Diane May Nutrition Blog

What You Need To Know About Prediabetes

October 4th, 2019

Pre diabetes is a very common condition in the United States.  The good news is that this condition is treatable and preventable. Some risk factors that can increase your risk of developing pre diabetes include:

  • Being at an unhealthy weight
  • Family history
  • Being over the age of 45
  • Inactivity (not exercising)
  • Having had gestational diabetes
  • PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome)
  • Ethnicity: African Americans, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian, Pacific Islanders and some Asian Americans have a higher risk
  • Elevated blood pressure

Pre diabetes patients have a blood sugar level that is elevated, but still not in the range of diabetes. You may have pre diabetes if:

  • Fasting blood glucose level is 100-125 mg/dl
  • Oral glucose tolerance test of 140-199 mg/dl
  • Glycated hemoglobin (A1C) of 5.7-6.4%


Foods should be low in fat, calories and high in fiber. Consume plenty of non-starchy vegetables, whole grains, lean meat and legumes. Avoid added sugars such as soda, juice, sweetened packaged foods such as cereal, “healthy sugars” such as honey, agave, maple syrup, barley syrup, White processed grains and trans fat, limit greasy/fried foods.

There are numerous ways to manage your diet if you have pre diabetes.

Glycemic Index:

A useful tool when measuring types of carbs and for choosing healthier options. Foods higher in the GI will raise blood sugar faster. Foods lower on the GI will have less effect on blood sugar. The highest score is 100, and the lowest 0. Avoid foods containing refined sugar, refined grains, over ripe fruits and packaged foods.


  • Foods with a GI value of 55 or less raise blood sugar slowly
  • Foods with a GI value between 56-69 raise blood sugar moderately
  • Foods with a GI value of 70 or above raise blood sugar quickly

Some examples are:

  • Apple-39
  • Brown rice- 50
  • Banana-62
  • White Pasta-58
  • Cornflakes-93
  • White rice-89

Carb counting:

The goal is not to totally remove carbohydrates, but to pay attention to the amount and type of carbs you choose. A serving of carb for a pre diabetic is 15 grams. The goal is to consume approximately 30-45 grams of carb for breakfast, lunch and dinner and 15 grams of carb for each snack. Examples of 15 gram servings are:

  • 1 small apple
  • 1 cup low fat milk
  • 1 slice whole grain bread
  • ½ baked potato

Plate method:

A healthy plate should be: half of the plate non starchy vegetables, one quarter protein and one quarter complex carb such as brown rice, whole grain bread or whole wheat pasta.

Consume more whole grains, fruit, legumes and non-starchy vegetables and healthy fats in moderation such as nuts, seeds, olive oil and avocado. Avoid beverages with calories, condiments with sugar such as ketchup and salad dressing and processed foods loaded with fat and calories.

It is also important to move your body as it reduces weight and stabilizes blood sugar levels. It is recommended that people diagnosed with pre diabetes exercise 210 minutes a week at a moderate level or 125 minutes a week of vigorous exercise. If you have a sedentary job, get up and walk whenever you can.

Maintaining a healthy weight, eating a balanced diet that limits processed foods and added sugars and making sure to stay active help to reduce the risk of developing pre diabetes.  If you are diagnosed with pre diabetes, lifestyle change can change your life and an RD can be very helpful in making the changes necessary to make the appropriate changes.

Better Three-Bean Salad

From: EatingWell Magazine, May/June 2015

Traditional three-bean salad gets a healthy, fresh spin with the addition of black soybeans, snap peas and a tarragon-infused dressing. Find black soybeans near other canned beans; they’re a sweeter, creamier relative of the green ones you’re probably familiar with.

  • By:Katie Webster EatingWell Recipe Contributor

Ingredients       10 servings

  • 2 cups yellow wax beans (about 8 ounces), trimmed, cut into 1½-inch pieces
  • 2 cups sugar snap peas (about 6 ounces), trimmed, halved if desired
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons white-wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon or ¾ teaspoon dried
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 15-ounce can black soybeans or black beans (see Tip), rinsed
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed
  • 1 bunch scallions, very thinly sliced


Active     30 m

Ready In 30 m

  1. Bring 1 inch of water to a boil in a large saucepan fitted with a steamer basket. Add wax beans and snap peas; cover and steam until crisp-tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Spread the vegetables out on a large baking sheet to cool.
  2. Whisk oil, vinegar, mustard, honey, tarragon, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add soybeans (or black beans), chickpeas, scallions and the cooled vegetables; toss to coat. Serve at room temperature or cold.
  • Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 8 hours.
  • Try homemade beans instead of canned. Start with 1 pound of any type of dry beans and rinse well. Place in a large bowl and cover with 2 inches of cold water. Let soak at least 8 hours or overnight. (If you’re in a hurry, put the beans in a pot and cover with 2 inches of water; bring to boil, boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 1 hour.) Drain the beans, transfer to a large pot and cover with 3 inches cold water. Bring to a boil, skimming off any foam. Reduce heat to a gentle simmer; cook, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender, 30 minutes to 2 hours. (Cooking time varies depending on the type and age of the bean; start checking tenderness at 30 minutes.) Wait until the beans are almost tender to add salt; adding it too early can prevent beans from softening. (Use about 1 teaspoon salt per pound of beans.) Refrigerate beans in their cooking liquid for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 3 months. One pound dry beans makes 5 to 6 cups
  • Cut Down on Dishes: A rimmed baking sheet is great for everything from roasting to catching accidental drips and spills. For effortless cleanup and to keep your baking sheets in tip-top shape, line them with a layer of foil before each use.


Nutrition information

  • Serving size: ⅔ cup
  • Per serving: 189 calories; 12 g fat(2 g sat); 5 g fiber; 18 g carbohydrates; 4 g protein; 58 mcg folate; 0 mg cholesterol; 3 g sugars; 1 g added sugars; 255 IU vitamin A; 13 mg vitamin C; 45 mg calcium; 2 mg iron; 338 mg sodium; 266 mg potassium
  • Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (22% daily value)
  • Carbohydrate Servings: 1
  • Exchanges: ½ starch, ½ vegetable, ½ lean meat, 2 fat