Type 2 diabetes isn’t always preventable. That’s because diabetes is caused by a number of factors, like genetics, which go beyond anyone’s control. Even still, you can lower your risk of developing diabetes by adopting a healthier lifestyle.

Here are our 5 tips on how to prevent diabetes.

What’s the best diet to prevent diabetes?

There’s no perfect diet to follow for diabetes prevention. That said, there are ways you can build a healthy eating pattern that improves or maintains optimal blood sugar levels. Here’s how.

1. Aim for nutritious foods from all the food groups

Many people feel cutting out certain groups is necessary for good health, but that’s just not the case.

Fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, low-fat dairy, and whole grains give your body a wide variety of critical nutrients for optimal function. Eating more of these foods can help increase your intake of fiber, protein, and essential vitamins and minerals.

In addition, nutritious foods may naturally curb your intake of processed foods that offer loads of added sugars and saturated fats—two nutrients that the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025 recommend limiting.

2. Build a balanced meal

To build a balanced meal that’s chock-full of good nutrition, arrange half of your plate with non-starchy vegetables (think broccoli, peppers, or tomatoes). Next, make a quarter of your plate lean proteins (think chicken, fish, or pork tenderloin). Finally, add a whole grain or other starchy food (think brown rice, lentils, peas, or sweet potato) to the remaining quarter of your plate.

Plate method:

Plate method

3. Look for menu clues when dining out

Certain terms on restaurant menus can clue you in to which foods carry more or less fat, calories, and carbohydrates. When enjoying restaurant dining, consider avoiding menu terms like fried, panfried, breaded, and creamy. These terms are associated with high amounts of fat, calories, and carbohydrates, which can send your blood sugars soaring above safe levels. Try ordering healthier menu terms such as baked, broiled, poached, stewed, and steamed.

4. Eat mindfully

Keep your mind and body in unity by paying close attention to your hunger and fullness cues. As you eat, savor every bite by eating slowly, drinking water, and check-in with whether you’ve had enough to eat or not to avoid becoming overly stuffed.

5. Best exercises for diabetes prevention

The truth is, the best exercises for diabetes prevention are any exercises. Engaging in physical activity can help prevent diabetes by helping manage weight and stress, and by promoting healthy insulin levels.

Consider moving your body in ways you enjoy that get your heart rate up, from a brisk morning walk to an evening Zumba class. Resistance training or weight training is important as well and helps build and maintain muscle strength.

If you have a history of heart-related medical problems, never hesitate to talk to your doctor to make sure it’s safe for you to exercise.

Take charge of your health

You can help prevent type 2 diabetes by eating well, moving your body, avoiding smoking, managing stress, and getting regular blood sugar checks. Stay at the forefront of your health by gaining awareness of your diabetes risk. You can increase your awareness by keeping tabs on your blood sugar levels using our affordable at-home blood sugar test kit.