What Does a Diabetes-Friendly Meal Look Like?

By jayabee52 Latest Reply 2014-12-17 18:38:18 -0600
Started 2014-12-13 17:16:23 -0600

From "Living With Diabetes From Everyday Health"

Counting carbs is effective and plays a critical role in your diabetes control. So does portion control — and all you need to get started is an empty plate.


I have some ideas about I will share in the discussion section but this will hopefully give folks who are struggling with what they are eating a little nudge in the right direction

Praying for improving health


95 replies

Anonymous 2014-12-14 13:18:21 -0600 Report

Thank you for the meal information. What is the meal plan for those who has CKD 3 stage . i.e. low protein and low salt diet. My BMI is 24, GFR 30, morning BG is 98, post meal spike is 190, after 3 hrs 150, A1c 6.5. BP is 130/78 avg. Taking BP medicines. No medicine for sugar control.
My Endo has suggested Januvia 25 mg once a day for BG spike control and bring A1c down. However with CKG, I am little hesitant.
By the way, How do you feel about Dayalisis ?
My main objective right now is to avoid Dayalisis for as long as possible. How to achieve that? I will appreciate your experience in this matter.
Are there any new medical break thru on the horizon? Like Ritux or Cyclosporine protocols?
Once again thanks for the diet info.

jayabee52 2014-12-14 20:10:07 -0600 Report

Howdy Anon
I have stage 5 CKD for which I need dialysis. As I was approaching the threshhold for stage 5 (it took about 4 to 5 months) I had been on a low carb/high protein meal plan for a couple of months by then. My Kidney Dr (Nephrologist) would do a kidney blood panel once a month. I asked him if I needed to back off of the protein a bit, and he told me what I was doing was OK. He told me that there is currently a controversy over protein among nephrologists. some of the nephros favor low protein, others (like my Dr) say protein is necessary to maintain good health in general. I know that since I have been on dialysis, the Nephro who visits the clinic monthly and the nutritionist emphsize getting enough protein. I slipped below the suggested level for protein (albumin) for a couple of months and Dr ordered that I get a protein shake called Nepro every treatment. (I had good numbers for a couple of months and now the Nepro had been DC'd)

So if you have a Kidney Dr, you will want to consult him. Since you have stage 3 CKD, you should have one by now. So the protein issue you'll need to take up with that Dr.

How do I feel about Dialysis? If you can postpone it by following a kidney friendly meal plan, by all means do so! Kidney friendly is low in sodium, low in potassium and low in phosphorus. You can find foods which are low in those nutrients by Googling low phosphorus foods, low potassium foods and low sodium foods. The two big dialysis providers, Fresenius and DaVita also have lists of such foods as well as suggestions for Kidney friendly meals. Frenius may be found here ~ http://www.ultracare-dialysis.com/RecipeCente... DaVita may be found here ~ http://www.davita.com/recipes/ If you are not on my friends list I invite you to invite me to be your friend. Then we can chat on PM should the need or the fancy strike. I have a lot of info on Kidney disease and dialysis I could share with you. (too much to go into right now).

I have not heard of either Ritux or Cyclosporine protocols. I don't know much about new medical research but I will have to look up the medications you mention.

Blessings to you!

nefertari 2014-12-14 13:06:08 -0600 Report

Don't know how you people can keep to the diet. Being a gourmet cook and with all the recipes that I've collected from chiefs in the finest restaurants all around the world in my travels makes it hard to eat rabbit food and plain food. What's the secret???

Homely54 2014-12-16 10:18:35 -0600 Report

You certainly have the advantage of spice knowledge to make even a dish of rabbit food taste like a gourmet meal. Got any ideas?

caloparr 2014-12-16 09:11:17 -0600 Report

Some rabbit food, as you call it, is good, yet we do not need to limit ourselves to this type of food. Just apply what you've learned as a gourmet cook bearing in mind carbs and/or sugars throughout.

jayabee52 2014-12-14 20:12:39 -0600 Report

Howdy Nefertari
Wouldn't a gourmey cook worth her hat and apron should either know how to make diabetes friendly substitutions or tinker with the recipes until they are more diabetes friendly?
Just sayin'!

