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If you have diabetes, you will need to make significant lifestyle changes to accommodate your condition. One way that many people with diabetes have found success in managing their diabetes is through a plant-based diet. However, this can be difficult to get started with if you don’t have a lot of background in this. To help you out, here are some ways that a plant-based diet is helpful for managing diabetes and how you can get started with this. 

A plant-based diet is sustainable for diabetics because this can provide you with quality sources of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. It also includes fiber and nutrients, so you will have the energy needed to function properly every day. 

When a diabetic eats a plant-based diet that consists of legumes, whole grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds, they also consume fewer animal products which have been found to offer a lot of health benefits for the environment and physical health. Not only that, but when you swap animal products for plant products, you will find that you can save more money in the process. 

Is a plant-based diet beneficial for diabetes? 

Yes, a plant-based diet is beneficial for diabetics. Studies have shown that individuals with diabetes can manage their symptoms and prevent any medical complications from occurring, such as heart disease. Another study in Nutrition and Diabetes found that the participants have experienced improved BMI and cholesterol levels, including individuals with a chronic illness like diabetes. 

When shifting to a plant-based diet, people with diabetes must follow healthy eating habits. You must make sure to balance your macros intake daily, mainly carbohydrates. 

Check out the tips below when transitioning to a plant-based diet if you are a diabetic.

Know the different protein sources

If you are new to a plant-based diet, you might think that you will not be able to get enough protein if you will consume fewer animal products. So don’t worry because you can get a lot of protein from different plant products. Identify the different sources of protein in plants. You can eat legumes, nuts, green leafy vegetables, seitan, whole grains, etc.

Quinoa avocado salad and Sweet potato black bean burgers are a great option to consider for a protein-packed meal. If you are just transitioning to a plant-based diet, you can start by trying plant-based meals at least once a week to begin the process. You can try beefless vegan tacos or try whipping up a mushroom and tofu stir-fry. 

Eat complex carbohydrates 

When a diabetic eats plant-based meals, they must be consistent in the intake of complex carbohydrates, as it is essential for managing diabetes. They can provide vitamins and nutrients, protein, and fiber to make you feel satisfied and full after eating meals.

Fiber will not only fill you up, but it plays a vital role in slowing the digestive process resulting in the slowing down of how glucose enters the bloodstream. This will result in consistent blood sugar, which does not happen when you eat simple carbohydrates or sweetened foods and drinks. 

Complex carbohydrates are commonly found in a plant-based diet. You can eat whole grains such as brown rice, oats, whole-wheat pastries, whole-wheat bread, or whole-wheat pasta. For snacks, popcorn or crackers made from whole wheat are a good options. Fruits, legumes, and vegetables are also sources of complex carbohydrates, which plays a massive role in the plant-based diet. 

Avoid high-processed snacks 

Highly processed, vegan snacks are readily available in the market, and limiting your intake or avoiding them is best. Choose whole foods such as celery or fruit with peanut butter, vegetable or fruit salad, or pita with hummus. These are some awesome snack ideas to deal with hunger and make you feel energized while waiting for your next meal. Nuts and seeds are great for grab-and-go snacks; you can store them in a tight-seal container to keep them fresh and ready to eat anytime. Complex carbohydrates with protein and fiber for a complete nutritious snack. 

When grocery shopping, check the nutrition labels and choose snacks that contain the least amount of sugar, sodium, and saturated fat. 

Do not skip certain nutrients

You should take steps to meet your nutritional needs when you’re looking to switch to a plant-based diet. Some nutrients may not be available in a fully plant-based diet. For example, Vitamin B12 is available in animal food sources such as eggs, fish, and meat. You can get Vitamin B12 from fortified bread, cereals, and soy products that have Vitamin B12 added to them.

You can also check plant-based milk such as almond, coconut, hemp, and rice to see if they have added Vitamin B12. Make sure to check the food labels. Nutritional yeast is also a source of Vitamin B12; it can be sprinkled on popcorn if you like snacking on them while watching a movie. 

Iron can be found in green leafy vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. Vitamin C is important as it helps with the absorption of Iron in the body. So make sure to eat iron-rich foods with Vitamin C-rich foods like bell peppers, berries, different types of citrus, and tomatoes. 

According to CDC, in 2020 around 13% of adult Americans have diabetes. Lifestyle changes, especially diet and exercise, can help with glycemic control among diabetics. A plant-based diet is recommended for individuals with diabetes; it has been proven to be effective in treating and managing glycemic control, body weight, and preventing cardiovascular risk factors. 

What are the ways a plant-based diet can help with diabetes?

Weight management 

Individuals on a plant-based diet have a lower body mass index. Plant-based foods are high volume and rich in fiber, making you feel full faster, and you will only eat fewer calories. Weight loss can reduce insulin resistance so your body can use insulin more effectively. 

Cardiac health

A plant-based diet can help decrease inflammation, reduce cholesterol, and control blood pressure. These risk factors must be appropriately managed, especially among diabetics, because they are prone to heart disease. Plant-based unsaturated fats can help decrease insulin resistance. 


Nuts, seeds, leafy green vegetables, and whole grains contain magnesium, which effectively lowers the risk of diabetes. A plant-based diet is rich in antioxidants which help with insulin sensitivity.

Are you searching for a consultant for a plant-based diet? Pick Plants 4 Life can help you. Kerri Hampton is our owner and founder, with more than five years of experience in a plant-based lifestyle; we will help you transition to a plant-based diet.

Our consultation services are offered via virtual and phone consultations. Please reach out to us anytime. You can call us at 512-656-9209 or send an inquiry email to justpickplants@gmail.com. We offer a free initial consultation. We can help you have a successful transition to a plant-based lifestyle.