Creating a Healthy Eating Plan for People with Diabetes

If you have diabetes or prediabetes, it is essential to collaborate with your healthcare provider and dietician to create an eating plan that works for you. A panel of scientists, doctors, endocrinologists, diabetes educators, and dieticians have reviewed more than 600 research articles over five years to determine which diets or eating patterns are suitable for people with diabetes. The key to eating with diabetes is to consume a variety of healthy foods from all food groups, in the amounts listed in the meal plan. Whole grains such as whole wheat, brown rice, barley, quinoa, and oats, proteins like lean meats, chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, nuts, beans, lentils and tofu should be included in your diet.

Instead of sweetened beverages, drink water and consider using a sugar substitute in your coffee or tea. You can also eat a small bowl of fruit or a piece of fruit and drink a small glass of milk as included in your meal plan. Carbohydrate counting is a meal planning tool for people with diabetes who inject insulin; however, not everyone with diabetes needs to count carbohydrates. If you inject insulin, your healthcare provider may suggest that you take less insulin or that you eat a small carbohydrate snack before, during or after physical activity, especially intense activity. You can find many different food combinations and more details on using the plate method in Create Your Plate from the American Diabetes Association. Your health care team can also help you decide the best time of day for physical activity based on your daily schedule, meal plan and medications for diabetes.

People with diabetes can have foot problems due to poor blood circulation and nerve damage that can result from high blood glucose levels. No special diet or “miracle food” can cure arthritis; however, some conditions can be alleviated if certain foods are avoided or included. People with diabetes are advised to check their blood glucose levels on their own before and 2 hours after starting a meal to determine the effect of various foods on their own blood glucose levels. Medicare pays for medical nutrition therapy for people with diabetes. If you have insurance other than Medicare, ask if it covers medical nutritional therapy for diabetes. If you are living with diabetes, it is essential to create a healthy eating plan that helps you keep your blood sugar level within a normal range.

Discuss your eating habits with a dietician so that dietary recommendations can be designed that are right for your needs.