9 Best Non-Meat Options For Diabetics

If you have diabetes and are a vegetarian, choosing the best non-meat options is your right. It will help you to manage your sugar level. Non-meat options are often lower in saturated fat and help stabilize your blood sugar levels. 

That amazing to control your blood glucose level with a vegetarian diet, but there are some things you should know. 

First, eating various plant-based foods, including non-starchy vegetables and plant-based protein, are important. 

You should also watch your carbohydrate intake and choose complex carbs that don’t affect your blood sugar too much.

It’s also helpful to include healthy fats from nuts, avocados, and olive oil to keep your blood sugar levels steady. 

To manage your diabetes well, planning your meals carefully, controlling your portions, and checking your blood glucose is important. 

In this article, we will explore the best non-meat options for you, with suggested portion sizes and times to include them in your meals:

1. Tofu

Tofu, a popular plant-based protein, is a versatile food that can be enjoyed in various meals. It is a great protein, iron, and calcium source, making it a perfect addition to a balanced diet. 

Tofu can be prepared in numerous ways, including stir-fries, salads, or scrambles. You can also use it as a meat substitute for tacos or burgers. 

Best Time To Eat

It’s a fantastic option for lunch or dinner, providing a satisfying and nutritious meal. Tofu is worth a try if you’re looking for a healthy and tasty protein alternative.

Serving Size

Regarding portion size, it’s recommended to have about 1/2 cup or 4 ounces of tofu per serving. 

Read | Can Diabetics Eat Pasta

2. Tempeh

Tempeh, a fermented soy product, is a popular meat alternative packed with nutrients. It is an excellent protein, fibre, iron, and calcium source. 

Tempeh is a versatile ingredient in various dishes, such as stir-fries, sandwiches, salads, and tacos. It can also be crumbled as a meat substitute in spaghetti sauce, chilli, and other dishes. 

Overall, tempeh is a healthy and delicious food for diabetics that can be a great addition to your diet, especially if you are looking for a plant-based protein source.

Preparation Methods

To prepare tempeh, you can grill or bake it. Grilling or baking tempeh can give it a crispy texture. You can marinate tempeh before cooking to add more flavour and enhance its texture. 

Serving Size

The recommended portion size for tempeh is 3-4 ounces, equivalent to about a half-cup. 

Read | Best Bedtime Snacks For Diabetes

3. Lentils

Lentils are a highly nutritious legume that can provide health benefits when added to your diet.

Lentils are rich in fibre and protein, essential nutrients that keep your gut healthy and build muscle mass. Eating lentils can also help regulate blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of chronic heart disease.

Portion Size

A portion size of 1/2 cup cooked lentils is recommended to obtain the maximum nutritional value. 

Best Time To Eat

Regarding mealtime, lentils are versatile and can be added to dishes in many ways, enhancing the meal’s flavour and nutritional value. 

You can include lentils in soups, stews, or salads for lunch or dinner or use them as a meat substitute in burgers or meatballs. You can also enjoy them as a side dish by pairing them with your favourite vegetable or grain.

So, incorporating lentils into your meals can be a smart and healthy way to add more nutrients to your diet. With their high fibre and protein content, lentils can help keep you full and satisfied while providing your body with essential nutrients to maintain optimal health.

Read | Fig Leaves Tea For Diabetes

4. Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans)

Chickpeas are the best source of fibre and protein, making them a great addition to any diabetic’s diet. 

The high fibre content in chickpeas helps regulate blood sugar levels with a low absorption rate for carbs. That makes chickpeas an ideal food for diabetics.

Chickpeas are used in a variety of dishes. They can be added to salads to increase their nutritional value or used as a base for hummus, an excellent dip for vegetables or whole-grain crackers.

Portion Size

A half-cup-cooked portion of chickpeas contains approximately 15g of carbs, 5g of fibre and 7g of protein.  

Best Time To Eat

Chickpeas can also be used in vegetable curries for lunch or dinner, providing a hearty and filling meal that is both nutritious and delicious.

Read | Can Diabetic Eat Apple

5. Black Beans

Black beans are the best for any diet, including for diabetics. 

They are low in fat and cholesterol and high in complex carbohydrates that provide energy without causing spikes in blood sugar levels.

You can easily incorporate black beans into your meals by adding them to soups, salads, dips, and burritos or serving them as a side dish with dinner. 

They are versatile ingredients that can be used in various dishes, and their health benefits make them an excellent choice for diabetics.

Portion Size

Consuming 1/2 cup of cooked black beans is recommended for a diabetic person. This serving contains about 20 grams of carbohydrates, equivalent to one serving of carbohydrates. 

However, diabetics should consider their overall carbohydrate intake throughout the day.

Best Time to Eat 

You can include black beans in soups, burritos, or as a side dish for dinner.

