When you start a new weight loss plan, it seems like you’re given a laundry list of foods that are off-limits. You’ll be told “no ice cream, no potato chips, no cookies, no French fries” (and on and on) because these kinds of foods lend themselves to easier weight gain and elevated risk of Type 2 Diabetes. 

While it is true that there are foods and beverages that should not be staples in a healthy weight loss, strict elimination of any food will likely backfire. The off-limits rule could actually increase your desire for them. At the end of the day, it’s just not a helpful mindset for a sustainable healthy weight.

So what do you do?

First, start by establishing a positive mindset about food. Think about how food both nourishes and satisfies you. It’s not something to resent.

With that new mindset, think about the foods that can help you lower your diabetes risk. Here are some good choices:

Whole Fruit: A study published in BMJ Open found a diet high in whole fruits can lower diabetes risk. Researchers found three servings per week of blueberries, grapes, raisins, apples, or pears significantly reduced the risk of type 2 diabetes. However, fruit juice doesn’t count. Increasing consumption of fruit juice is associated with an increased diabetes risk, likely because of added sugars. By substituting juice with whole fruit, you reduce your diabetes risk by 7 percent. Whole fruit is an excellent addition to any meal or snack, and it will keep you feeling full because it’s packed with fiber.

Low-Fat Dairy: You can have your cheese and eat it too. In moderation and low-fat versions, it’s great for your health with its richness in calcium and Vitamin D. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that cheese-eaters have a 12 percent lower risk of the disease than non-cheese-eaters.

Nuts: Studies show people who regularly eat tree nuts (walnuts, almonds, and cashews) have a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, as well as heart disease and metabolic syndrome. They are high in calories, so make sure you watch your portion sizes to make sure you don’t overdo it. One serving of nuts goes a long way. You’ll feel satisfied until your next meal.

Switch to Whole Grains: Refined carbohydrates can cause blood sugar levels to skyrocket. Check the ingredient list on your bread and you’ll likely be shocked by the amount of sugar in one slice. Switch to whole-wheat bread, brown rice, and whole-wheat pasta. You won’t taste the difference, but the added fiber can help reduce diabetes risk.