People with diabetes must follow a specific diet to manage their blood glucose levels. This may sound like a lot of work, but with a little practice and planning, it is possible. And having diabetes doesn't have to mean feeling deprived or not ever eating what you love. Like any healthy diet, it’s about balance.

Here are some of the basic food guidelines you should aim to follow:

Try to limit carbohydrates, especially refined sugars.
When you eat carbohydrates, choose complex carbs that include fiber.
Eat a well-balanced diet.
Emphasize fresh, low-carbohydrate vegetables over higher-carbohydrate fruits and starchy vegetables.
Because heart issues are also a common issue for diabetics, be watchful of foods high in saturated fats and cholesterol.

Your doctor and/or dietitian can help you create a meal plan that is best for you.

Below are two samples of full-day meal plans and recipes that are certified by a nutritionist. Check out Diabetic Connect’s recipe section for more healthy recipes and share your own favorites.

Day 1

*1 cup 1% milk
1 plum
Tomato & Ham Breakfast Melt

*Morning Snack
*1 cup cantaloupe melon
1 cup 1% cottage cheese, no-sodium-added

*1 cup tossed salad mix
Honey-Mustard Turkey Burgers (Click here for the full recipe and nutrition facts.) 
2 tablespoons low-cal Caesar salad dressing 1 cup 1% milk 1 slice low fat cheddar cheese

*Afternoon Snack
*4 tablespoons prepared hummus
4 ounces carrot sticks

*1/2 cup cooked brown rice
1 cup steamed spinach
2 cup tossed salad mix
Roasted Pork Tenderloin (Click here for the full recipe and nutrition facts) 
2 tablespoons Italian salad dressing 6 ounces nonfat vanilla or lemon yogurt, sweetened with low-calorie sweetener

Day 2

*1 whole-wheat english muffin
1 cup 1% milk
3/4 cup blueberries
1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter
sugar-free jam

*Morning Snack
*1 oz. almonds, salted
1 cup 1% milk

*BBQ Chicken Sandwich (Click here for the full recipe and nutrition facts) 
2 cups tossed salad mix
2 tablespoons vinegar & oil salad dressing
3/4 cup papaya

*Afternoon Snack
*1 cup blackberries
1 cup 1% milk

*1/2 cup cooked brown rice
1 cup honeydew melon
Mustard-Crusted Salmon (Click here for the full recipe and nutrition facts) 
1 cup steamed asparagus
1 slice reduced-calorie oatmeal bran bread
1 teaspoon reduced-fat ranch salad dressing