Best Diabetic Meats for a Nutritious Diet (Top 9)

Last Updated on March 23, 2023 by Dr Sharon Baisil MD

Updated and medically reviewed by Dr. Sharon Baisil MD on 29 April 2023

As a doctor, I often stress the importance of a healthy, balanced diet for managing diabetes. For many patients, incorporating lean protein sources like meat into their meals is a crucial part of achieving this balance.

However, not all meats are created equal, and it’s essential to choose options that are low in fat and high in nutrients. That’s why I’ve put together this list of the top 9 best diabetic-friendly meat options to help you make informed choices and maintain a nutritious diet.

9 Types of Meat that you can eat safely in Diabetes

Skinless Chicken Breast

Skinless chicken breast is one of the leanest and most versatile protein sources that can be easily incorporated into a diabetes diet. It’s low in fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol, which makes it a great choice for helping to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Eating skinless chicken breast regularly can help provide essential amino acids needed for energy metabolism, tissue maintenance, and growth.

This type of meat is also an excellent source of high-quality proteins, making it an ideal choice as part of a balanced meal plan for people with diabetes. Not only does this type of poultry offer important nutrients like phosphorus, selenium, and vitamin B6, but its versatility allows you to enjoy it in many different ways–including grilling, baking or even stir-frying. In addition to being delicious and easy to prepare, skinless chicken breast can also be used as a base for creating flavorful recipes that are not only nutritious but also satisfying.

Veggie causing Diabetes


Moving on from chicken, another popular protein source for people with diabetes is turkey. The lean white meat of the turkey makes it a great option to help keep blood sugar levels in check while providing essential nutrients and flavor. It’s easy to incorporate turkey into your diet through sandwiches, tacos, salads, and more!

Here are five reasons why you should include turkey as part of your diabetes care:

  • Turkey provides good-quality protein which is important for muscle repair and development
  • Eating moderate portions can be beneficial for controlling blood glucose levels
  • Rich in B vitamins like niacin which helps maintain healthy cells
  • Low-fat content reduces the risk of heart disease associated with diabetes
  • Plant-based proteins such as beans or lentils make a nutritious alternative if desired

Incorporating turkey into your lifestyle factors is an excellent way to get the balance between nutrition and taste without compromising on health goals. Whether you prefer ground turkey burgers, roasted slices, or diced pieces in stir-fry dishes – there are lots of delicious recipes available online that will provide satisfying meals every day!

Lean Beef

When it comes to types of meat that are safe to eat with diabetes, lean beef is an excellent and nutritious option. Lean beef includes cuts such as round steak or ground beef. Ground beef contains a good amount of iron, zinc, and B vitamins which can help keep your energy levels up throughout the day. It’s also important for those living with diabetes to watch their intake of saturated fats, making ground beef a great choice because it is lower in fat than other meats like Canadian bacon or corned beef.


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In addition to being packed full of essential vitamins and minerals, eating leaner cuts of red meat has been associated with improved satiety after meals – meaning you’ll feel fuller longer without overdoing it on calories. Plus, its versatility makes it easy to incorporate into different recipes! From stewed dishes to burgers, there are many ways to enjoy this delicious protein source in your diet while managing blood sugar levels at the same time.

Fish Like Salmon

Continuing on from lean beef, another great option for people with diabetes is fish like salmon. Fish is a fantastic source of protein and also contains healthy fats that can help lower the risk of developing insulin resistance. Eating fish regularly provides numerous health benefits while helping to maintain a balanced diet.

Low in calories and fat High in omega-3 fatty acids  Provides vitamins and minerals such as iron, zinc, magnesium, seleniumMay contain mercury or other contaminants if not sourced correctly

When choosing fish, it’s best to pick wild-caught varieties when possible as they tend to have higher levels of omega-3s than farm-raised. Additionally, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends eating two servings per week of fatty fish like salmon to reduce your risk of diabetes complications. This recommendation can be incorporated into meals easily given the variety of recipes available online.

Salmon does come with some risks including high levels of fat and cholesterol so it should be consumed in moderation depending on individual dietary needs. It’s important to check with healthcare providers before making major changes to diets or increasing the intake of certain foods due to potential drug interactions or allergies. All things considered though, adding fish like salmon into meal plans may be an excellent way for those living with diabetes to support their overall health goals.


A shellfish is a great option for those with diabetes. It has a low glycemic index and can help regulate blood sugar levels. Additionally, shellfish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids which have been shown to be beneficial for people with diabetes.

The health benefits of eating shellfish don’t stop there:

  • Weight loss: Studies show that consuming shellfish may be linked to weight loss and improved heart health in diabetics.
  • Intake of red meat: Shellfish is much lower in saturated fat than other sources of protein, making it an excellent alternative to the intake of high amounts of red meat.
  • The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that individuals who ate at least two servings of seafood per week had better overall metabolic control compared to those who consumed less or no fish.

Eating shellfish can help you manage your diabetes while providing valuable nutrients like essential vitamins and minerals as well as healthy proteins and fats. Plus, its delicious taste makes it easy to incorporate into any meal plan!

Rabbit Meat

Moving away from shellfish, another type of meat that can be safely consumed for diabetes is rabbit meat. Rabbit meat has historically been overlooked due to its availability and cost; however, it may provide potential benefits for people with diabetes.

