Diabetes care involves watching what you eat very closely. In fact, your doctor has likely addressed the importance of your diet with you and may have recommended medical nutrition therapy. This is less intimidating than it sounds, and mostly means eating well, moderately and on a schedule, according to the Mayo Clinic. A diabetic diet should be high in nutrients while limiting carbohydrates, fat and calories. It will focus more on fruits, vegetables and whole grains than on fats and non-lean protein. While this seems simple enough, it could take some effort to put into practice. A key step in making it part of the way you live your life is learning how to plan diabetic-friendly meals. This may be a subject that is best explained in depth by a dietitian, but here is a quick rundown of some of the basic concepts behind meal planning:
Meal planning tools
You can plan your meals in many different ways and still achieve a healthy diabetic diet. Some of the most common are the plate method, carbohydrate counting, and the glycemic index:
• The plate method is very good for beginners or people who have never thought much about meal plans before. All you do is fill half your plate with non-starchy vegetables. Divide the other half into two portions. Fill one of the smaller portions with grains and the other with protein. This is a good way to get used to the proper portions for a diabetic diet.
• In carbohydrate counting, you track how many carbohydrates are in each meal. People with diabetes must limit how many carbohydrates they consume per day and per meal, which also has a direct connection with how much insulin to administer. This method is also relatively simple - all you need to do is make sure you know how many carbohydrates are in everything you eat and make the right choices for your own personal needs.
• A food's glycemic index indicates how much that food is likely to raise your blood glucose levels. If you decide to use GI in your meal planning, look for foods with low or medium GI, and make sure you limit high-GI foods. Meats and fats don't significantly raise blood glucose, as they don't contain carbohydrates, so keep this in mind as you plan your meals.