A diabetes association diet is a healthy eating plan that is naturally rich in nutrients and can help you control your blood sugar levels. By using the diabetes exchange lists used by the American Diabetes Association and sculpting a complementary diet, you can make sure you are getting the proper amount of calories, carbohydrates and other valuable nutrients.
Following a diabetes diet does not need to be a struggle. You should meet with a registered dietician to learn about the diabetes exchange system, and be sure you are consuming the proper foods.
How the Diabetes Exchange System Works
Using the diabetes exchange system, foods are grouped into basic types like starches, fruits, milk and meat. Each group has the amount of various foods that you can eat and how much, as well as the amount of calories, carbohydrates and additional nutrients. Many foods within a group can be exchanged for other ones of similar nutrient content (and with similar ways that they affect your blood sugar levels).
Working with a dietician, they can help you determine how many daily exchanges will work based on your individual needs. You will also work with them to determine how to best spread the exchanges throughout the day to keep your blood sugar within the targeted range.
Meals Plans that Work
Having diabetes does not mean you need to follow a complex meal plan or begin eating special foods. Mainly, it just means that you have to eat a variety of foods in moderation, and adhere to regular meal times.
Your meal plan should consist of a diet strong in vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Rather than following a restrictive diet, a healthy diabetes meal plan involves eating foods that are naturally rich in nutrients, while low in fat and calories. Eating at consistent times throughout the day should also be a high priority to help your body maintain even blood sugar levels.
Planning your Meals
The best way to have positive results with your diabetes meal plan is to establish a routine for eating meals, and select healthy foods in the correct amounts. If you stick to your meal plan and take care to watch your serving sizes, you will eat around the same calories and carbohydrates daily. If you vary what and when you eat, it is harder to control your blood sugar, and you will see more spikes throughout the day.
Best Choices for Meal Planning
Eating healthy carbohydrates is of utmost importance when you have diabetes. Choose complex carbohydrates such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and low-fat dairy products.
Additionally, fiber is a high priority to help control blood sugar levels. You should be consuming 25 to 30 grams of fiber daily from foods such as vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole wheat flour, wheat bran and nuts.
You want to limit saturated and trans fats, while choosing monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Cholesterol should be limited as well, and you should include at least two meals weekly of heart healthy fish such as salmon, mackerel and herring.
By embracing a healthy eating meal plan, you can effectively keep your blood sugar under control and prevent diabetes complications. Get creative, and look for inspiration from others following a similar diabetes meal plan.