A well-meal plan for a diabetic is important for managing blood glucose levels and weight, and may help reduce the risk of heart disease and Type 2 diabetes complications. This article looks at a range of healthy foods for people with diabetes, as well as some basic tips for planning your meals.
Diabetes Diet Plan: Guidelines, Tips & Sample Menu
Managing type 2 diabetes is not simple. Along with all the restrictions it imposes, the buzz around “Clean Eating” is enough to make any diabetic feel overwhelmed. It is true that a healthy diet is the foundation for living well with type 2 diabetes. However, deciding what to eat to maintain a healthy blood sugar level doesn’t have to be a daily struggle. Let’s examine what a healthy diet should consist of for diabetes.
The Basics Of A Good Diabetes Diet Plan
A Mix of Nutritious & Natural Foods
Let me simplify this. A good type 2 diabetes diet plan ensures that you get:
- Adequate amount of fiber-rich whole grains
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
- Organic lean cuts of organic meats, and
- A good amount of healthy fats from sources like fatty fish, avocados, coconut oil and grass-fed butter
The basics of a diabetes diet plan are simple. Smoke out all hidden sugars from your diet, cut back on carbohydrates, add more fiber to your diet and choose the fats you eat wisely.
You must realize that increased blood sugar levels are caused by a variety of factors. Sugars are the end product of all carbohydrate breakdown. Because of this, selecting the proper source of carbohydrates is crucial to your diabetes diet plan. For any diabetic, fruits and vegetables are the best sources of carbohydrates. It is better to stay away from refined carbs with a high glycemic index because the body easily converts them into simple sugars. Complex carbs found in grains make wiser choices. Complex carbohydrates include foods like brown rice, quinoa, barley, steel-cut oats, whole-wheat breads, buckwheat, and millets.
Space Out Your Meals
We must emphasize this idea often. Limit your daily meal intake to three, and try to fast for 10 to 12 hours between dinner and breakfast. Throw out the myth that eating regularly will help you maintain a healthy blood sugar level. Your body NEEDS a pause in between each of the three meals so that it may regain its sensitivity to insulin. Allow your body to use stored fat as fuel between meals.
Learn To Use Good Fats
Changing your diet to reverse diabetes is a lifetime commitment, but it’s not as challenging as it may sound, we would like to say at this point. We all know that for decades, we have consumed much too many carbohydrates, which is likely a large part of the current global epidemic of Type 2 Diabetes. We are unable to envision a life where we are required to make these sacrifices. But it is possible. It requires some getting accustomed to. However, if you include the healthy fats your body requires in your diabetes diet, it will adapt by learning to utilise fats rather than seeking sugar.
3 Easy Options To Move To A Diabetes Diet Plan:
After going over the fundamentals of a sound diabetes diet plan, let’s talk about how you can start eating properly. There are three ways to switch to a better eating habit after learning the fundamentals. Do speak with a dietitian to go through your individual health issues and choose the ideal eating plan for you.
Option 1: Design Your Plate
This is a straightforward method that will guarantee you put the proper kind of carbohydrates on your plate. It centers on designing your plate using these strategies, which are advised by the American Diabetes Association:
- Any non-starchy vegetables of your choice should take up half of your plate. Examples include tomatoes, lettuce, beans, broccoli, zucchini, spinach, and asparagus.
- Next, add a lean protein of your choosing to the remaining quarter of your dish. Lean pork chops, grilled chicken or turkey breast, poached salmon, and tuna are some examples.
- Whole grains high in fiber should take up the final quarter of your plate. We advise eating millets, brown rice, quinoa, barley, and steel-cut oats. If you want to try a meal without grains, you might substitute starchy vegetables for the grains. Sweet potatoes, maize, peas, winter squash, and dried beans are all options.
Option 2: Carbohydrate Counting
We absolutely oppose the practice of counting calories. All calories are not created equally. 200 calories from a grilled chicken breast cannot be compared to 500 calories from a bag of chips. Period.
However, the concept of counting carbohydrates does make sense for those who are new to following a low-carb diet. Why? They have the biggest effect on your blood glucose level since all carbohydrates break down into glucose.
