Diet is the cornerstone of diabetes management. Good nutrition helps maintain optimal blood sugar levels and prevent or delay the long-term complications of diabetes. A well-balanced meal plan includes foods from all of the food groups.
- A healthy diet includes a mix of carbohydrates, protein, and fat
- Most people with diabetes benefit from eating three small meals and 2-3 snacks per day. (This varies depending on the type of diabetes and medications). More about snacking.
- Be consistent with serving sizes and eat meals and snacks at about the same time each day.
- Never skip meals.
- Eat a variety of foods each day including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, lean meats. More about fruits and vegetables.
- Eat sweets, salt and fried foods in small amounts.
- Carbohydrate content of common foods
Explore ways in which you can cater your diet regiment to your individual needs by choosing one of the options below. Remember that your meal plan is for you only. Talk to your Registered Dietitian or Certified Diabetes Educator to help you plan your meals. Each person with diabetes may have a slightly different meal plan. These guidelines apply to people on a fixed dose of medication or no medication for diabetes.
Basic Nutrition Tips
- Try to cut down on all sweet drinks: Juices, regular sodas, sweet tea, Gatorade®, regular lemonade or Kool Aid®.
- For thirst, drink: tap water, carbonated water, sugar free tonic water, Crystal Lite®, diet sodas, or artificially sweetened lemonade, Kool Aid® or tea (made with sugar substitutes such as Splenda/Equal/NutraSweet, etc.).
- Eat meals (and snacks, if needed) at regular times every day.
- Try not to skip meals. If you skip a meal, you may eat too much at your next meal and your blood sugar may go too high.
- Eat about the same amount of food each day. It helps blood sugar control and medication action (if medication is taken).
- If you want or need to start losing weight, cut down on your portion sizes, not on the number of meals.
- If you enjoy starches like bread, pasta, rice, tortilla, potatoes, green peas, corn, beans, crackers, cereals… make sure you eat small portions at each meal.
- If you are a milk drinker, spread the amount you drink throughout the day (not more than one 8-oz glass at a time).
- If you enjoy fruits, do the same as with milk. Don’t eat them all at one sitting. Your blood sugar may go too high.
- Enjoy a 10-20 minute walk/stroll after meals.
- Test your blood sugar!!! Please bring your meter to all your visits.
- Diabetes diet plans are available at the ADA website.
- The CDC’s website for nutrition covers a wide variety of topics related to good nutrition.
- Information regarding healthy eating and new, easy diabetic recipes can be found at dLife.
- Can I eat this?..Meal planning and tips by the ADA.
- WebMD provides some healthy snack ideas for Type 2 diabetics and tips for avoiding foods that may be harmful.
- Learn more about measuring the type of carbohydrate in foods by using IDF’s glycaemic index app.