Fefe12 2014-12-14 18:08:04 -0600 Report

Why do you need to eat rabbit food? I say enjoy your recipes, just keep to portion control and watch your carbs

haoleboy 2014-12-14 13:45:54 -0600 Report

the desire to lead a long and healthy life with no/minimal complications from high blood glucose levels.
what more do you need?

Eat to live … Don't live to eat!


suzanne lowrie
suzanne lowrie 2014-12-14 12:29:12 -0600 Report

Since I got the fuzzy-logic rice cooker I'm going wild: steel-cut oats at night mixed with chia, hemp, flax, nuts, dark raisins, seeds, lemon rind, etc 1 cup of oats and 4 cups of water. Press a button and eat hot in the morning with Greek yogurt and some additional protein before swimming 1.5 hours. I drink two bottles of water while swimming then eat a banana in the car before driving

suzanne lowrie
suzanne lowrie 2014-12-14 12:15:51 -0600 Report

I also learned this summer how to fake stir-fried veggies. Buy a stir-fry package at Costco or a super market. Shake your veggies into pie plate and micro wave for 2 minutes. Then add the sesame, garlic, soysauce, chili dressing and nuke for three minutes. Toss. Bingo. Stir fry. Lovely with red wild-caught Alaskan salmon.

suzanne lowrie
suzanne lowrie 2014-12-14 12:11:08 -0600 Report

I learned this summer how to de-starch basmati rice. That makes rice an acceptable carb. You wash the basmati rice until the water is clear. 6-7 times. Then dump the drained rice into a huge pot of boiling salt water. 5 minutes. Then drain. Put the rice in the fuzzy logic rice cooker, add veggies, chopped whatever (mushrooms, Canadian bacon), and push a button. If you do this at night the de-starched rice is ready in the morning.

nefertari 2014-12-14 13:02:45 -0600 Report

Rice should be washed only once, otherwise you are washing all the vitamins and minerals away…I was told this in Hawaii, Egypt and Morocco.

lilleyheidi 2014-12-14 03:55:08 -0600 Report

I've been working on my food plan ongoing for the past several months, and i've lost about 50 lbs now since May. (just went to the doctor on Friday). My "diabetic food plan" is that i deny myself nothing, but I darn well better want something before I eat the less than healthy foods. I haven't eaten sliced bread in about 4 months, but a few weeks ago I went to a friends house for lunch and she had made vegetable soup and home made rye bread, you betcha, I had a slice of home made rye bread and didn't bat an eyelash at it. My numbers didn't go up at all. I won't have bread again for a long time, but I'm not about to say no to something like that. A few months ago I was craving chocolate, and ice cream, so I went out and ordered a kiddie cone of chocolate ice cream. YUMM… I didn't test after that, I'm sure I was up a bit, but the next meal I was right back on track.
My "normal" eating plan is 3 meals a day, proteins, fats and healthy carbs (about 50-75grams day) and snacks if my BG drops below 70. My doctor is pleased with how I am doing both on my weight loss and on my A1c. So for now, I'm happy.

eatfish97 2014-12-14 03:49:46 -0600 Report

Sunday Dec 14, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Hi James I have found that writing all I eat down helps and when I eat not to over eat and of course I do not even try fake deserts they are just as bad is a real one (portion control) thanks for sharing Ken.

RebDee 2014-12-14 04:46:21 -0600 Report

I use myfitnesspal.com and write everything that goes into my mouth no matter how small. But I do eat a bite of dessert now and again. For example, I was craving pumpkin pie so I got a piece for dessert at a restaurant, took a bite of the filling and left the crust. It was yummy and I enjoyed it and it satisfied me and my pumpkin pie craving.

valentine lady
valentine lady 2014-12-14 03:31:51 -0600 Report

Hi James,
First let me say i appreciate your discussion, especially fot the new diabetics who are at a loss.on how to eat. What portions are proper
etc. This way just makes it easier. The only difference I would make
is rather than just carbs , I would add fruit. I am very careful with my carbs and would rather use carbs in fruit, rather than say mash potatoes.
Otherwise great discussion.
Vslentine Lady

Honeygrl 2014-12-14 00:33:09 -0600 Report

Hi James I'm fairly new to this site but would love a copy of your meal plan as I struggle with high numbers daily and my A1c is a 10.5. Thanks and I look forward to your response!

jayabee52 2014-12-14 00:59:16 -0600 Report

why yes, of course Honey
You can find my meal plan here ~ http://www.diabeticconnect.com/diabetes-discu... Please do me the kindness of once you have read the plan, that you take some time to post your thoughts, good or bad, in that comment section. It would be much appreciated.