High protein contentNot widely available or affordable in many areas
Low fat and caloriesDifficult to source sustainably-raised meat

Rabbit meat provides a high level of protein which helps stabilize blood sugar levels and makes the body more efficient at removing glucose from the bloodstream.

According to a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, rabbits are considered one of the better choices for diabetics when compared to other types of red meats such as beef or pork. It’s important to note though that like all meats, portions should still be small when consuming rabbit so as not to raise your cholesterol levels too much.

Eating too many animal products can increase triglyceride levels and contribute to heart disease even if they’re leaner cuts. Therefore, moderation is key! Knowing how beneficial rabbit meat can be for those with diabetes can help you make better dietary decisions moving forward. With careful portion control and mindful consumption habits, rabbits could become an enjoyable addition to any diabetic diet.

Bison Meat

Bison meat is a great option for people with diabetes, as it contains fewer calories and less saturated fat than other red meats. This type of meat can be an excellent source of protein and fatty acids that are beneficial to overall health.

Here’s why bison meat might be an ideal choice for those with diabetes:

  • It’s lower in saturated fat and cholesterol compared to beef or pork, reducing the risk of heart disease;
  • It has a higher content of essential fatty acids like omega-3s which may help control blood sugar levels;
  • Bison is also nutrient-dense so you get more nutrition out of every bite!

The main takeaway here is that bison meat offers some unique benefits compared to traditional red meats. Eating lean cuts from this animal can provide numerous nutritional benefits without compromising on flavor or texture. Not only does bison taste delicious, but it helps ensure your body gets all the vitamins, minerals, and proteins it needs while helping keep your blood glucose levels under control!


Moving on from the discussion of bison meat, let’s explore venison. This type of meat is derived from deer and can be a healthy option for those with diabetes. However, it is important to remember that processed meats should still be avoided as they are higher in saturated fat and sodium than other proteins. Hot dogs or sausages made from venison could also pose a risk due to their high processing levels.

When consuming this type of meat, people with diabetes should make sure to eat lean cuts alongside whole grains such as brown rice or quinoa. Eating too much red or processed meat has been linked to an increased risk of cancer and heart disease so moderation is key when it comes to these foods. It is therefore advisable for diabetics to enjoy venison occasionally but not regularly as part of their diet plan. Diabetics looking for protein sources that are low-risk may wish to consider fish, poultry, eggs, tofu, and legumes instead.

Lean Cuts Of Pork

When it comes to managing diabetes, the American Diabetes Association recommends that you pay attention to your intake of protein. Lean cuts of pork can be a great option for those with diabetes because they are low in saturated fat and cholesterol, both of which can lead to weight gain and higher levels of bad cholesterol. Additionally, lean pork is rich in important nutrients such as thiamin, vitamin B6, and zinc—all essential vitamins and minerals needed by your body.

Including lean cuts of pork in your diet is also a good idea since it helps keep blood sugar levels stable. In addition, eating lean pork may reduce other risk factors associated with type 2 diabetes, according to research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Therefore, incorporating lean pork into your meal plan every once in a while is an excellent way to ensure you’re getting all the necessary proteins without compromising on taste or nutritional value.

6 Worst Protein choices, if you have Diabetes

Here are some of the worst choices to get protein:

  • Pork bacon
  • Fried meat
  • Deep-fried fish
  • High-fat meat
  • Regular cheese
  • Beans prepared with lard

Make sure you avoid fried meat. Many doctors allow the meat lover diabetic patient to eat meat but only in small portions. Even small portions of fried meat can cause problematic situations, so avoid it as much as possible.

It was found in research that people with a high intake of plant-based food were found to be more stable in their physical and emotional health. Even the one with the symptoms of depression had improved.

But let’s get one thing cleared: eating meat is not wrong, and even eating red meat is wrong, but certain limitations are significant. There are many limitations to red meat, but those are necessary.

Red meat is rich in protein, and you can also eat them but only in limited amounts. Try to avoid all processed meat such as sausages, hot dogs, and many more as much as possible, or avoid it altogether.

According to one research, people who ate plant-based food items had quick results in weight loss. Some of them even reduced half of their actual weight.

If you choose to eat red meat occasionally, then make you choose the wise method to cook it. Always remember to boil or steam your meat. People who roast the meat, barbeque it, or broil has a higher risk and the ones who boiled it and steamed it had no risk.

You can also pan-fry your meat to reduce the risk of diabetes. Always add some other vegetables to get some extra nutrition along with the protein. Make some healthy salads and don’t forget to add some carrots and cabbage, which are very important for your vision and other benefits.

Adding rice to your meal and the meat may increase the blood sugar level, and avoid eating rice as much as possible. White bread and pasta are also included in the list to increase the blood glucose level.

Final Words

As a doctor, I highly recommend incorporating diabetic-friendly meats into your diet for optimal health. With their low glycemic index and high protein content, these meats can help control blood sugar levels and promote satiety. From chicken and turkey to seafood and lean beef, the top 9 diabetic meat options offer a wide range of options to suit any taste preference. By choosing these nutritious meats, you can support your overall well-being and manage your diabetes with ease.



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