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 are at risk for developing type 2 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, an estimated 10% of adults have diagnosed diabetes—about 758,300 people. An additional 250,200 Michigan adults are thought to have diabetes but are currently undiagnosed. When diabetes is not managed properly, it can lead to kidney failure as well as heart disease, blindness, lower-extremity amputations, and other health complications. However, many cases of type 2 diabetes can be prevented, delayed and controlled through a healthy lifestyle.

If you’re at risk for type 2 diabetes, you can prevent or delay the onset of the disease by losing 5 to 7 percent of your body weight (10 to 14 pounds if you weigh 200 pounds). For those who have type 2 diabetes, losing weight can be helpful in controlling your diabetes. To lose weight safely, make healthy food choices, like eating more fruits and vegetables, and be physically active for 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. The National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP) recommends easy and inexpensive ways to increase the number of fruits and vegetables you eat as you take small steps to lose weight and lower your diabetes risk:

  • 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.
  • Add broccoli, carrots, zucchini, or eggplant between the layers of your favorite lasagna recipe.
  • Combine different 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