Diabetic Diet Guidelines

A diabetic diet does not mean having to eat specialized foods or expensive organic or pre-packaged foods. 

In fact, a diabetic diet is not much different than simply eating healthier.

By selecting the right foods and sticking to regular meal times, you can help control your blood sugar levels.

A weight loss diet for diabetics is not a restrictive diet.

It is rich in nutrients and low in calories and fats. 

Your diet should be rich with vegetables, fruits and whole grains. 

You need to be consistent with your meal plan and avoid excess calories and fats in the foods you select as this can create an increase in blood sugar levels.

Of course watching those high sugary foods is always a must when trying to manage glucose levels.

Diabetic Diet Meal Plan

A proper diabetic diet meal plan can help you manage your diabetes and blood sugar levels.  Your plan should include scheduling and establishing a routine for eating your meals. 

You should focus on eating about the same amount of carbs each day and meal. 

Having consistency in your meal plans and carbohydrate and calorie intake can help control blood glucose levels.

Consuming too many carbs or calories at any given time or a given day can cause fluctuations and make it more difficult to manage your diabetes.

Secondly your meal plan should plan out portion sizes of the foods you eat. 

By eating smaller meals more often you are helping keep your blood sugar under control. 

You should have about 50% - 55% of calories from carbs, 30% from fats and about 10% to 15% from proteins. 

Lastly your meal plan should include food selections.  The key to managing diabetes is choosing the right foods especially your carbohydrates. 

You want to focus on complex carbohydrates versus simple carbs.

Simple carbs are primarily sugars and offer very little nutritional value. 

On the other hand, complex carbs are starchy foods that break down into sugars slowly so the blood sugar levels rise gradually. 

For diabetics, the body is able to manage complex carbs easier even with insulin resistance. paragraph here

Counting Carbs or Calories

With your diabetic diet plan, you may be wondering if you should count carbs or calories - or both. Because carbohydrates are what effect the blood glucose levels the most, many diabetics choose to count carbohydrates versus counting calories. 

However, if you are a diabetic and overweight, then one of your goals should be to lose weight. 

To lose weight you must consume fewer calories than you burn, so counting calories may be what you choose in order to achieve weight loss.

If you learn to eat healthier foods, watch your portions and manage when you eat, you may not need to count either calories or carbohydrates. 

However, until you have fully adjusted to eating healthier you should probably count one or the other until you get a feel for what your meal plans should be.

Although counting either carbs or calories, or both, can seem like a pain and extra work, it is a great way to get control of what foods you are eating. 

Knowing just how many calories, carbohydrates, fats, etc. you eat will help you adjust and learn to eat healthy. 

If you want to track the foods you eat, just use this excel spreadsheet to track calories, fats, protein, carbohydrates and net carbs.  This file will even calculate the Weight Watcher points value if you are a Weight Watchers member.

If you do not have Microsoft Excel, visit the weight loss tools for a link to a free, compatible software that will open this file.

Diabetic Diet Food Tracker

To save this file to your computer, simply right mouse click on the link and select "save as".  

Selecting Healthy Foods

Many people with diabetes choose their foods based on the Glycemic Index (GI). 

The Glycemic Index is used to measure carbohydrates and the rate in which they breakdown in your body and how it impacts blood sugar levels. 

A GI of 55 or less is a low index food and does not impact the blood sugar level to the same extent a high GI food does. 

Carbohydrate foods with an index of 70 or greater should be avoided if at all possible for diabetics. 

You don’t have to understand or use the glycemic index in order to select good carbs. 

Starting with just some good common sense can go a long way to eating healthier and selecting better foods.

We all know that cupcakes, cookies and candies are high in sugars and are not a good choice.  We also know that meals rich in vitamins and other nutrients are healthier for us and a better selection. 

Adding veggies, fruits and protein to every meal is yet another way to use some common sense and eat healthy. 

Carbohydrates can sometimes be more difficult in what to select.  The American Diabetes Association has created the Diabetes Food Pyramid to make it easier for you to the right choices and build your diabetic diet.

Check out this article on the Diabetes Food Pyramid for your diabetic diet needs.

Additional Articles

Diabetes and Stress
Stress can cause many health issues including rising blood sugars. See how stress impacts your diabetes.

Exercise and Diabetes
Exercising is a great way to lose weight, get healthy and manage glucose levels. Read this article to learn more.

Weight Loss Plateaus
Have you hit a plateau and can't seem to get the scale moving again? Check out these tips to get beyond the hump and start losing today.