Eating Fruits and Veggies to Manage and Prevent Diabetes

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While eating healthy foods is important for everyone, it’s essential for people with diabetes, and for those who might be at risk for developing diabetes. The National Kidney Foundation of Michigan (NKFM) is recognizing Fruit and Veggies: More Matters Month by educating Michigan residents about the importance of eating fruits and vegetables in order to manage and prevent diabetes and other chronic health conditions.

Diabetes causes over 40% of all kidney failure cases. In Michigan, diabetes prevalence has increased 15% in the past 5 years, and over 9% of Michigan adults have been diagnosed with diabetes. When diabetes is not properly managed through a healthy lifestyle, it can lead to kidney failure as well as heart disease, blindness, and lower-extremity amputations.

For people with diabetes, as well as those who may be at risk for developing diabetes, it is important to stay physically active and eat healthy. The National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP) recommends easy ways to increase the number of fruits and vegetables you eat as you take small steps to improve your health:

  • Visit an ethnic food store or farmer’s market to try a new fruit or vegetable each week.
  • Substitute spinach, onions, or mushrooms for one of the eggs or half of the cheese in omelets.
  • Buy produce in season and freeze some to use later, or buy frozen, dried, or low-sodium canned vegetables and fruits. Choose fruit without added sugar or syrups and vegetables without added salt, butter, or sauces.
  • Add strawberries, peaches, blueberries, or bananas to your waffles, pancakes, cereal, oatmeal, or toast.
  • Use broccoli, carrots, zucchini, or eggplant in layers of your favorite lasagna recipe, or in a favorite pasta salad.
  • Combine fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes, mangos, onions, and peppers with lime juice and cilantro to make salsa.
  • Try steaming your vegetables or using low-salt spices and lemon juice to add flavor.
  • Choose pineapples, peppers, mushrooms, or tomatoes as pizza toppings.
  • Add lettuce, tomato, onion, and cucumber to sandwiches, wraps, and burritos.

Eating more fruits and vegetables also supplies essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber that may help protect you from chronic diseases. For more information on how to manage and prevent diabetes, please visit