Diet and exercise

Learn how lifestyle changes can help you manage your diabetes

Maintaining a healthy diet and staying active are especially important for people living with diabetes. Healthy food choices and regular physical activity can help you reach and maintain your blood sugar targets and manage your weight. This reduces your risk of developing diabetes-related complications.1–4

Healthy food choices

Making healthy food choices is an important first step to managing your diabetes. You and your healthcare team can develop a plan, but it is up to you to stay on track.

Start by learning about how the following types of food can affect your blood sugar:

Learn more on making healthy food choices from Diabetes Canada

Meal planning

The Plate Method is an easy tool from Diabetes Canada for planning meals that can help you effectively manage your blood sugar levels and lose weight. Just take the following simple steps, and the possibilities are endless!

Fill your plate with:

  • One-quarter (or 25%) protein
  • One-quarter (or 25%) grains and starchy foods
  • One-half (or 50%) vegetables
  • One serving of fruit, dairy or both1

Learn more on meal planning from Diabetes Canada


Regular physical activity is especially important for people who are living with diabetes. If you are living with type 1 diabetes, your meals and exercise need to balance with your insulin doses. If you are living with type 2 diabetes, regular physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight.

You can exercise easily in many ways, whether you choose walking, dancing, gardening or another activity, but always check with your healthcare team first to make sure you are exercising safely.3

Learn more on fitness from Diabetes Canada

Weight loss

If you are living with diabetes, being overweight can keep you from achieving your targets for blood sugar control and increase your risk for serious complications.

Work with your healthcare team to create a plan that can help you safely achieve realistic goals for both regular physical activity and a healthy diet. When you have a plan designed just for you, you are more likely to lose weight and keep it off.4

Learn more on weight loss from Diabetes Canada

  1. Diabetes Canada. Basic meal planning. Diabetes Canada Web site. Accessed May 29, 2017.
  2. Diabetes Canada. Physical activity & diabetes. Diabetes Canada Web site. Accessed May 29, 2017.
  3. Diabetes Canada. Managing weight & diabetes. Diabetes Canada Web site. Accessed May 29, 2017.