat)
  • Millet
  • Quinoa
  • Sorghum


*An overall great tip that can help is to try keeping carb sources in ¼ of your place*. 

For a great look into smart choices for the other food groups, check out the following information from the American Diabetes Association (ADA):

It can seem like a lot to learn and remember when it comes to diets for diabetes. To say it’s challenging would be an understatement! When in doubt, take advantage of all the resources out there… there’s a lot! The ADA’s website is a great source of knowledge and Diabetes Food Hub’s site features many, diabetic friendly recipes. The mentioned websites can be found by clicking on the following: