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Guide to Diabetes

Fruit and vegetables

Fruit and vegetables provide us with a good source of vitamins, minerals and fibre. Eating plenty can help to reduce your risk of heart disease and some cancers.

Some people worry about eating fruit because it contains natural sugar and may effect blood glucose levels.

However, if you are distributing your fruit evenly across the day and having the recommended portion sizes as listed below, you should find your blood glucose levels are fine. If you are having difficulties then please speak to your diabetes team or GP surgery. Having diabetes does not mean that you should stop having fruit.


Where possible aim for 5 or more portions of fruit and vegetables each day

Where one portion is.......

1 apple / 1 banana / 2 plums / 2 kiwis / 2 satsuma’s / 1 medium handful of strawberries or grapes / 1 slice of melon (2 inches thick )/ 1 small glass (150ml) unsweetened fruit juice / 3 tablespoons of tinned or stewed fruit / 1 tablespoon of dried fruit

 1 small bowl of salad / 2-3 tablespoons of vegetables e.g. peas / carrots / broccoli / lettuce / cauliflower / okra / spinach / aubergines / karela, etc.(Vegetables in curry / casserole do count as a portion)


See the link below to discover what count as a portion for many more fruit and vegetables


Ways to increase your fruit intake 

  • Eat a portion of fruit in between meals as a snack or as a pudding
    Frozen or tinned fruit can be used as alternatives to fresh fruit (try to choose tinned fruit in juice rather than syrup).
    Use fresh or dried fruit on cereals
     Have a small glass of fruit juice with your meal (150ml)


Ways to increase your vegetable intake

  • Substitute some of the meat with extra vegetables in curry, stew, chilli, casserole and pasta dishes
  •  Have some vegetables or salad with your main meal every day
  • Add lettuce, tomato, cucumber or carrot to your sandwiches.
  • Add extra grated / chopped vegetables to salads, raitas and dip’s
  • Try all types of vegetables.They can be fresh, frozen or tinned.
  • To liven up your vegetables and salads, you could add herbs, spices, pepper, citrus fruits or garlic 

(Ref: Healthy Eating in the South Asian Community for people with diabetes, Diabetes UK Balance, Literature from LNDS)

(Reviewed and updated by Hannah Berkerly Senior Diabetes Specialist Dietitan UHL 2014)