So it makes sense to monitor your carbohydrate intake carefully to maintain appropriate blood sugar levels.
Although the American Diabetes Association continues to advise diabetics to consume 135-230 grams of carbohydrates day, we think this recommendation is simply too high. To balance blood sugar levels and promote weight loss, limit your daily carbohydrate consumption to 30 to 50 grams. This is especially beneficial for diabetics. It serves as the cornerstone of an LCHF diet and aids in the improvement of heart health parameters in diabetic patients.
According to a study that followed a limited number of obese patients with type 2 diabetes for two weeks, they significantly improved their hemoglobin A1c, insulin sensitivity, and 24-hour blood glucose profiles. Additionally, it resulted in lower plasma cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Low-carbohydrate diets therefore make a LOT of sense.
Although first carb counting may seem difficult, you will soon get the hang of it. To get the portions accurate when using this method, you will need to make a purchase of kitchen weighing scales. After doing this for a few weeks or months, you won’t need to measure quantities for each meal in order to eat the recommended amounts of carbohydrates (from healthy, fiber-rich sources!).
Option 3: Following Glycemic Index
Another way to regulate blood sugar levels through the proper diabetes diet is to follow the Glycemic Index (GI). This technique classifies all carbohydrates according to how they impact blood sugar levels. While foods with a high GI will raise blood sugar levels, those with a low GI won’t. For your information, a GI rating of 70 or above is thought to be high, 56 to 69 is thought to be medium, and 55 or less is thought to be moderate.
Although the GI approach is simple in theory, it has some drawbacks. It neglects to take into account all the factors that cause blood sugar to rise, such as portion sizes and cooking techniques. It also gives little thought to the food’s nutritional value. While many low-GI items, like potato chips, may not be the healthiest option, high-GI fruits, like watermelon, can be easily accommodated into a balanced diabetic diet plan.
Checking the Glycemic Load, which takes into account both the GI of a food and the number of carbs/portion size, is a better idea.
Get Started With This 3-Day Sample Diabetes Diet Meal Plan
Start Your Diabetes Diet With This 3-Day Sample Meal Plan
Are you still unsure on where to begin? First off, we strongly advise that you consider your level of activity. For those who have sedentary, moderately active, or very active lifestyles, we have pre-designed 7 Day Diabetes Meal Plans.
But here is a straightforward, fundamental 3-day sample diabetic meal plan for people who are already feeling overwhelmed by their diabetes diagnosis and don’t want to try on too much too fast. It provides approximately 1,200 to 1,600 calories daily. Once you’re on the right track, you may learn more about activity levels and choosing foods that are appropriate for your level of activity.
Day 1 – Diabetes Diet Plan
1 portion Oven Baked Eggs with Tomato Salsa
1 cup unsweetened Tea/Coffee
1 portion Easy Greek Salad
1 Apple, with peel
1 portion One-Pan Baked Chicken with Vegetables
1 slice Whole-Wheat Bread
Day 2 – Diabetes Diet Plan
1 portion Oatmeal with Chia Seeds
1 cup Coffee/Tea, unsweetened
1 portion Grilled Eggplant Panini
1 glass freshly-made Lemonade
1 portion Vegetable Stir Fry
1 cup Brown Rice, cooked
Day 3 – Diabetes Diet Plan
1 portion Courgette, Carrot & Tomato Frittata
1 cup of 1% Milk
1 portion Stuffed Peppers
1 cup Blueberries
1 portion Sole Fillets With Oranges
1 cup Tossed Mixed Green Salad with lettuce, spinach, cucumbers and tomatoes
Choose between a piece of fruit, a cup of carrot sticks or a handful of nuts if you must snack.
If you have Diabetes Type 2, it’s time to begin your journey towards a healthier YOU by changing the way you eat. Remember – incorporating a versatile variety of ‘foods found in nature’ is the most healthy and sustainable approach to managing diabetes.
