If you've been diagnosed with prediabetes, your doctor will suggest that you make some changes to your diet. Prediabetes is a condition in which your blood sugar level is higher than normal, but not so high that your doctor diagnoses you with Type 2 diabetes. However, unless you lower your blood sugar, you're at risk of Type 2 diabetes, as well as stroke and heart disease. The American Diabetes Association says that by losing just 7 percent of your body weight, you can reduce your chance of diabetes by over 50 percent. A prediabetes diet can help you drop pounds and control your blood sugar. Ask your doctor or a dietitian for help in designing a balanced prediabetes diet menu.
According to registered dietitian Michelle Corcoran, you should have at least three servings of whole grains each day, as well as three servings of fresh fruit and a minimum of five servings of vegetables. A healthy prediabetes diet will also include beans and legumes, low- or non-fat dairy products, fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids and polyunsaturated and monounsaturated sources of fat, such as nuts, olive oil and avocados. For women, EatRight Ontario advises that each meal should contain 45 to 60 grams of carbohydrates. Steer clear of saturated fat, trans fats, cholesterol and excessive sodium.
A typical breakfast on a prediabetes diet menu plan might consist of whole-grain cereal with non-fat milk, topped with raw walnuts and accompanied by a piece of fruit, such as a pear. Choose an unsweetened cereal that contains at least 4 grams of dietary fiber per cup. In addition, consume whole fruit rather than fruit juice, since fruit juice contains significantly more sugar and less fiber. A high intake of fiber is linked to lower blood sugar levels and a decreased risk of heart disease, reports MayoClinic.com. This breakfast provides about 60 grams of carbohydrates.
On a prediabetes diet, lunch may be vegetable soup and fresh grapes paired with half of a turkey sandwich prepared on whole-grain bread. Keep your saturated fat and cholesterol intake low by leaving off cheese and mayonnaise and spreading the bread with mustard or mashed ripe avocado instead. Add in more vegetables and fiber by tucking spinach or romaine lettuce leaves into the sandwich. This lunch supplies a woman with 45 grams of carbohydrates.
Dinner while you're on a prediabetes diet could be baked or grilled fish, a medium-sized baked potato with its skin intact, steamed vegetables, non-fat milk and fruit for dessert. This dinner supplies about 50 grams of carbohydrates. Eat fish instead of meat or poultry whenever possible; to benefit your heart, the American Heart Association recommends eating 3.5 ounces of fish at least two times weekly. The omega-3 fatty acids in fish like salmon, herring and albacore tuna can lower your blood triglyceride levels and help prevent heart disease. Avoid high-mercury fish like swordfish, king mackerel or tilefish, especially if you're planning on becoming pregnant.
To help keep your carbohydrate intake steady throughout the day -- and prevent sharp spikes and drops in your blood sugar -- you should have several snacks on a prediabetes diet. It's best for each to contain between 15 and 30 grams of carbohydrates. Some choices include whole-wheat crackers with low-fat cheese, vegetable sticks with a low-fat dip, unsalted nuts and dried fruit, air-popped popcorn tossed with a few tablespoons of Parmesan cheese or fresh fruit.
Michelle Kerns writes for a variety of print and online publications and specializes in literature and science topics. She has served as a book columnist since 2008 and is a member of the National Book Critics Circle. Kerns studied English literature and neurology at UC Davis.