Good Nutrition & Recipes

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Healthy Eating for People with Diabetes

Any food can be worked into your meal plan, but it’s important to consider how you eat in addition to what you eat. For example, try not to skip meals. Your body needs foods containing carbohydrates every 4 to 5 hours during the day.

When you’re hungry, eat a snack, 2 to 3 hours before or after your meal. Try to choose low-fat, high-fiber snacks, such as fresh fruits or raw vegetables.

Even though you don’t have to completely avoid foods high in sugar, it is best to limit portions of high-sugar foods.

Eat lots of high-fiber foods.

If you are overweight, even a modest weight loss, say 10 to 15 pounds, is helpful in controlling your blood sugar level.

Eat less fat, especially saturated fat.

Increase physical activity.

Learn how many grams of carbohydrate to eat per meal. This amount varies depending on activity level, body size, and age. Blood sugar monitoring will help you determine how your body is processing carbohydrates. Your diabetes educator can help you determine this as well.

Carbohydrates are the foods that the body turns to blood sugar. Diabetics need to eat carbohydrates, just not too much. Examples of carbohydrates are as follows:

  • Starches — bread, English muffin, bagel, waffle, pancake, crackers, cereal, potatoes, rice, pasta, popcorn, corn, green peas, winter squash, beans (navy, pinto, black, kidney), lentils
  • Fruits — fresh fruit, unsweetened canned fruit, frozen fruit, and fruit juice
  • Milk — milk, light yogurt
  • Sugar—white table sugar, brown sugar, molasses, and honey

Sample Menu

Breakfast (7 am)
1 cup oatmeal (Splenda to sweeten)
¼ cup nonfat milk
½ cup berries, coffee or tea as desired

Snack (9:30 am)
Optional—light yogurt

Lunch (noon)
2 slices of whole wheat bread (3-4 ounces of turkey or other lean meat, tomato,
onion, lettuce, light mayo, and mustard)
1 small apple
1 cup baby carrots, 2 tbs. light ranch dressing dip
Diet soda or water

Snack (3pm)
Optional—fresh fruit or 3 cups popcorn

Dinner (6 pm)
3-4 ounces baked chicken breast
1 cup rice
2 cups steamed broccoli
Tossed green salad, 2 tbs. light dressing

Evening Snack
(Optional—talk to your diabetes educator about your snack needs.)
6 wheat crackers
1 ounce low-fat mozzarella cheese

*Drink lots of water throughout the day.