Diabetes Diet Meal Plan: What Foods to Eat in Diabetes?

If you’re reading this, then in all probability, you or your dear one has diabetes or prediabetes. You are also aware that in diabetes type 1 or type 2, eating the right foods and having the right diabetes-friendly diet plan is as important as the diabetes medication.

Otherwise, your treatment will just not be as effective.  Knowing what foods to eat and what foods not to eat in diabetes, therefore, is of paramount importance in the management of diabetes. Furthermore, the diabetes diet menu card does not put too many restrictions and you should have no problems adhering to it.

It is a healthy eating plan for diabetes, which gives you the right amount of nutrients and stays low on fats and calories. It is a low-carb diet, which improves your blood sugar levels, helps in weight loss and is also good for heart health.

What is the diabetic diet plan and how it will help?

The diabetes eating plan outlines three broad elements, which you should follow:

a) Eat about the same amount of food every day, to avoid eating more calories and putting on weight.

b) An average structured adult should have about 1500 to 2000 calories per day through      his diet.

c) Balance the diabetic diet with appropriate amounts of carbohydrates, fats, fiber and protein intake for proper nutrition and diabetic care. This will vary from individual to individual and your dietician will help you on this one.

How it helps: It will help to keep your blood sugar levels in check. Secondly, it will keep your symptoms under control.  Thirdly, studies have shown that the proper diet with exercise can well reverse diabetes type 2 !

Foods for diabetes and their nutritional value

Your low-carb diabetes diet menu should consist of the following foods. They are foods, which we even otherwise eat and you are not going to feel much restricted in your food intake.

a) Whole Grains

Eat whole grain foods. Look for that “whole wheat”   indicator on the packing. As for bread, again choose whole wheat bread (brown).  Diabetics should prefer brown rice to the polished white rice.

Nutritional value:

Whole grains give you energy, vitamins, and fiber. Though whole grains and brown rice are rich in carbohydrates, they are essential.  They give your body fuel.  Secondly, they contain complex carbohydrates, which are digested slowly and do not cause spikes in blood glucose levels as simple sugars do.

b)  What vegetables to eat?

Vegetables along with fruits form an important part of the diabetic diet. Choose vegetables having high fiber content and always eat them fresh.

Such vegetables include leafy vegetables like cabbage, spinach, green beans, cucumber, onions, carrots, and tomatoes. Rotate the vegetables on a daily basis. Dried leaves like pinto beans and lentils are also good.

c) What fruits to eat in diabetes?

The American Diabetes Association regards fruits as an indispensable part of a diabetes diet. Fruits like apple, oranges, grapes and mangoes contain glucose but are necessary because they regulate the vitamins and minerals in the body.

Have five portions of fruits per day. A portion is what fits in your handful. For example, one apple or one mango, a handful of grapes will constitute one portion.

Nutritional value: 

They are a rich source of vitamin C, potassium, fiber and other important vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

When eaten raw, they are low on calories. Fruits add energy content to the diet. Certain fruits do contain glucose sugar, but the fiber content slows down the rate of absorption of the glucose. They also satisfy the craving for sugary foods.

c) Non-fat dairy products

Non-fat dairy products constitute skimmed milk, low-fat cheese, and low-fat yogurt.

Nutritional value: 

Low-fat milk and yogurt give energy, proteins, calcium, vitamins, and minerals. They are low on carbohydrates and, therefore, good for the diabetics.

d) Fat Intake

Eat healthy fats and keep a watch on the calorie intake. Monitor your blood cholesterol levels. Animal food proteins should be avoided as they contain saturated fats and diabetic patients are prone to have heart disease and high blood pressure.

Olive oils, olives, nuts contain low saturated fats and more of unsaturated fats and should be preferred. Choose more of fish, nuts, peas, and beans. Eat less of meats and poultry.

e) Water and diet drinks should be preferred.

What foods not to eat in diabetes?

Foods that diabetics should not eat are those that contain saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol because, as a diabetic, you are at a high risk of developing heart diseases and high blood pressure. Avoid sweets and restrict sugar intake to maintain normal sugar levels and salt intake to prevent high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.

  • Trans fats containing foods: chips, fried junk foods, butter, cookies, cakes, stick margarine, fat ice cream and such fatty foods.
  • Saturated fats: Again, beef, hot dogs, sausage, and bacon are a strict NO.
  • Cholesterol foods are high-fat dairy products and high-fat animal proteins, egg yolks, shellfish, liver, and other organ meats
  • Sodium intake (eg salt) should be restricted.
  • Sugar in small “table” quantities can be consumed only with the permission and advice of your attending physician.

From what is described above, make a diabetic diet sheet of all the foods in the menu. This chart will not only serve as an ideal for the diabetes people but for all the members of the family.

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