What is Diabetic Diet?
A diabetic diet is a medical nutrition therapy (MNT) for diabetes Mellitus (or simply diabetes), a condition where the body is not able to produce or use insulin hormone properly, and this results in high blood sugar levels. To help diabetic patients to manage their blood sugar levels, besides taking insulin medication, diabetic diet meal planning comes into the picture.
A diabetic diet is NOT a specific diet for all diabetic patients, but more to healthy eating and lifestyle to aid in managing diabetes. Each patient needs a specific diabetic meal plan tailored for him, according to his daily physical activities.
For a more specific list of foods and their pyramids, check out the diabetic food list
A Healthy Diabetic Diet
A good diabetic diet meal planning involves choosing the right food as well as eating the right portion for each types of food. The amount of consumption for each food would be different for each individual as it depends on various factors, for example activity level, age, gender and body size.
A healthy eating for diabetic should include starchy food (e.g. whole grains, potatoes), protein food (e.g. meat, fish, poultry, dairy and soy), vegetables, fruits, as well as some healthy fats. It must be low not only in sugar, but sodium and fat as well. The amount of carbohydrates, fats and proteins consumed should always be balanced so that the blood sugar level is always maintained at the normal level. It is better to eat in small amount but more regular than having a heavy meal. Try to plan for three normal meals and a few snacks between meals.
Diabetic Meal Plan Designed by Professional
Diabetes professionals suggest that a diabetic should always follow a flexible meal plan (which makes daily meals more interesting and flavorful) tailored made for him by a registered dietitian or nutritionist, which suits his daily lifestyle and activities. This is important to make sure that the treatment goal is achieved.
There are various approaches used for diabetic meal planning. Previously, the common method used by dietitians is the food exchange method, where there are several exchanges for each food group and patients can easily replace one food with another. With the consumption of more prepackaged food, a newer method such as carbohydrate counting is introduced.
Meal Planning with the “Create Your Plate” Method
This is a new, fast and easy, yet effective method for meal planning recommended by American Diabetes Association. This method doesn’t involve any formula or counting. The only thing you have to do is focus on the portion sizes and make a selection of healthy food.
Basically, half of the dinner plate should be filled with non-starchy food, a quarter with healthy starchy food and the remaining quarter with meats and meat substitutes.