Diabetic Diet: What to Eat & Avoid (with Meal Plan)
A diabetic diet seeks to limit consumption of lipids (such fried food and butter), simple carbs (like refined sugar and honey), refined flour (found in white bread and pastas), and fatty proteins (like meat, eggs and cheese). These foods can cause blood sugar abnormalities in diabetics when consumed in excess.
Foods high in fiber, like fruit with the peel, fresh vegetables, and whole grains, should be prioritized in diabetic diets. But you should only eat these in moderation. Even if they are healthful, excessive consumption might still result in high blood sugar levels. Lean proteins like white fish and chicken, as well as foods with healthy fats like olive oil, should also be prioritized.
In order to prevent low blood sugar episodes, you should also try to eat 4 to 6 times a day, spaced 2 to 4 hours apart. If you are suffering symptoms like lightheadedness, dizziness, fainting, or even seizures, you may have hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. Additionally, diabetics should exercise within two hours of eating to prevent hypoglycemia when exercising.
What to eat
Diabetics should eat food that is rich in fiber, lean protein and good fats, like:
- Whole grains: especially whole wheat flour and rice, whole grain pastas, oatmeal and quinoa
- Legumes: like beans, soybeans, chickpeas, lentils and peas
- Vegetables: preferably fresh veggies, like lettuce, tomato, arugula, chard, pumpkin and onion
- Lean meats: like white fish, chicken, lean cuts of beef
- Fruit: especially fresh fruit which can be eaten whole or sliced, like orange, papaya, peach, pineapple, pear and tangerine
- Healthy fats: like avocado, coconut, and vegetable oils (like extra virgin olive oil and avocado oil)
- Nuts and seeds: like chestnuts, peanuts, hazelnuts, nuts and peanuts
- Milk and dairy products: preferable skim products that are unsweetened, like skim milk, Greek yogurt, and white cheeses like ricotta and cottage cheese
Best fruits to eat
Although they should be a part of your diet, fruit should be consumed in small quantities because they contain natural sugars. You should have one portion of fruit per meal. These are some guidelines in terms of quantities:
- 1 medium piece of whole fruit, like an apple, banana, orange, tangerine or pear
- 2 thin slices of a large fruits, like watermelon, melon, papaya or pineapple
- 1 handful of small fruits, like 8 grapes or cherries
- 1 tablespoon of dried fruit, like raisins or dried plums
In addition, you should avoid consuming fruit together with high-carb food, like white rice, bread and sweets.
Food to avoid
Food that is high in sugar or simple carbohydrates should be avoided by diabetics. Examples include:
- Sugar and sweets in general
- Honey, fruit jello, jellies, marmalade, pastries and cookies
- Chocolate and gummies
- Sweet drinks, like soda, processed juices and chocolate milk
- Tubercles, like potato, sweet potato, and yams, as these are high in carbs and should be consumed in small portions
- Processed meat, like prosciutto, turkey slices, hot dogs, sausage, bacon, mortadella and salami
- Alcoholic drinks, like beer, wine and liquor
Yacon, a potato-like root vegetable, is very low in calories and rich in prebiotic fibers that help to manage sugar levels. This is a great option for diabetics.
It is important to read label information carefully before purchasing food, as sugar can be hidden with names like glucose, corn syrup, fructose, maltose, and maltodextrin.
Meal plan example for diabetics
The following table demonstrates a 3-day meal plan for diabetics:
|Meal||Day 1||Day 2||Day 3|
|Breakfast||1 cup of black coffee + 1 slice of whole wheat bread + 1-egg omelet||1 cup of unsweetened coffee with skim milk + ½ a papaya + 1 scrambled egg||1 Greek yogurt + 1 slice of whole grain bread + 1 slice of ricotta cheese|
|Morning snack||1 apple + 10 cashews||1 cup of green juice +.2 Brazilian nuts||1 smashed banana + 1 tablespoon of oats|
|Lunch or Dinner||2 tablespoons of whole grain rice + 3 tablespoons of beans + 1 grilled chicken breast + grated carrot and chards, stir-fried in olive oil + 1 whole orange||Fish baked in olive oil + 2 tablespoons of potato, broccoli and cauliflowers + 1 pear with peel||1 ladle of whole wheat pasta with ground meat and homemade tomato sauce + salad made with lettuce, tomato, raw and grated yacon potato + 2 thin slices of melon|
|Afternoon snack||1 skim Greek yogurt + 1 tangerine||1 cup of smoothie made with avocado, skim milk and sweetener||1 cup of black coffee + 1 slice of whole grain cake + 2 walnuts|
This meal plan is merely one possible option for your diet. You should speak with a qualified dietitian for the best diabetes management so that a complete evaluation may be performed. You can get a more specialized, unique food plan from an RD.
