Diabetes Food Pyramid
Understanding the Diabetes Food Pyramid is a key component in building
your diabetic meal plan.
The American Diabetes Association has created the this food pyramid for
diabetics to make it easier for you to choose the right foods and build
your diabetic diet.
The Food Pyramid
This food pyramid is divided into 6 food groups
with each group varying
The bottom of the pyramid (largest group) represents
the foods that you can have the most servings.
The top of the
pyramid (smallest group) represents the foods that you should limit
Grains and Other Starches
This is the largest group and where most of your calories should come
from for your diabetic diet. These foods contain mostly
carbohydrates and include
bread, rice, cereal and pasta.
Also included in this group
are the starchy vegetables like potatoes, peas and corn.
this group also are dry beans like black eyed peas and pinto
beans. The reason these foods are in this group is they
contain about the same amount of carbs per serving.
You should aim for 6 – 11 servings a day from this group aiming for the
lower end of the number of servings.
A typical serving size
is 1 slice of bread, ¼ bagel, ¾ cup dried cereal, 1/3 cup rice or pasta
and a ½ cup of potato, peas, corn or cooked beans.
This group of the diabetes food pyramid includes broccoli, spinach,
cabbage, bok choy, brussel
sprouts, cauliflower, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, etc.
Remember the starchy veggies are included in the breads and grains food
For the most part, all vegetables are fine choices for a diabetic diet
and offer dietary
fiber, vitamins and nutrients.
Most veggies are low GI foods,
however, some are a bit higher like carrots, potatoes, corn and
You should aim for 3 – 5 servings a day from this food
group with half of this coming from leafy green veggies.
Fruits like vegetables offer lots of nutritional value and are
generally considered a healthy food. Experts say to get 2 – 4
servings of fruit a day.
These include berries, cantaloupe,
oranges, apples, pears, bananas, etc. Most fruits are low on
the glyecimic index but watermelon is high and mangos, apricots,
raisins and pineapple are a medium GI fruits.
This is the next food group in the diabetes food pyramid.
Milk products offer lots of vitamins, calcium and protein.
When selecting your milk products make them low fat or fat free to
minimize saturated fats.
You should try to get 2 – 3 servings
per day from this group.
A typical serving size is
1 cup of milk or 1 cup of yogurt.
and Meat Substitutes
This group includes your meats like chicken, beef, turkey, and
pork. This group also includes other sources of protein like
eggs, peanut butter, fish, tofu, cheese, cottage cheese and dried
For your diabetic diet, your protein servings should
be spread out amongst all
your meals and you should get about 4 – 6 ounces a day.
ounce serving is about the size of a deck of cards so be careful not to
get all your servings in just one meal. Other serving sizes
are ¼ cup cottage cheese, 1 egg, 1 tablespoon peanut butter and ½ cup
Sweets and Oils
This last group is the smallest group for your diabetic diet and should
be saved for those
special occasions. Foods in this group include potato chips,
cookies, candy, cakes and fried foods.
These foods contain a
lot of sugar and/or fat. Many of these foods offer little or
no nutritional value. Keep your portions small like ½ cup ice
cream, 2 cookies or 1 small cupcake. In this group is also
alcohol as alcohol contains a lot of sugar.
So avoid drinking
alcoholic drinks as much as possible.
When building your diabetic diet, work with your doctor and
nutritionist and use the diabetes food pyramid as a good guide for
selecting the right foods.
If you want to monitor and select
your carbohydrates using the glycemic index, use this link to search
their database - glycemicindex.com
On this page,
just select the link to their database and type in the food item you
want to find.
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