Managing your Type 2 diabetes will likely mean managing your diet. Reducing your intake of unhealthy foods will not only help you get control of your blood sugar—it may also help you lose weight. Creating a diabetes diet plan takes a little work, and a shift in mind-set, but the results will likely be worth the effort.
What is the Diabetes Diet Plan
There is no specific “diabetes diet,” as every person with diabetes has different dietary needs. In general, eating for diabetes management means eating foods that are rich in nutrients and low in fat and calories. Your new diet should be heavy in fruits and whole grains and low in snack foods, like cookies and chips.
Look at a copy of the USDA food pyramid to see what foods should make up your diabetes diet, and how many servings of each type of food you should eat. You can start by eating more of these foods:
- Fish, including salmon, tuna and halibut
- Legumes, including beans, peas and lentils
- Vegetables and fruits
- Whole-grain products
Then, look at the size of your portions. Your diabetes diet plan won’t work if you eat too much at mealtimes. One meat portion is the size of the palm of your hand. One serving of cheese is the size of your thumb. One serving of rice or pasta is 1/3 of a cup. One serving of vegetables is the size of a tennis ball.
Implement your diabetes diet plan by clearing all high-fat, high-sugar foods from your home. If they aren’t nearby, you’ll be less likely to eat them. Make a list of foods you eat that you know aren’t helping you manage your Type 2 diabetes. Look for healthier options to replace these foods. For example, replace chips with carrot coins. You’ll get the same satisfying crunch with a lot less fat.
Invest in a diabetes management cookbook; many cookbooks have been written specifically for people with Type 2 diabetes. A cookbook can help you create interesting, innovative meals you’ll love and be able to eat regularly.
You may not always be able to eat every meal at home. But concepts from your diabetes diet should come with you on the road. Research favorite restaurants and determine meals you can order that still allow you to keep your diabetes management goals.
American Diabetes Association. (2010). Food and portion size. Retrieved January 7, 2010, from http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/fitness/weight-loss/food-and-portion-size.html
American Diabetes Association. (2010). Healthy weight loss. Retrieved January 7, 2010, from http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/fitness/weight-loss/healthy-weight-loss.html
Mayo Clinic Staff. (2010). Diabetes diet: Create your healthy eating plan. Retrieved January 7, 2010, from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/diabetes-diet/DA00027