What Can I Eat?
Meal planning for diabetes does not necessarily mean cutting out all of your favorite foods But rather, it involves eating your favorite foods within the context of a balanced meal and in appropriate portion sizes. By getting a variety of types of food at each meal, you can help your body process the sugar better and take some of the burden off of your organs.
There is no meal plan that will work for everyone, but here are a few helpful tips as you are getting started:
- Aim to fill half of your plate with non-starchy vegetables whenever possible. Non-starchy vegetables include options like spinach, carrots, lettuce, greens, cabbage, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, beets, okra, mushrooms, peppers, celery, and more
- Include a high-fiber carbohydrate choice at each meal. These would include whole grains (like whole wheat bread, brown rice, and quinoa), whole pieces of fruit (including the skin), pastas made from chickpeas or other legumes, beans or lentils, etc. If you are looking at a nutrition label, aim for at least 2 grams of fiber per serving.
- Make sure to include a protein source at each meal. Protein helps slow down the digestion of the meal, which slows the impact on your blood sugar. Protein options include animal products like meat, fish, or dairy, as well as plant options like beans, nuts, seeds, and lentils.
*Sometimes your high-fiber carbohydrate and your protein choice may be found within the same food. For example, lentils and beans contain both.
If you struggle to remember which foods fall into which groups, print the handout below for an easy reference guide.