Meal Planning and Diabetes

Content provided by: Better Medicine from Healthgrades

Eating right helps keep your blood sugar within a normal range. It also helps you maintain a healthy weight. Your health care team will help you make a meal plan that fits your needs. Your meal plan tells you when to eat your meals and snacks, what kinds of foods to eat, and how much of each food to eat.

What to eat

You don't have to give up all the foods you like. But you do need to follow some guidelines. If you have other medical problems, such as kidney disease, your meal plan may require that you stay away from more foods.

Eat mostly complex carbohydrates

These turn to sugar slowly. This helps keep your blood sugar within a normal range. Foods high in complex carbohydrates include:

  • Whole-grain breads and cereals

  • Bulgur wheat

  • Brown rice

  • Whole-wheat pasta

  • Green peas

  • Vegetables

  • Dry beans and peas

Eat high-fiber foods

Foods that are high in fiber can help lower your blood sugar. They also help keep your stool soft. Foods that are high in fiber include:

  • Brown rice

  • Whole-grain breads and cereals

  • Dry beans and peas

  • Vegetables

  • Fresh fruit

Eat less fat and sugar

Eating too much fat can cause heart disease. Eating too much sugar makes your blood sugar go up quickly. Both fat and sugar are high in calories, so they can make you gain weight.

Eat less of high-fat foods such as these:

  • Butter

  • Margarine

  • Oil

  • Cream

  • Cheese

  • Bacon

  • Lunch meats

  • Ice cream

  • Sweet bakery goods such as pies and donuts

Stay away from high-sugar foods such as these:

  • Jams and jellies

  • Candy bars

  • Regular sodas

How much to eat

The amount of food you eat affects your blood sugar. It also affects your weight. Your health care team will tell you how much of each type of food you should eat.

  • Use measuring cups and spoons and a food scale to measure serving sizes.

  • Eat only the number of servings given on your meal plan for each food. Don't take seconds.

When to eat

Your meal plan will most likely include breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a bedtime snack. It may also include a snack in the morning and the afternoon.

  • Eat your meals and snacks at the same times each day.

  • Eat all your meals and snacks. Skipping a meal or snack can make your blood sugar drop too low. It can also cause you to eat too much at the next meal or snack. Then your blood sugar could get too high.

Medical Reviewer: Chambers, Jeanette K, PhD, RN, CS; DeLeuw, Bonnie, RN, BSN, CDE Last Annual Review Date: 2013-04-02 Copyright: © 2000-2013 Krames StayWell, 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.

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