Eating well with diabetes – The Dominican diet

Yes, you can continue eating and enjoying your favorite traditional dishes by following these simple steps:

Eating well with diabetes – The Dominican diet


The number one goal of diabetes treatment is to keep your blood sugar (glucose) levels as close to normal as possible. Your fasting blood sugar levels should be between 80-130 and no higher than 150 two hours after meals.

STEP # 2

Focus on YOUR numbers. Diabetes management is not a one size fits all. Your father’s treatment doesn’t have to match yours. Keeping your blood sugar levels as close to normal as possible decreases the risk of heart, kidney, and eye disease.

STEP # 3

The key to blood sugar control is to watch your PORTIONS and watch out for foods that contain CARBOHYDRATES. Carbohydrates turn into sugar and eating too many foods that contain carbohydrate will elevate your blood sugar levels.

1. Why do I have to stop eating rice, bread, cassava, ñame, and other viveres?

Foods such as rice, bread, cereals, cassava, plantains, name, and other viveres contain carbohydrates. Carbohydrates get converted into sugar. You can still eat foods that contain carbohydrates at every meal but you have to limit the portions.

Eating well with diabetes - The Dominican diet
2. What other foods contain carbohydrates?

All fresh fruits, frozen fruits, juices, canned juices and dried fruits, vegetables, milk, and yogurt, sweets and desserts.

3. So if I have to stop eating all of the foods that have carbohydrates, what is there to eat?

You don’t have to stop eating foods that have carbohydrates; you can still eat small portions of those foods at every meal. One serving of most starches is about ½ cup or about the size of a cupped hand. Most people need about two servings per meal. One serving size of fruit is about the size of a baseball
Consult with a dietitian or diabetes educator to help you find the right amount of carbohydrates per meal.

4. What about protein and fats? Are they bad for me?

Protein foods such as fish, eggs, turkey, chicken, beef, and pork are not converted into sugar. Remove the skin from the poultry and excess fats from meats. To select the leanest cuts of beef and pork choose those that end in “loin” or “round.” Choose healthy fats such as olive, canola, peanuts, nuts, and avocados. Remember: Eat small portions of protein and fats.


• Before you eat, determine which foods have carbohydrates
• Serve small portions of foods that have carbohydrates


Mangu, morir soñando, oatmeal and oatmeal drinks, cold cereals, juices, breads, yuca (cassava), milk, batidos or shakes with fruit.

TIP: Keep portions very small.


Rice, beans, plantain, viveres, plantains, corn, peas, potatoes, spaghetti and other pastas, shakes or batidos made with milk and juice, regular sodas, fruits, sancocho, casabe, empanadas, and other foods made with wheat, corn, cassava or plantain flours.

TIP: Fill half of your plate with vegetables such as eggplant, salads, broccoli, etc. Fill one quarter of your plate with any of the above foods and the other quarter with a lean protein food such as fish, turkey and chicken breast.

For more information and to find a diabetes educator in your area contact:
American Diabetes Association Home Page
American Association of Diabetes Educators

Lorena Drago MS RD CDN CDE
Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator
Foodways1 [at]

This is not medical advice, please consult your doctor.

In this article, exclusive for, author and dietitian Lorena Drago explains how to adapt the Dominican diet to the needs of diabetics. Lorena Drago, M.S., R.D., C.D.N., C.D.E, a diabetes educator and consultant for more than 20 years, is the chair of the Hispanic Latino Specialty Practice Group of ADietA. Ms. Drago is the author of Mas alla del arroz y las habichuelas (Beyond Rice and Beans): La guia latino-caribena para comer sano con diabetes (Spanish Edition).

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{ 6 comments… add one }

  • nikky July 13, 2014, 2:31 PM

    I was diagnosed having type 2 diabetes a year ago. Everything I eat raises my blood sugar except vegetables. I need help on what to eat

  • Migdalia June 18, 2014, 12:00 PM

    I was just diagnose with diabetes 2 and I just don’t know what to eat my family eats rice, beans everyday… :(

    • Aunt Clara June 21, 2014, 1:16 AM

      Migdalia, there’s a lot of diabetic-friendly recipes in our blog, start by checking the light ones in our collection.

  • nikky May 26, 2014, 1:16 PM

    I didn’t know green plantain contains carbohydrate & raises gugar levelk

    • Aunt Clara June 10, 2014, 1:22 PM

      It certainly does, although it’s better than potatoes and bread.

  • nessy May 9, 2014, 3:27 PM

    Green Plantain Glycemic Index
    The glycemic index of raw green plantain is 40, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition notes. Boiled green plantain has a GI of 38. This means that green plantain is a low GI food, and will not raise your blood sugar rapidly after being eaten.