Prediabetes diet plan for beginners (with a free meal plan PDF!)

low glycemic diet prediabetes
prediabetes diet plan

Prediabetes is a condition in which blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes. It is often associated with obesity, and can lead to complications that include heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney failure, amputation, and even death.

This Prediabetes diet plan follows a low glycemic way of eating to help you lose weight, improve your blood sugar levels, and reduce your risk of developing diabetes. At the end of the day, a healthy diet should consist of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, and lean proteins. Avoid sugary drinks, refined carbohydrates, and trans fats.

What is the glycemic index?

The Glycemic Index is the measurement of the rate at which any food (carbohydrate) raises your blood sugar levels. One thing to note about GI is that proteins and fats do not raise blood sugar. Naturally low glycemic index foods like eggs or olive oil do not have an impact when it comes to low glycemic eating as they do not contain glucose.

Glycemic Index is measured as the following:

  • 0-55 = low
  • 56-69 = medium 
  • 70+ = high

A food that is high on the glycemic index will spike your blood sugar really fast and after about an hour, your blood sugar will dip really low. 

If you have prediabetes, you need to balance out your blood sugar levels from these highs and lows—and thankfully, it’s simpler than you think. Well + Easy is here to make this transition to a lower GI and healthy diet easier. The following prediabetes diet plan are the general guidelines but there’s still a lot of flexibility. Be sure to download the free start kit below for your free 7-day meal plan.

Pre-diabetes diet plan guidelines 

Eat more fruits and vegetables

Eating more fruits and vegetables will help lower your risk of developing prediabetes. This is because these foods contain fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other nutrients that promote good health. They also provide satiety, meaning they make you feel fuller longer.

Recommended reading: 7 foods to include in your breakfast for prediabetes

Cut back on sugary foods

Sugar is one of the biggest contributors to weight gain. It’s found in almost every processed food we eat, so cutting back on sugary foods is an easy way to lose weight.

The best way to avoid or reduce sugar is to cut out refined carbs like white bread, white pasta, large white potatoes, and other sweets. These foods contain simple carbohydrates which turn into glucose when digested. Glucose is your body’s main source of energy, but if you don’t burn off the excess, it will be stored as fat. 

Recommended reading: Better Carbs: A guide to low glycemic carbs

It’s important to note that when following a low glycemic diet you can still eat many of these foods and it just comes down to how the foods are cooked and combined with other food groups. Don’t worry about this, we have a free Starter Kit for the best way to incorporate this diet into your life with ease.

Drink lots of water

Drinking plenty of water helps keep blood sugar levels steady and prevents dehydration. If you drink more than eight glasses per day, you will also help reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Avoid highly processed meats

Eating lean meats such as chicken breast, turkey, fish, and low fat dairy products is an excellent way to maintain a healthy diet. However, avoid processed meats like hot dogs and deli meats as much as possible unless they are minimally processed and organic. These foods contain high amounts of sodium and preservatives that can cause weight gain and other health issues.

Related reading: Naturally lower blood sugar with food

Pre-diabetes diet breakfast ideas

  1. Eggs

Eggs are a great way to start your day off right. They provide protein, vitamins, and minerals that help keep your body running smoothly. Egg yolks are rich in cholesterol, but they also have high levels of lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants that protect eyesight. Eggs are also loaded with vitamin D, which helps regulate blood sugar levels.

  1. Oatmeal

Oatmeal is a great way to start the morning off right. It’s full of fiber, which keeps you feeling fuller longer. Fiber also helps lower bad cholesterol and maintain a healthy digestive system. Oatmeal is also packed with iron, which helps carry oxygen throughout the body. Iron is especially important for women who may become pregnant.

  1. Whole Grain Bread

Whole grain bread is a great way to get some whole grains into your diet. It provides complex carbs that give you sustained energy. Whole grains also contain fiber, which makes them filling and satisfying. A slice of toast with your oatmeal, eggs, or with almond butter.

  1. Yogurt

Yogurt is a great way to add probiotics to your diet. Probiotics are live bacteria that aid digestion and boost immunity. You can find yogurt at any grocery store.

  1. Blueberries

Blueberries are a delicious fruit that are low in calories and high in fiber. They are also a good source of manganese, which helps build strong bones and teeth. Add these into your yogurt, oatmeal, or smoothies!

  1. Salmon

Salmon is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential fats that promote heart health. Omega-3s also reduce inflammation, which is helpful for people suffering from arthritis. Smoked salmon with cream cheese on a slice of toast is a great option. Smoked salmon omelets are a good choice as well.

  1. Almonds

Almonds are a great snack option. They are high in monounsaturated fat, which lowers “bad” LDL cholesterol while increasing “good” HDL cholesterol. Monounsaturated fats also improve insulin sensitivity, which means your body uses glucose more efficiently. This can come in the form of unsalted and unsweetened almond butter or chopped and added to yogurt, oatmeal, smoothies, and more.

Recommended: 10 Simple low GI breakfast ideas

Need recipe inspiration and a sample meal plan of what to eat? Download our PDF.

Frequently asked questions about a healthy Prediabetes diet

Can you reverse prediabetes with diet?

Yes, you can reverse prediabetes by eating healthy foods and exercising regularly. According to the American Diabetes Association, people who have prediabetes can lower their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by making lifestyle changes such as losing weight, increasing physical activity, and following a healthy diet filled with foods that better balance blood sugar levels.

What foods are good for prediabetes?

Foods high in fiber and low in sugar are great for people who have prediabetes. These include whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, oats, barley, beans, lentils, nuts and seeds; fruits such as apples, pears, oranges, bananas, berries and melons; vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, kale, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, onions and garlic; and legumes such as black beans, kidney beans, chickpeas and soybeans.

What foods to avoid if you are prediabetic?

Foods high in sugar and carbohydrates such as white breads, white pastas, cookies, cakes, candies, sodas, juices, sweetened cereals, ice cream, candy bars, chips, crackers, pretzels, potato chips, french fries, pizza, pasta dishes, and other starchy foods are all examples of foods that may contribute to the development of diabetes.

While it’s recommended to reduce or avoid these foods, you can still eat them in moderation and by following the low glycemic diet principles. This makes it possible to still eat some of the things you love and enjoy and still stay on track with your health and weight goals. Learn more with our Low GI Starter Kit & Meal Plan.

What should I eat for breakfast if I am prediabetic?

A healthy breakfast is important for people who are prediabetic because they need to keep blood sugar levels steady throughout the day. Try eating oatmeal or whole grain cereal with fruit and milk. It may also help to add nuts to your diet.

Can prediabetes drink coffee?

Yes, you can drink coffee if you have prediabetes. However, there are certain things you need to watch out for when drinking coffee. For example, you should avoid drinking too many cups of coffee because it may cause your blood sugar levels to rise. Also, you should limit yourself to one cup of coffee per day.

Try adding a teaspoon of grass-fed butter, ghee, or coconut oil/butter to your coffee along with a dash of cinnamon. This helps slow absorption and boost the healing properties of coffee while providing steady energy without a blood sugar crash. 

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