10 Meal Planning Tips for Cooking with Diabetes
Considering that all types of diabetes—type 1, type 2, and prediabetes—involve high blood glucose levels, regulating meals becomes essential to a diabetic’s health and wellbeing. But it might be challenging to arrange satisfying meals. Continue reading for our top 10 suggestions for creating smart diabetic meal plans and better understanding how to control diabetes with food.
It’s crucial for friends and family to be able to eat together and create memories at the dinner table, regardless of whether you or someone you love has been diagnosed with diabetes. Honoring everyone’s limits, allergies, and preferences could seem burdensome, but it doesn’t have to be.
With the right plan, you can put joy back into your cooking as you cater any dish to your lifestyle and your dinner guests.
10 Meal Planning Tips for Diabetics
1. UNDERSTAND YOUR CARBOHYDRATES
Sugars, starches, and fibers are the three basic forms of carbohydrates. Starches are complex carbohydrates that take longer for the body to digest than sugars, starches are simple carbohydrates that are easily absorbed by the body, and fibers are indigestible carbohydrates.
Remember that for someone with diabetes, simple carbs aren’t necessarily “bad” and complex carbs aren’t always “better.” Through glycemic index ranking, the impact of a simple or complex carbohydrate on blood sugar levels is clearly identified.
2. HAVE A GLYCEMIC INDEX CHART HANDY
Although research indicates that the amount of carbohydrates in a food you consume is the best indicator of your blood glucose reaction, it is always a good idea to check the glycemic index (GI) of a dish. The GI grades carbohydrates according to how quickly and how much blood glucose levels rise after consuming a specific food. These are the GI regulations:
- Low = 0-55
- Medium = 56-69
- High = 70+
A quick GI check is especially helpful if you are at the grocery store or eating out and can’t count carbs. Here are two convenient GI search engines – Diet Grail and Glycemic Index.
3. COUNT THOSE CARBS
Counting carbs may sound tedious, but it is an essential step for a diabetic who wants to avoid future health complications. When grocery shopping, always look at food labels and pay close attention to both the grams of total carbohydrates and the serving sizes.
4. GET APP HAPPY!
There are many apps out there that can help diabetics count carbs and manage their food life right from their smart phone, iPad, or tablet. Here are a few of our favorites:
- Fooducate helps users actually understand the pros and cons of particular foods while setting weight loss goals. This free app lets you seamlessly input meals and track your carbs, proteins, and fats.
- Glucosio is a free app that keeps track of your A1C, blood pressure, ketones, cholesterol, weight, and more. It also provides daily, weekly, and monthly graphs and analysis, and lets you anonymously contribute to diabetes research if you so choose.
- MyFitnessPal is a free website and mobile app that helps you customize your diet goals and take control of tracking with the largest nutrition and food database (over 300 million foods!). But wait, it gets better! Our meal plans integrate directly with the app to make eating and tracking a cinch. Read on for more info on our helpful features.
- MyNetDiary Diabetes Tracker has a food database, barcode scanner, carb counter, and many more features. It is made for managing type 1, type 2, prediabetes, and gestational diabetes, and only costs $3.99.
- If your style is a little more old school, grab a pen and fill in an inspirational food and fitness journal.
5. EMBRACE UNPROCESSED FOODS
Stick to unprocessed veggies, fruits, legumes, and whole grains to consume the best kind of carbohydrates. The most vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytonutrients are provided by meals that are fresh and natural.
