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Diabetes meal plan methods

GEHA | August 20, 2018

Nutrition and exercise Diabetes
Learn about meal plans that help regulate your blood glucose level, manage your weight and achieve your optimal personal health.

There are a variety of different meal planning options for people with diabetes. All of these methods can help regulate your blood glucose level and/or your weight. Speak with a dietician or your primary care provider for guidance on selecting a plan that is right for you, and for additional healthy-eating recommendations.

Plate method
The American Diabetes Association recommends the plate method as a simple method for dietary regulation. To follow the plate method, fill one half of your plate with non-starchy vegetables, such as broccoli or asparagus. One quarter of your plate should contain a lean protein, such as fish, chicken or beans. The remaining quarter of your plate should contain a whole-grain or starchy food. Add a serving of fruit or dairy to round out your meal.

Carbohydrate counting
This method involves counting the grams of carbohydrates in each of your meals and adjusting your dose of insulin accordingly. To help regulate your glucose levels, you should eat around the same amount of carbohydrates each day. Your health care provider can help you figure out the right balance for you.

Glycemic index
The glycemic index (GI) ranks carbohydrate-containing foods based on how high they raise blood glucose levels. Most of your meals should consist of only low or medium GI carbohydrate-containing foods. Examples of low GI foods include beans, sweet potatoes and some whole grain breads.

Exchange lists
Food exchange lists are organized by category. A serving in each category has roughly the same amount of carbohydrates, protein fat and calories – and the same effect on blood glucose – as every other serving in that category. An exchange list can be used to help plan your daily meals and snacks.

Consult with your health care provider before starting any meal plan. When you are choosing an eating plan, be sure to take your lifestyle, habits and preferences into consideration. An eating plan that you are willing and able to follow long-term can help you regulate your blood glucose, manage your weight and achieve your optimal personal health.

“Diabetes Diet: Create Your Healthy-Eating Plan.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 25 Mar. 2017. 
“Diabetes Diet, Eating, & Physical Activity.” National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1 Nov. 2016. 
“Eating Patterns and Meal Planning.” American Diabetes Association. 
“Glycemic Index and Diabetes.” American Diabetes Association.