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Diabetes and Diet

You can take good care of yourself and your diabetes by learning:

Making wise food choices can help you:

Healthy eating habits helps keep your blood glucose levels in your target range. Remaining physical activity and, if needed, diabetes medicines also help.

Blood Glucose Levels

People with diabetes should strive to keep their blood glucose levels within a target range suggested by their doctor or health care provider.

The goal for many people with diabetes is to achieve a blood glucose level of 70 - 130 before meals and less than 180 one to two hours have meals.

Be sure to know what your personal blood glucose level goals are before and after meals.

My Target Blood Glucose Levels

Meal and Snack Times

My meal and snack times are:

Snacks with Diabetes

For people taking certain diabetes medicines, following a schedule for meals, snacks, and physical activity is best. However some diabetes medicines allow for more flexibility. You’ll work with your health care team to create a diabetes plan that’s best for you.

Talk with your doctor or diabetes teacher about how many meals and snacks to eat each day. Fill in the times for your meals and snacks on these clocks.

Hemoglobin A1C Measurements

Ask your doctor how often you should check your blood glucose on your own. Also ask your doctor for a hemoglogin A1C test at least twice a year. Your A1C number gives your average blood glucose for the past 3 months. The results from your blood glucose checks and your A1C test will tell you whether your diabetes care plan is working.

Your Diabetes Medicines

What you eat and when you eat affect how your diabetes medicines work. Talk with your doctor or diabetes teacher about when to take your diabetes medicines. Fill in the names of your diabetes medicines, when to take them, and how much to take. You can use a format like this one:

Name of medicine: _______________________________

Time: __________________ Meal: ___________________

How much: ______________________________________

Physical Activity Plan

What you eat and when also depend on how much you exercise. Physical activity is an important part of staying healthy and controlling your blood glucose. Keep these points in mind:

The Diabetes Food Pyramid

Diabetes food pyramid

The diabetes food pyramid can help you make wise food choices. It divides foods into groups, based on what they contain. Eat more from the groups at the bottom of the pyramid, and less from the groups at the top. Foods from the starches, fruits, vegetables, and milk groups are highest in carbohydrate. They affect your blood glucose levels the most.

How much should I eat each day?

Have about 1,200 to 1,600 calories a day if you are a:

Choose this many servings from these food groups to have 1,200 to 1,600 calories a day:

Have about 1,600 to 2,000 calories a day if you are a:

Choose this many servings from these food groups to have 1,600 to 2,000 calories a day:

Have about 2,000 to 2,400 calories a day if you are a:

Choose this many servings from these food groups to have 2,000 to 2,400 calories a day:

Talk with your diabetes teacher about how to make a meal plan that fits the way you usually eat, your daily routine, and your diabetes medicines. Then make your own plan.

Make Your Own Diabetes Food Pyramid

Each day I need:

Personalized diabetes food pyramid

Work with your diabetes teacher to make your own meal plan. Write down how many servings to have at your meals and snacks.

Starches

Starches are bread, grains, cereal, pasta, and starchy vegetables like corn and potatoes. They provide carbohydrate, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Whole grain starches are healthier because they have more vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

Eat some starches at each meal. Eating starches is healthy for everyone, including people with diabetes.

Examples of starches are bread, pasta, corn, pretzels, potatoes, rice, crackers, cereal, tortillas, beans, yams, and lentils.

How much is a serving of starch?

1 starch serving
2 starch servings>
3 starch servings

If your plan includes more than one serving at a meal, you can choose different starches or have several servings of onestarch.

What are healthy ways to eat starches?

Vegetables

Vegetables provide vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They are low in carbohydrate.

Examples of vegetables are lettuce, broccoli, vegetable juice, spinach, peppers, carrots, green beans, tomatoes, celery, chilies, greens, cabbage.

How much is a serving of vegetables?

1 vegetable serving
2 vegetable servings
3 vegetable servings

If your plan includes more than one serving at a meal, you can choose several types of vegetables or have two or three servings of one vegetable.

What are healthy ways to eat vegetables?

Fruits

Fruits provide carbohydrate, vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

Examples of fruits include apples, fruit juice, strawberries, dried fruit, grapefruit, bananas, raisins, oranges, watermelon,  peaches, mango, guava, papaya, berries, and canned fruit.

How much is a serving of fruit?

1 fruit serving
2 fruit servings

What are healthy ways to eat fruits?

Milk

Milk provides carbohydrate, protein, calcium, vitamins, and minerals.

How much is a serving of milk?

diabetes_milk.gif

What are healthy ways to have milk?

Meat and Meat Substitutes

The meat and meat substitutes group includes meat, poultry, eggs, cheese, fish, and tofu. Eat small amounts of some of these foods each day.

Meat and meat substitutes provide protein, vitamins, and minerals.

Examples of meat and meat substitutes include chicken, beef, fish, canned tuna or other fish, eggs, peanut butter, tofu, cottage cheese, cheese, pork, lamb,and turkey.

How much is a serving of meat and meat substitutes?

Meat and meat substitutes are measured in ounces. Here are examples.

1 ounce meat or meat substitute
3-ounces of meat or meat substitute

What are healthy ways to eat meat and meat substitutes?

Fats and Sweets

Limit the amount of fats and sweets you eat. Fats and sweets are not as nutritious as other foods. Fats have a lot of calories. Sweets can be high in carbohydrate and fat. Some contain saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol that increase your risk of heart disease. Limiting these foods will help you lose weight and keep your blood glucose and blood fats under control.

Examples of fats include salad dressing, oil, cream cheese, butter, margarine, mayonnaise, avocado, olives, and bacon.

Examples of sweets include cake, candy, ice cream, pie, syrup, cookies, and doughnuts.

How much is a serving of sweets?

1 serving of sweets

How much is a serving of fat?

1 serving of fat
2 servings of fat

How can I satisfy my sweet tooth?

Try having sugar-free popsicles, diet soda, fat-free ice cream or frozen yogurt, or sugar-free hot cocoa mix.

Other tips:

Remember, fat-free and low-sugar foods still have calories. Talk with your diabetes teacher about how to fit sweets into your meal plan.

Alcoholic Drinks

Alcoholic drinks have calories but no nutrients. If you have alcoholic drinks on an empty stomach, they can make your blood glucose level go too low. Alcoholic drinks also can raise your blood fats. If you want to have alcoholic drinks, talk with your doctor or diabetes teacher about how much to have.

Measuring Your Food

To make sure your food servings are the right size, you can use measuring cups, measuring spoons, a food scale, or you can use the guide below. Also, the Nutrition Facts label on food packages tells you how much of that food is in one serving.

Guide to Sensible Serving Sizes

This much is the same as 3 ounces, or 1 serving of meat, chicken, turkey, or fish.

This much is the same as 1 cup, or 1 serving of cooked vegetables, salads, casseroles or stews (such as chili with beans), or

milk.

This much is the same as ½ cup, or 1 serving of fruit or fruit juice, starchy vegetables (such as potatoes or corn), pinto beans and other dried beans, rice or noodles, or cereal.

This much is the same as 1 ounce, or 1 serving of snack food, such as a slice of cheese.

This much is the same as 1 tablespoon, or 1 serving of salad dressing or cream cheese.

This much is the same as 1 teaspoon, or 1 serving of margarine or butter, oil, or mayonnaise.

When You’re Sick

Take care of yourself when you’re sick. Being sick can make your blood glucose go too high. Tips on what to do include the following:

In people with type 1 diabetes, when blood glucose is high, the body produces ketones. Ketones can make you sick. Test your urine or blood for ketones if:

Call your health care provider right away if:


Reference: The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)