Guidelines

Institutes & Services > Diabetes

Nutritional Guidelines

  • Eat 3 meals each day. At each meal, add high fiber foods such as fruit, plenty of vegetables, whole grains, and beans. At each meal, also have protein like chicken, lean beef or pork, cheese, fish, eggs, nuts, peanut butter, or soy products.
  • Eat about the same amount of food at each meal and at the same time each day. Cut back on your portion sizes and try to resist second helpings.
  • Each meal should be eaten 4 or 5 hours apart. Do not skip meals. If you have to go more than 5 hours between meals, eat a small snack.
  • Be careful of how much carbohydrate you eat at one time. Carbohydrates include starchy foods (breads, pasta, rice, beans, peas, corn, and potatoes), all fruits and juices, milk, snack foods and sweets. Many of these are good foods – don’t stop eating them! Just watch how much you eat of them at one time.
  • Beverages can make a big difference in your blood sugars. Limit fruit juice and regular soda. Drink water, diet beverages, or other low-sugar drinks instead.
  • Sweets and desserts can be worked into your diabetes meal plan. For an individual meal plan see a Registered Dietitian.
  • Only drink alcohol (beer, wine and liquor) in moderation, meaning 1 drink or less per day for women and 2 or less per day for men. A standard alcoholic drink is 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of liquor. Drinking alcohol without food may cause hypoglycemia.
  • Use low fat cooking methods like baking, roasting, broiling, grilling, poaching or lightly stir frying instead of deep-frying.
  • When dining out choose grilled or baked food. For example, order a baked potato instead of French fries. Take half of your meal home from restaurants to help cut back on portion sizes.

Carbohydrate Guidelines

When you have diabetes you must limit the amount of carbohydrates you eat because this is the part of your meal that affects your blood sugar.

The amount of carbohydrates a diabetic will eat depends on the person. Finding the right amount of carbohydrate depends on many things including how active you are and what, if any, medicines you take. Some people are active and can eat more carbohydrate. Others may need to have less carbohydrate to keep their blood sugar in control.

Finding the balance for yourself is important so you can feel your best, do the things you enjoy, and lower your risk of diabetes complications.

A serving of carbohydrate is 15 grams. Most meals should contain 45-60 grams of carbohydrate. You may need more or less carbohydrate at meals depending on how you manage your diabetes.

You and your health care team can figure out the right amount for you. Once you know how much carbohydrate to eat at a meal, choose your food and the portion size to match.

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