Chuck Fisher
Chuck Fisher 2014-12-13 23:34:29 -0600 Report

First step is to acquire a kitchen nutritional scale and use it religiously. Know how much you are eating rather the "one-quarter of a plate" when the size of the plate in unknown. Serving size for a protein-rich source like meat, poultry, or fish is 113 g (4 oz). Use the information from the nutritional scale to determine the amount of Calories, carbs and fat you are ingesting. Your medical practitioners should provide you with daily and meal goals. Praying for using practices that are safe and effective.

RebDee 2014-12-14 04:53:44 -0600 Report

First thing in the morning before my shower and getting dressed, I weigh myself. I know that a person does not have to weigh so often but it is a habit that is important to me. Then for each meal or snack, I weigh it on my food scale which sits next to my stove. I don't eat meat but I love poultry or fish. I am supposed to eat 1000 calories per day but so far since surgery, I have not yet come up to that much. Myfitnesspal thinks I am dying. One of the things I find good about myfitnesspal is that after you put in all your calories and exercise, it tells you how much you will weigh in 5 weeks (so far I weigh less than it shows).

RosalieM 2014-12-14 08:12:47 -0600 Report

At less than 1000 calories per day, every morsel you eat must be nutrient dense. You could be mal nourished over time.
What you do eat has to be exceptionally high in nutrients.
myfitnesspal may be on to something. Grandma Rose

Fefe12 2014-12-13 21:10:19 -0600 Report

I think a diabetic friendly meal is first of all one you enjoy. If you are watching your calories use portion control. We in America eat too much food. You should have a protein on your plate as well as your vegetables then fill in with a carb. I'm only allowed 45gr so I go with that at every meal. I grew up in a household where food was exciting that hasn't changed. Im always exploring new foods. How about this, a lettuce wrapped burger, 10 French fries and an nice crispy honeycrisp apple for dessert. Perfect diabetic meal!

jayabee52 2014-12-13 23:00:51 -0600 Report

You lost me at the French fries Fefe. the burger wrapped in lettuce and the apple are good but the fries, are a lot of fat not to mention the carbs in the potato itself, according to nutrition data a small (68 g) McD's french fries contain 26 g carbs and 200 cal. (they also are fried in transfats which are less than healthy) see ~ http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/foods-fro...

Even if oven heated at home those 10 strips are 14 gm and are 67 cal. ~ http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetable...

I know if I ate french fries I'd spike,

Fefe12 2014-12-14 17:38:01 -0600 Report

For me the 14-15 gr is a serving of carbs. I'm allowed 3servings so when I want a treat I have 1 serving. That way I can eat something else I like. Again its all about portion control. My understanding 15gr = 1 serving. How many servings do you have at each meal? Does it work for you? Try a serving less and have a 1 serving snack with a fat later. Are 3 meals causing you to get hungry and you feel the need to eat? Try 4 meals instead, and have a snack. Just divide your calories into 4. Add that snack when you need it most, during late afternoon or evening. Explore what works for you, the trick is to enjoy the process. Yes it can be frustrating but know you will get through it, you wont like the other options.

Fefe12 2014-12-13 23:29:03 -0600 Report

I understand if you are trying to stay away from the fat. But when you think about it, 10 french fries are not a lot. Even a small fry at McDonalds is more then that. My understanding that 10 fries are considered a carb serving. The trick is to only eat 10. Works really well if you share. I still eat baked potatoes and mashed. My potatoes are very small and only half a cup of mashed. Its all about portion size, and choices. If I eat potatoes in any form that's my carb for my meal and I wont have fruit for dessert that night. I dont believe in denying myself, for me that means fighting to stay away from it and I may not always win. With portion control I win everytime. I get what I want and my blood sugars stay stable. It may mean I only get a bite of something, but that works for me.

