Diabetic Food Pyramid

How to understand the Diabetic Food Pyramid is the key to  building your diabetic meal plan.

The American Diabetes Association has created this food pyramid for diabetics to make it easier for diabetics like myself to choose the right healthy food to build your diabetic diet.

The Diabetic Food Pyramid

Now the food pyramid is divided into six food groups with each of them are a different size.

As you look at the pyramid the largest food group is at the bottom which represents the food that you can have the most servings.

At the very top of the pyramid is the food group that you should limited the servings.

Breads, Grains and Other Starches

At the bottom is the largest food group where most of your calories should comes from for your diabetic diet. In this section contains mostly carbohydrates which includes bread, rice, cereal and pasta.

Also in this group you will find other starchy vegetables like potatoes , peas and corn.

In this group you also have dried beans like black eyed peas and red kidney beans, The reason these food are in this group is because they contain about the same amount of carbs per serving.

When building your diabetic diet plan tried to aim for 6 to 11 servings from this group, but try to aim the lower end number of servings.

The ideal serving size is 1 slice of bread, ¼ bagel, ¾ cup dried cereal, ⅓ cup of rice or pasta and a ½ cup of potato, peas, corn or cooked beans. 


This group of the diabetic food pyramid includes broccoli, spinach, cabbage, bok choy, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, etc.,

Now remember that there are some starchy veggies are included in the breads and grains food groups. 

Just remember that all vegetables are fine choices for a diabetic diet which offer dietary fiber, vitamins and nutrients.

Most vegetables are low in the glycemic index, but some vegetable are a bit high like carrots, potatoes, corn and beets.

When creating a diabetic diet try to aim for 3 to 5 servings a vegetable a day from this food group with half coming from leafy green veggies.


Fruits like veggie offer some great nutritional value to you diet and a considered a healthy food. Experts say to get 2 to 4 servings of fruit per day.

These include berries, cantaloupe, oranges, apples, pears, bananas, etc. Most fruits are low in on the GI but watermelon are high, mangos, apricots , raisins and  pineapple are medium GI fruits.


Now milk is the next food group on the diabetic food pyramid. 

Milk products are rich in vitamins, calcium and protein.

When consuming milk products make sure they are low in fat or fat free to minimize saturated fats.

You should try to get 2 to 3 servings a day from this food group.

Here is a good example of a serving: 1 cup of milk or  1 cup of yogurt

Meat and Meat Substitutes

This food group includes meats like chicken, beef, turkey, and pork. You can also add out sources of protein like eggs, peanut butter, fish, tofu, cheese, cottage cheese and dried beans.

For you diabetic diet, you should have a protein at every meal. You should eat about 4 to 6 ounces per day.

A 3 ounce servings of meat is about the size of a deck of card. some other protein sources are ¼ cup cottage cheese, 1 egg, 1 tablespoon peanut butter and ½ cup tofu.

Fats, Sweets and Oils

The final food group in the pyramid is also the smallest of the groups for your diabetic diet and should be save for those special occasions.  The foods in this group includes potato chips, cookies, candy, cakes and fried foods.  

In this group contains a lot of sugar and saturated fats. Most of these foods offer little to no nutritional value. Keep your portions small like ½ cup ice cream, 2 cookies or 1 small cupcake.

Also try to minimize the amount of alcoholic drinks as much as possible. 

When creating your diabetic diet, work with your doctor and nutritionist and use the diabetic food pyramid as a good guide for selecting the right foods.

So if you want to monitor and select your carbohydrates using the glycemic index, use the link to their database.  glycemicindex.com.

For more diabetes information check out the Canadians Diabetes 

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