Guide to Food Planning for Diabetics

Published in Recipes, Healthy Eating Tips Author: CentraCare

Good health begins with good nutrition. This is true for everyone. But when you have diabetes, it is especially important to pay attention to when you eat, how much you eat, and what you eat.

Follow these helpful tips:

  • Eat meals and planned snacks at about the same times each day.
  • Avoid skipping meals
  • Eat small- to medium-sized portions
  • Eat a variety of foods
  • Be physically active

Carbohydrate is the main nutrient in food that affects blood sugar (glucose) levels. You can help control your blood glucose levels by eating the same amount of carbohydrates at each meal and snack. Foods in the starch, fruit, and milk groups contain carbohydrate. Choose foods from each of these groups every day.

You need to eat foods from all of the food groups to stay healthy. Use the food pyramid as a guide when choosing foods. Remember to keep added fats and sweeteners to a minimum.

Carbohydrate Choices

Pay special attention to the carbohydrate in your food plan. A food plan usually includes three to four carbohydrate choices at each meal, and one to two choices at each snack. One carbohydrate choice is 15 grams of carbohydrate.

Quick Tips: 15-gram portions of carbohydrates

1 Starch/Bread Exchange

  • 1 slice bread
  • 1/2 cup cooked cereal
  • 3/4 cup dry cereal
  • 1/3 cup cooked pasta or rice
  • 1 small baked potato
  • 1/2 cup starchy vegetable

1 Fruit Exchange

  • 1 medium apple
  • 1 medium orange
  • 12 - 15 grapes
  • 1/2 medium banana
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup fruit juice

1 Milk Group

  • 8 ounces skim or low-fat milk
  • 3/4 cup to 1 cup plain low-fat yogurt or artificially sweetened yogurt

Other Carbohydrate Choices

  • 1/2 cup casserole or hot dish
  • 1/2 cup light ice cream
  • 1 cup soup