RosalieM 2014-12-14 06:44:57 -0600 Report

Your blood sugars stay stable on your diet? What kind of medication are you taking? Grandma Rose

RebDee 2014-12-14 04:57:13 -0600 Report

Since I cut out all white foods, I have been doing much better. So if I have fries at all (so far not), I would eat sweet potato fries without salt.

jayabee52 2014-12-14 00:54:15 -0600 Report

Fefe, I know myself well enough that only a bite won't be enough for me. So if it works for you, great, I know that I cannot do it

Fefe12 2014-12-14 18:14:22 -0600 Report

Lol, try it this way, take a bite and give the rest away. In my house i would get a fork in my hand if I try to take it back!

jayabee52 2014-12-14 20:19:14 -0600 Report

Fefe I live alone so there is no one to give it to! I expect that to be corrected in mid 2015 when Valentine Lady, (also has diabetes) comes to live with me. She is on a very strict meal plan like I am. So I really couldn't think of giving it to her.

Fefe12 2014-12-14 20:36:17 -0600 Report

Well that's ok, just think of it next time you go out for a meal. I've found it so much easier to share then to live without. Please take care and good luck with your friend next year. Its good to not be alone.

Fefe12 2014-12-13 21:03:01 -0600 Report

I understand not eating iceberg lettuce, but what about all the other lettuces out there? Although I've never heard of iceberg filling up your stomach, I do know it doesn't have any nutritional value so why eat it. But to cut out salads all together doesn't make sense to me. I love fruits and veggies and they are so good for you. Salads cans be a snack, a lunch with something, or a full meal. All a salad is, is a mix of raw ingredients with some type of dressing. Try roasted cauliflower, strawberries with bacon and spinach. Dont like iceberg, try kale, spinach, romaine, butter, arugula. Too many to list here. We need to get out of the boring salad trap and he creative. If you figure having a salad everyday for a year using the same ingredients, and on top of that what ever cooked vegetable you have and cook it to death its no wonder we have raised a generation that doesn't like vegetables! A salad can be filling, and careful, fattening. Add meat if you like. Your goal should be to have a salad everyday so make it interesting and fun. Happy eating!

RebDee 2014-12-13 21:12:39 -0600 Report

I had roasted cauliflower with onions and garlic at Stonefire Grill for the first time a couple of weeks ago and I am hooked on it. Fefe, thanks for your advice, I am going back to salads with different lettuces/kale/spinach/arugula. I love to add lots of raw veggies and fruits to my salads. I feel better already looking forward to eating salad!!!!

RebDee 2014-12-13 21:14:58 -0600 Report

Have you ever heard of Walden Farms salad dressings which have no protein, no carbs, no calories, no fiber, no nothing but taste good. I like it a lot and I especially like that I can try all of their salad dressings without worrying about added calories. But I am worried because it is a lot of chemicals. Oh well, you can't have it both ways.

lilleyheidi 2014-12-14 03:28:17 -0600 Report

I think once you give "good" lettuce a chance you'll find adding salad back into your food plan great. As Fefe12 said, there are wonderful lettuces out there and you can add all kinds of good things to it. I eat a salad a day, and am losing lots of weight. I use balsamic vinegar and olive oil, or some fat free yogurt and milk with some salt and pepper and seasonings for dressing. YUMMM, happy eating.