Additionally, a grain is digested and absorbed more quickly the finer it is ground. In contrast to milled and refined grains, whole grains digest more slowly and don’t cause a sudden surge in blood sugar levels. Accept brown rice and whole oats if you want to have some grains!
6. DON’T FORGET FIBER
Although fiber is a type of carbohydrate, be careful to include adequate fiber in your low-carb meal plans. Women should consume 25 grams daily, while men should consume 38 grams. Foods high in fiber typically contain fewer carbohydrates that are actually digested and absorbed. Instead, high-fiber diets slow down digestion, result in a slower rise in blood sugar, control how the body uses sugar, and support normal levels of hunger.
7. PLAN MEALS THAT HELP YOU SLIM DOWN
If a person with diabetes does not adequately manage the disease, a number of medical complications might arise. A significant risk factor for developing new health issues is being overweight. To lose even a few pounds, which can really make a difference, use effective meal planning.
For those who have been diagnosed with prediabetes, losing weight is also essential. Borderline diabetics have the chance to adopt lifestyle adjustments that can naturally and permanently lower their blood glucose levels to a normal range. The special aspects of our meal plan service that can help you lose excess weight are described in more detail below.
8. KEEP THE RIGHT BALANCE
There is no ideal percentage of calories that diabetics should consume from protein, fat, or carbohydrates, according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA). Everybody has a unique body. Some of their recommendations are listed below, but it’s always a good idea to consult your doctor and a nutritionist.
- Reduce sodium to 2,300 mg / day
- Eat healthy fats in small amounts, replacing saturated with unsaturated fats
- Choose lean proteins and meat alternatives
- Moderate all alcoholic beverages
9. CONTROL YOUR PORTIONS
Data obtained by the USDA demonstrate the significant variation between portion sizes in 1984 and 2004. An average blueberry muffin had 290 less calories in the 1980s than it does now. There were 400 fewer calories in even an apparently healthy dish like a chicken caesar salad.
Given that weight has a big impact on managing diabetes, using a practical travel plate like Precise Portions that won’t let you cheat can make portion control a breeze. The ADA suggests putting protein in the other part and non-starchy vegetables, cereals, and starchy items in the largest section. It’s also a good idea to include a modest portion of fruit and/or dairy.
10. THINK ABOUT ALTERNATIVE DIETS
10% of persons with type 1 diabetes also have celiac disease, according to the American Diabetes Association. They also cite studies that demonstrate how a vegetarian or vegan diet can aid in the management and prevention of diabetes.
Cook Smarts Can Help You Manage Diabetes
With these ten suggestions, you should be able to better manage your diabetes diet. To make meal planning even simpler, use our meal plan service.
A weekly meal plan service called Cook Smarts makes it less stressful to prepare healthy dinners and enables you to control your nutrition in scrumptious ways. We provide you with a highly customized weekly menu, access to thousands of previously published recipes, and resources to help you learn more about food.
Here are 5 aspects of our meal plan service that can help you live a healthy life with diabetes:
1. SMART NUTRITION FACTS
You can see exactly which ingredients are giving you carbs, proteins, sugars, etc. using our sophisticated nutrition statistics on every recipe. This makes it possible for you to add more fiber or reduce the amount of sugar in any meal you choose. You can convert any dish to low carb using our clever facts.
2. RECIPE OPTIONS
It’s crucial to understand the items to stay away from when following a diabetic diet. Our meal plan service is a wonderful fit because the ADA states that a vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free diet may benefit diabetes. You can mix and match the four recipe variations on our weekly menu (Original, Paleo, Vegetarian, and Gluten-Free) so you won’t grow bored and crave foods that might not be suitable for those with diabetes.
3. ADJUSTABLE SERVING SIZES
We also provide you the option to change serving sizes to any amount, which is a useful recipe feature. You may plan for leftovers and use this to aid with portion management so you never run out of diabetic-friendly food!
We immediately integrate with the biggest calorie and nutrition database. By making meal monitoring quick and simple, the free website and mobile app MyFitnessPal enables you to take control of your nutrition. Learn how to use MyFitnessPal to track our meals conveniently.