Controlling and balancing your total carbohydrate intake is critical if you have diabetes or pre-diabetes. Many people wrongly believe that they should be looking for low-sugar or sugar-free foods. This is most definitely not the case—especially for runners! Work with your doctor to determine how much carbohydrate is appropriate for your needs.
People with diabetes must look at the total amount of carbohydrate contained in each meal or snack, and then balance that with adequate amounts of fiber, protein, and good fats. A typical meal might include no more than 30-45 grams of total carbs. Runners with diabetes and pre-diabetes need to eat carbs with most meals, but must limit the amount they eat per meal. For example: 1/2 cup rice and 1/2 cup of beans plus 1-2 cups of leafy green veggies plus a palm-sized serving of lean protein would make a healthy dinner for a diabetic runner. These tips can get you started, but you should also consult a Registered Dietitian or a C.D.E. (Certified Diabetes Educator) to ensure that your diet meets your nutritional needs.

Diabetes Tips
  1. Monitor Your Blood Glucose Levels

    Keep a log to track the impact of the carbohydrates you eat on your blood glucose (or blood sugar) levels. If you're new to running or you're building intensity in your training, be prepared for changes.

  2. Eat Before You Run

    It's a good idea to eat a snack containing 15-30 grams of carbohydrate before your workout, and to carry a source of glucose (such as gels, glucose tablets, or a sports drink) with you when you run in case your blood sugar drops suddenly.

  3. Know the Signs

    Know the signs and symptoms of low blood sugar; lightheadedness, sweating, irritability, and shakiness. Stop running immediately if you suspect your blood sugar has dropped significantly. If you experience these symptoms, check your blood sugar as soon as possible, and take 15 grams of fast-acting sugar such as glucose tablets, an energy gel, or 8oz of sports drink.

Diabetes RECIPES

Barley Stuffed Tomatoes

6 servings; 1 serving = 1 stuffed tomato and 2/3 cup kale

Fun Fact: Though they are often classified as vegetables, tomatoes are actually the fruit of the tomato vine. Feel free to count them as whichever you prefer; just don't try to count them twice unless you eat 2 servings in one day!


1lb chopped spinach
3/4 cup pearled barley
8oz firm or extra-firm tofu, drained and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 1/4 cups thinly sliced red onion
1/3 cup apple cider
1 tsp dry white wine
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp whole wheat panko bread crumbs
6 large tomatoes, hollowed out

Nutrition Info

Per Serving: 190 calories, 4g fat, 0g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 234mg sodium, 27g carbohydrates, 6g dietary fiber, 10g protein


Place barley in a medium-sized pot with enough water to cover by 1-2 inches. Simmer about 30 minutes. Drain, and set aside in a bowl.
Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add tofu and sauté until golden, then set aside.
In the same pan, sauté onion for 5 minutes until tender and translucent. 
Increase heat to medium-high. Add spinach, and cook until wilted.
Add cider and wine, then cover and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Stir in tofu, salt, and pepper. Remove from heat, then stir in barley.
Arrange tomatoes on a tray, stuff with barley/tofu mixture. 
Top with panko bread crumbs and bake at 350° for 15-20 minutes, until tomatoes are soft.

Mediterranean Tuna Fattoush

4 servings; 1 serving = about 2 cups salad, 3 ounces tuna, 8 pita chips


4 whole wheat pitas (2 ounces each)
1 tsp olive oil
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 small shallot, minced
1 medium eggplant, chopped
½ tsp salt
¼ cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil
1 bag baby spinach (about 5-6 oz)
1 tbsp chopped walnuts
1/4 cup reduced-fat feta cheese, crumbled
12oz solid white albacore tuna in water, drained

Nutrition Info

Per Serving: 438 calories, 18g total fat, 3g saturated fat, 41mg cholesterol, 1078mg sodium, 40g total carbohydrates, 10g dietary fiber, 1g sugar, 35g protein


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut each pita into 8 triangular wedges and place on baking sheet, then brush with olive oil. Sprinkle each wedge with salt and pepper. Bake for 5-7 minutes or until golden brown.
Meanwhile, heat remaining olive oil in a skillet. Add the shallot and cook for about 4 minutes. Add the eggplant and cook until slightly soft, about 5-7 minutes. Add the salt.
Combine the eggplant mix with the sun-dried tomatoes, raw spinach, walnuts, feta, tuna, and pita chips. Toss salad thoroughly and serve with fresh ground pepper.

The Best Turkey Burgers Ever!

Makes 5 burgers


3lbs 97% lean ground turkey
1/2 cup low-fat whipped cottage cheese (or part-skim ricotta)
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp honey
2 tsp Dijon mustard
salt and pepper
potato or whole wheat burger buns

Nutrition Info

Per Serving (for 1 burger patty, without bun or extra toppings): 234 calories, 4g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 99mg cholesterol, 1372mg sodium, 5g total carbohydrates, 0g dietary fiber, 5g sugars, 429g protein, 18mg calcium, 27mg potassium


Combine ingredients in a bowl and blend by hand. Form 5 patties.
Turn grill on high and drizzle with oil. Cook each burger for approximately 10 minutes, turning once. Burgers are fully cooked when a meat thermometer shows an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
Serve on potato or whole wheat rolls with toppings of your choice (try sautéed spinach!).

Kale Chips

1 serving = 1 cup


1 large bunch of kale, torn into pieces with stems removed
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper

Nutrition Info

Per Serving (before toppings): 64 calories, 3.5g fat, 0.5g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 50mg sodium, 6.7g carbohydrates, 1.3g fiber, 2.2g protein, 90.5 mg calcium, 299.5 mg potassium


Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the kale on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Drizzle the olive oil over the top and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 12-15 minutes, watching closely after 10 minutes to be sure the kale does not burn. Remove from oven when crispy but still green.
Kick that kale up a notch by adding one of the following topping combinations:
(Remove the kale from the oven after 5-7 minutes, add one of the topping combinations, toss, and continue baking for the remaining 5-7 minutes)
Topping1: 1-2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese + 1 tsp garlic powder
Topping2: 1 tsp nutritional yeast + ¼ tsp red Chili Flakes
Topping3: 2 tbsp large-flake unsweetened coconut + 1 tbsp maple syrup