Pre-Diabetic Diet Plan Ideas & Recommendations

Instructor: Alyssa Campbell

Alyssa is an active RN and teaches Nursing and Leadership university courses. She also has a Doctorate in Nursing Practice and a Master's in Business Administration.

Hearing that you may be pre-diabetic can be pretty scary. Read further in this lesson to learn how this condition can be reversed with lifestyle changes like diet and exercise.

Feeling Fine for Now

James has been going about his life for the past 55 years. He is a father of two grown sons, has four grandchildren, and works in a busy office. Despite the fact that he is slightly overweight, he knows that it is important to take care of himself for the benefit of his family.

James has a known family history of cardiovascular disease (or heart disease) and gets regular check-ups and blood work at his annual wellness visit. Although James has had no physical signs or symptoms that anything was wrong, his blood work came back with a shocking result: he was hyperglycemic. This means that James has an abnormally high amount of sugar circulating in his bloodstream.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is caused when your body is unable to regulate and appropriate amount of sugar in the blood. This disease occurs when insulin, a metabolic hormone, is insufficiently produced by the pancreas, meaning that there is not enough insulin to break down the sugar into energy that the body can actually use. There are several types of diabetes:

  • Pre-diabetes - This is a condition in which you have an abnormally high amount of sugar circulating in your bloodstream but is not yet considered diabetes (diabetes II). This condition may be reversible.
  • Type I - The body does not make insulin or has stopped insulin production. Typically found in children, although this represents only a small amount of people living with diabetes (about 5%).
  • Type II - The most common form of diabetes in which your body becomes insulin resistant, or that the insulin your pancreas makes is not efficient.
  • Gestational diabetes - This occurs during pregnancy, or in almost 10% of pregnancies, in which the mother or the baby may require quite a bit more insulin. This insulin resistance is believed to be attributed to the high number of other hormones present during fetal development.

The Plan

James was shocked to find out that he was pre-diabetic. He was initially overwhelmed with anxiety until his doctor explained that some lifestyle and diet changes may reverse this condition and prevent it from progressing to actual diabetes.


James' doctor first explained that increasing his physical activity may help prevent the pre-diabetes. Considering that James had an office type position, he spent long hours primarily sitting at a desk. His doctor encouraged him to get at least a half hour of exercise daily by:

  • Getting up from his desk frequently and stretching
  • Going for walks over lunch
  • Enjoying physical activities like sports with his two sons


Most importantly, James was urged to control his weight with the use of an effective diet. James loved cakes, cookies, and pasta. Unfortunately, he would have to learn only to eat his favorite foods in moderation, as his body could no longer tolerate the large amounts of ingested refined sugar. To further educate James on how important this change in diet was, his doctor gave several other recommendations:

  • Eliminate drinks full of sugar (i.e. soda and juice)
  • Reduce the amount of fatty meats and choose lean meats like chicken and turkey instead
  • Choose meal sides and accompaniments that are fresh instead of processed
  • Cut down on the alcohol intake and make sure to hydrate

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