Fefe12 2014-12-13 23:36:53 -0600 Report

Oh please stay away from the chemicals. Why work this hard to stay healthy on one hand then shoot the other? I want both hands. No chemicals, no artificial sweeteners. Just the real thing. Olive oils, butter, whole foods, whole milk, real sugar. Everyone in my household eats what I fix. Have fun with your salads, discover all the vegetables out there. Make your own dressings so you know what's in them. And yes, the roasted cauliflower is amazing!

haoleboy 2014-12-14 17:53:06 -0600 Report

by chemicals you mean stuff like … sodium acid pyrophosphate, hydrolyzed wheat and milk proteins?
All found in those McD fries you were advocating elsewhere in this thread.
Don't be so quick to characterize chemicals as evil … every thing we eat contains chemicals … just sayin'


Fefe12 2014-12-14 18:24:48 -0600 Report

Lol, I really wasn't trying to advocate McDonalds fries, I dont eat them. I use too, was just using it as an example. Fries can be homemade, just sayin :)

haoleboy 2014-12-13 22:07:22 -0600 Report

olive oil mayo with a splash half and half and your favorite seasonings … (fresh ground black pepper and dill is a favorite)

RebDee 2014-12-14 05:00:56 -0600 Report

I don't use mayo at all. But what do you think of organic virgin coconut oil? After reading an article about the benefits of coconut oil, I bought some but so far I'm not sure how to use it. I doh't fry anything ever.

Fefe12 2014-12-14 17:27:16 -0600 Report

Use coconut oil as you would butter or olive oil. You dont need to fry food but putting fat in a pan is a way to cook a variety of foods. My friend puts it in his coffee, I myself haven't tried that one!

jayabee52 2014-12-16 07:11:33 -0600 Report

Fefe, I had been reading about the "Bulletproof diet" recently and they put CO in coffee which they call "Bulletproof coffee". Sounds like your friend is a follower of or is influenced by the Bulletproof diet.

I don't drink coffee so it is of little consequence to me.

Fefe12 2014-12-16 13:39:15 -0600 Report

Oooo, its my drug of choice. I lov hot chocolate. But don't because of all the sugar. So coffee has taken its place. Of course its NOT the same but hot and creamy is a good thing here in the northwest.

haoleboy 2014-12-14 13:28:50 -0600 Report

big fan of coconut oil. If I could afford it I would certainly be using the organic version.
I do use it for stir-frys and sauteed and fried items (eggs are always cooked in butter).
Do you exclude mayo for some other health reason? For me mayo is a great gastronomic pleasure ;)


Fefe12 2014-12-14 18:27:46 -0600 Report

If you have a Costco in your area, they have a huge tub at a very good price and it will last a long time

Fefe12 2014-12-14 20:10:46 -0600 Report

I thought I sent this note already if I did, sorry for sending it twice
You really dont need a membership you need a friend. You can even go in and check out what they have. You just cant pay for it. That's what I did back in the day when we where a young family and broke. Now we are just an old family, still broke! Lol, just check out your friends and then you can poo poo the membership altogether.

Fefe12 2014-12-14 19:56:59 -0600 Report

You dont need a membership, you just need a friend! You can even go in with them and check out what you want. That's how I did it when we were a young family and broke. Ok, so now we are an old family and broke, but we finally got in. Check out your friends, then you can poo poo the membership.

haoleboy 2014-12-14 20:32:51 -0600 Report

thanks for the suggestions … I am on food stamps so … probably not something that would work for me. I do use coconut oil … Walmart has some that is pretty good and is "affordable". Trying to eat healthy on a strict budget is challenging, but not impossible. Organic is absolutely out of the question though.

Fefe12 2014-12-16 01:07:05 -0600 Report

I understand, been there done that. But you will be surprised at what you can do. Its all about choices. What is most important to you? We can't afford all organic either but I choose what's important. Whole milk is at the top of my list, I have a daughter and grand children so that's number 1. I read about fruits and veggies and researched what really needs to be organic. The ones that are thick skinned and those you peel aren't as important to get organic. Find out where your grocery store gets their meat. You would be surprised how many different places meat comes from, then only get meat from that store. Shop only the sales not only does it save money but keeps you from getting in a rut from always buying the same thing. Dont let your circumstance take away your power to make your own choices. You ALWAYS have a choice.

