WHAT IS A DIABETIC DIET?
A diabetic diet is a medical nutrition therapy (MNT) for diabetes mellitus (or simply diabetes), it impedes the proper production of the insulin hormone resulting in high levels of blood sugar. A diet plan for diabetics is essential to help in managing sugar levels in other ways than just taking insulin medication.
Diabetic diet is not a specific diet for all diabetics, but more for a healthy diet and lifestyle to manage diabetes. Each patient requires a specific diabetic diet plan that is tailored to his daily physical activities.
A HEALTHY DIABETIC DIET
A good diabetic diet meal planning includes choosing the right food and eating the right part for every type of food. The amount of consumption for each food would be different for each individual, since it depends on various factors, for example, by activity level, age, gender, and body size.
A healthy diet for diabetics should include protein-rich foods (such as meat, fish, poultry, dairy, and soy), vegetables, fruits as well as some healthy fats and starchy foods (such as whole grains, potatoes). It must include not only sugar but also sodium and fat. The total amount of consumed carbohydrates, fats, and proteins should be balanced in order to keep the blood sugar to normal levels. It is better to eat more often than consume a heavy meal. Try to schedule three normal meals and a couple of snacks between meals.
DIABETIC MEAL PLAN DESIGN FROM THE EXPERTS
Diabetes experts suggest that a diabetic should follow always a flexible meal plan (which makes interesting meals each day), made by a registered dietician or nutritionist. The diet plan must fit his daily lifestyle and activities. This is important to ensure that the treatment goal is achieved.
There are different approaches to diabetic meal planning. Previously, the common method that is used by dietitians is called the exchange method, where there are multiple interchanges for each food group and the can easily replace a food when he wants. Newer methods such as the carbohydrate counting are introduced with the growing popularity of pre-packaged foods.
MEAL PLANNING USING THE “CREATE YOUR PLATE” METHOD
This is a new, fast and simple, but effective method of planning of meals, which is recommended by the American Diabetes Association. This method involves no formula or any counting. You need to focus only on the portion sizes and choose healthy foods as well.
Basically, half of the dinner plate should be filled with no starch foods, a quarter with healthy starchy foods, and the remaining quarter with meat and meat substitutes.