Read | Can Diabetics Eat Beans

6. Quinoa

Quinoa is a highly nutritious grain considered a great option for diabetics. It has a low glycemic index, which shows it is digested and absorbed by the body slowly, which results in a steady release of glucose into the bloodstream. It regulates blood sugar levels and prevents sudden spikes.

In addition to being a good source of carbohydrates, quinoa is also rich in protein, fibre, magnesium, and zinc. 

These nutrients support overall health and well-being. They may be particularly beneficial for individuals with diabetes who must manage their blood sugar levels and maintain a healthy diet.

Portion Size

The recommended portion size of cooked quinoa is 1/2 cup, which provides approximately 17 grams of carbohydrates. 

Best Time to Eat

It can be consumed anytime during the day and used in various dishes. 

You can consider Quina as a side dish, added to salads, soups, or stews, or used in place of rice or pasta as a base for a hearty and nutritious meal.

Read | Can Diabetics Eat Cheese

7. Nuts and Seeds (Almonds, Chia Seeds, Flaxseeds)

Nuts and seeds are enriched with healthy fats, fibre, and protein, making them a great addition to a diabetic’s diet. They regulate blood sugar levels, maintain lower cholesterol, and reduce the risk of heart disease. 

Portion Size

Regarding portion size, it’s best to stick to about 1 ounce, roughly a small handful of nuts or 2 tablespoons of seeds. 

Nuts and seeds are calorie-dense, so it’s important to be mindful of how much you consume. 

Best Time to Eat

You can add nuts and seeds to your meals as a snack. For example, sprinkle chopped nuts and seeds over yoghurt or oatmeal for added crunch and nutrition. But always be mindful of calories.

When you buy nuts, choose raw or unsalted varieties whenever possible to avoid excess salt and oil.  

With their delicious crunch and numerous health benefits, adding nuts and seeds to your diet can be a smart and tasty move for managing diabetes.

Read| List of Dry Fruits for Diabetics to Eat

8. Greek Yogurt (Low-Fat or Non-Fat)

When managing diabetes, Greek yoghurt is a recommended dairy product to be incorporated into your diet. 

Make sure you are making the right choice, and it is best to opt for plain, unsweetened varieties that do not contain added sugars.

 By doing this, you avoid the extra calories and carbohydrates that come with added sugars and benefit from the high protein content in Greek yoghurt.

Serving Size

A serving size of 6-8 ounces is ideal for individuals with diabetes. 

Best Time To Eat

Greek yoghurt can be consumed anytime, but it is particularly beneficial at breakfast or as a snack. 

Read | Can Diabetics Eat Rice?

9. Eggs

Eggs are an excellent protein source for maintaining healthy muscle mass and promoting overall health. 

Serving Size 

Individuals with diabetes can safely consume 1-2 eggs as a portion size. 

Best Time To Eat

Eggs are versatile and can be consumed at any mealtime, whether breakfast, lunch, or dinner. However, it is important to note that the preparation method can affect the nutritional value of eggs. 

Boiling or poaching eggs is recommended over frying, as fried eggs may contain higher levels of unhealthy fats. Adding eggs to your meal gives many health benefits for individuals with diabetes. 

Read | Can a Diabetic Eat Butter?


What meat is good for diabetics?

Lean meats like turkey, chicken, fish, and lean cuts of beef are good for diabetics. These meats are high in protein, stabilising blood sugar levels and fulfilling your appetite for longer periods.

Read| What Meats Can a Diabetic Eat?

How to be a diabetic vegetarian?

If you are a vegetarian with diabetes, it’s important to have a well-balanced diet that provides a variety of nutrients. You can include protein-rich foods such as beans, lentils, tofu, and eggs. You can also opt for whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds to maintain he healthy diet.

Read| What Vegetables Can a Diabetic Eat?

What is the best diet for a diabetic person?

The best diet for a diabetic person is well-balanced and rich in nutrients. A diet that constitutes whole grains, vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, and good fats helps to manage blood sugar levels and prevent other diabetes.

Read| 10 Best Foods For Diabetics

What meats should diabetics avoid?

Diabetics should avoid processed meats such as bacon, sausage, and hot dogs as they are high in saturated fat and sodium. Red meats such as beef and lamb should also be consumed in moderation as they are high in saturated fat. So, you need to select lean cuts of meat and prepare them healthily, such as baking, broiling, or grilling.

Read| Worst Foods For Diabetics

Final Words:

Enjoy these healthy, not meat options during your diabetic journey. But you must only remember to monitor your carbohydrate intake when consuming non-meat options, as they can still contain carbs that can affect blood sugar levels. Additionally, the timing of these foods can vary depending on your daily schedule and preferences, so choose what works best for you within your overall meal plan.

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