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Festival Foods


A general, heart healthy diet with special attention to carbohydrates is all most people with diabetes need. All foods can be eaten in moderation, but it is important to know how many carbohydrates are in a serving of different foods. Use the recommendations and links below to make carb smart choices!

  • Eat More
  • Eat Less
    • Example of foods with unsaturated fats
      Unsaturated fats

      raw nuts, olive oil, canola oil, fish oils, flax seeds and avocados

    • Example of foods with fiber

      fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes, cereals, breads and pasta made from whole grains

  • Example of foods with saturated and trans fats
    Saturated and trans fats

    whole-fat dairy, red meat, bacon, sausage, partially hydrogenated or deep fried foods

  • Example of foods with lean protein
    Lean protein

    fish, poultry, beans and nonfat or low-fat milk, yogurt and cheese

  • Example of foods with refined grains
    Refined grains

    simple sugars found in baked goods, candies, sweets and white flour products

What is the Glycemic Index?

The glycemic index measures how a carbohydrate-containing food raises blood glucose.

    • Foods with a high glycemic index raise blood glucose more than foods with a medium or low glycemic index.
    • Photo of popcorn
    • Photo of pretzels
    • Cooked and processed foods tend to have higher glycemic indexes.
    • Fat and fiber lower the glycemic index of a food. For example, choose whole grains rather than refined grains and whole fruit rather than fruit juice.
    • Photo of bananas
    • Photo of peanuts
    • Because heart healthy fats and protein slow down digestion, adding protein to a carbohydrate-based meal or snack can lower the glycemic index of your meal.
Label Reading
  • Sugar + complex carbs + fiber = total carbs
  • Carbohydrates

    The Nutrition Facts Panel is a useful tool in determining how many carbohydrates and fiber are in a food.

    • It's best to look at grams of total carbohydrate rather than just grams of sugar.
    • Total carbohydrate on the label includes sugar, complex carbohydrates and fiber.
    • The grams of sugar and fiber are counted as part of the grams of total carbohydrate.
  • Photo of a nutrition label
  • Fiber

    Fiber is part of plant foods that is partially digested or not digested by the body.

    • Dried beans, fruits, vegetables and whole grains are all good sources of fiber.
    • If a food has 5 grams or more fiber in a serving, subtract the fiber grams of the total grams of carbohydrate for a more accurate estimate of carbohydrate content, since fiber is not broken down into glucose.
  • Photo of another nutrition label
  • Sugar

    The ingredients list in the Food Label is listed in descending order with the largest amount by weight listed first. If a sugar is among the first ingredients listed or there are many different types of sugar listed, the food product most likely has a lot of added sugar. Although sugar is a readily available form of energy, it does not provide additional nutrition, thus the term "empty calories".

    Limit Added Sugars. Names for added sugars include:

    • Agave nectar
    • Brown sugar
    • Cane crystals
    • Cane sugar
    • Corn sweetener
    • Corn syrup
    • Crystalline fructose
    • Dextrose
    • Evaporated cane juice
    • Fructose
    • Fruit juice concentrates
    • Glucose
    • High-fructose corn syrup
    • Honey
    • Invert sugar
    • Lactose
    • Maltose
    • Malt syrup
    • Molasses
    • Raw sugar
    • Sucrose
    • Sugar
    • Syrup
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