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Dietary Tips for Diabetes

Diabetic patients should eat regular meals with consistent portions: 

Eating three main meals a day with snacks in between main meals (if necessary) regularly could not only help stabilize blood glucose levels but also provide us with energy throughout the day. The timing of meals could also play a role, especially for patients on diabetic medications. Consistent and small frequent meals are preferable for diabetic patients, as blood glucose levels elevate after consuming carbohydrate. Excessive food intake may lead to hyperglycemia (high blood glucose) while eating too little/skipping meals may lead to hypoglycemia (low blood glucose).

Carbohydrates are found in the following food groups: 

Grains:rice, bread, oatmeal, noodles, and biscuits

Fruits:apple, orange, guava, and dried fruits

Low fat/skimmed dairy products:cheese and yogurt

Dried beans:red beans, mung beans and black-eyed peas

Starchy vegetables:potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, and taro

The recommended portions vary based on the age, body height, weight, and daily activity level of the individual, please consult your dietitian for more details.

Practical tips in daily life


  • Diabetic patients are recommended to consume a fixed amount of carbohydrate-rich grains

  • hoose whole grains with higher fibre content whenever possible to increase your overall dietary fibre intake. Simply choose multigrain breads/biscuits and replace part of your white rice with red rice or brown rice

  • This may help stabilize the blood glucose level and increase satiety for better portion control and weight management

Fruits and vegetables

  • In general, fruits and vegetables are healthy and we should eat them more, yet diabetic patients should pay attention

  • tarchy vegetables with high carbohydrate content (such as: sweet potato, potato, taro, corn and pumpkin) and fruits (as fructose converts into blood glucose in the body) will affect our blood glucose level, hence these food groups should be eaten in moderation

Food with high cholesterol content

  • Even though your blood glucose level is well managed, you are still at a high risk of having a high cholesterol level

  • The skin and fat of meat are high in saturated fat and may raise your bad cholesterol level, hence trim it before cooking or eating

  • Consume fish in moderation for healthy unsaturated fats or replace part of the meat with non-deep-fried soy products.

Dairy products

  • Diabetic patients are at a higher risk of osteoporosis, adequate calcium intake from low fat/skimmed dairy products (such as milk, cheese and yoghurt)

  • or fortified calcium soy drinks may help prevent such disease

  • However, please note that dairy products contain lactose which converts into blood glucose in our body, be aware of the portion to prevent overconsumption leading to high blood glucose level

Long-boiled soups

  • Some long-boiled soups that contain traditional Chinese medication, fruits, starchy vegetables may contain carbohydrates and will elevate the blood glucose level even when the soup ingredients are not consumed

  • it is recommended to replace such soups with quick-boiled soup made of non-starchy vegetables, lean meat and fish


Diabetic patients should
choose a variety of foods:

  • A diverse eating pattern is suggested. Follow the Healthy Eating Food Pyramid and choose a variety of foods from each food group to get different nutrients. Meanwhile, try to limit the intake of fat, sodium, and sugar

  • There is still a lack of strong evidence suggesting diabetic patients should eat more or avoid a specific food to manage blood glucose

  •  Further research is needed to show the effectiveness and safeness of the intake of some well-known foods which are beneficial for diabetic patients such as okra, monk fruit, and pig pancreas

  • Also, diabetic patients should eat carbohydrate-rich foods moderately, over restricting carbohydrate-rich foods for blood glucose lowering is not recommended.

provided by HKDA
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