RosalieM 2014-12-14 06:51:55 -0600 Report

Hi RebDee
I put a tablespoon coconut oil in my smoothie. I am going to soften more coconut oil and mix some in with my butter. You can use it in place of fat in anything you make from scratch. It melts
at 76%. You can soften it in the microwave. Coconut oil never gets rancid
and doesn't need to be refrigerated.
Grandma Rose

jayabee52 2014-12-16 07:15:53 -0600 Report

Howdy Rose,
I really never need to soften the CO. I don't keep it in the fridge so it always seems to be in a liquid form.


Gambling 2014-12-13 20:50:16 -0600 Report

Personnally I eat healthy meals that include fresh veggies and fresh fruit. I eat chicken ,fish and beef prepared different way.

john3347 2014-12-13 20:06:42 -0600 Report

A diabetes friendly meal looks kinda like a mid-morning quick snack for a normal person. I have blood sugar readings of over 600 and I have to push myself away from every meal absolutely still hungry. I am 73 years old, 5'9"tall and less than 140 pounds. Now somebody give me a lecture on obesity. Give me another article written by a doctor declaring that diabetes is caused by obesity. Tell me how to eat enough to feel full and have enough energy to get through the day without giving a doctor a heart attack. (I have been diabetic for 3 years)

jayabee52 2014-12-13 21:46:16 -0600 Report

Howdy John,
Why would you want someone to lecture you on obesity? (or is your sarcasm font broken? ) Obviously you don't seem to be from your self description. But I am concerned that you have BG (blood glucose) readings over 600 mg/dl What in the world are you eating and drinking to raise your BG that high? How many carbs are you consuming per meal and per day?


john3347 2014-12-13 22:28:56 -0600 Report

Hi Jay,

I don't think I really need lectures on obesity. I just think I see too much attention placed on overweight as a cause of diabetes and a complication to diabetes treatment. I feel like I am a "poster child" for the millions of "proper weight" diabetics who have extreme problems controlling their blood glucose. I have experienced diabetic coma more that 2 or 3 times and for several hours each time. One time an episode lasted for 38 hours. I have refused all medicines and have had no further problems of that nature. The doctors (?) that were treating me were giving me so muchmedicines from metformin to insulin in huge doses trying to get my inconsistant blood sugar to a nunber that they liked that when my blood sugar took a dive on its own I would be at less than 30. This was when I would take a nap on the sidewalk - or wherever I was. I am on a "loose" vegan diet trying to level out my blood sugar. Blood sugar is still very variable but pretty wel staying above 100 and keeping me out of coma. Yes, it fluctuates between 100 and 600+.

RosalieM 2014-12-14 07:08:27 -0600 Report

You have every right to be upset. 10% of type two diabetics are really type 1 1/2. Many doctors only know type 1 and type 2. Diabetes medications are not appropriate for type 1 1/2 because we don't make enough insulin. Those drugs don't create more insulin. A proper diet and just enough insulin to replace what you are missing is the secret to good health for you. The problem for you is to figure out what is a healthy diet for you and how much insulin you need to cover your diet. Older people are often misdiagnosed as type two. I am 76 years old.
Often type 1 1/2 are over 70 years old and slender.. When a type 2 two gets their blood under as good control as possible and loses the excess weight and still blood sugar is too high, their pancreas doesn't make enough insulin anymore. I think it is called LADA. Google it or diabetes 1 1/2 to get more information. Grandma Rose

fish1982 2014-12-13 20:03:53 -0600 Report

Hi there,

is there any way that you can send me information on how to eat the right way. You can email them to me at feliciafrazier@gmail.com small

Thank You,
Felicia Frazier- Saldana

jayabee52 2014-12-13 21:53:25 -0600 Report

Howdy Felicia
If you are asking for my meal plan, I'd be happy to share it with you. Just want to know if that is what you are asking. My plan is rather radical in that it eliminates all grain products from the plan (breads, cakes. cookies ect) I can send you a link either here or on private mail here on DC.

Let me know if it is my meal plan that you want or something more generalized.

sweetslover 2014-12-13 19:07:03 -0600 Report

Portion control is very important to me. It is amazing how full I feel now when I finish a meal, and I am eating MUCH less than I used to. I am still struggling to eat slowly. For 39 years I taught school, and if we were to eat our lunch, we had to practically inhale it as quickly as possible. What a bad habit to get into.