A Diabetic Meal Plan Has to Work for You

The best diabetic meal plan is one you can live with. If you give up everything you like, there is no way you will stick with your diet. There is only one way a meal plan will work for you.

What is the secret to a perfect diabetic meal plan? It is very simple. Eat the things you like.

Does that sound crazy? What kind of diet can you stay on for the rest of your life? Not one that is full of things you would never eat.

You need a plan that uses your own likes and weaves them in with the things that a diabetic needs.

It will take time to get it right, but you will end up with a diabetic meal plan that fits you.

The Question Is What Do You Like?

Do you love chocolate? Good, because dark chocolate is full of antioxidants, and you need those. So eat a little every day.

Dark chocolate is best, but make sure you really like it. Then fit it into your calorie count. It is now diabetic diet food.

If you know you can eat it every day for the rest of your life, you won't be tempted to binge. Once you catch on to the idea of fitting things in, it will be easy to find where chocolate belongs in your diabetic meal plan.

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This is what you can do for everything you want to eat. It will join with diabetes nutrition to become diabetic diet food.

Whether it is sugary, starchy, or completely free of food value, what matters is that you are willing to find a way to make it fit in with good diabetic food.

What Are You Willing to Change?

Since diabetes nutrition has to involve choosing what to eat, you must decide what you are willing to change.

If you do not want to fight type 2 diabetes, no advice will matter. Because diabetics have a high incidence of depression, please watch out for it.

If you are depressed, no real change is going to happen. But if you want to fight, diabetes nutrition is a big help.

These two things will show you what to eat.

Calorie counting is a pain but it is not hard to do. You can also use the glycemic index, a tool made especially for diabetics.

Portion Control and the 50/25/25 Plate

According to the American Diabetic Association, a good plate of food on a diabetic meal plan is 50% vegetables and fresh fruit, 25% protein and 25% for fats, starches and sweets.

It has been a gradual change to make vegetables first and fruits second on my diabetic meal plan. These are high priority for two reasons.

Vegetables and fruit are full of antioxidants and vitamins. They also tend to be lower in calories and higher in fiber. It is fiber that slows the digestion of fats and sugars, which keeps blood levels of glucose and insulin from spiking.

Which ones? That is a personal preference. You may love squash and cauliflower, or hate them. Stay with what is familiar at first, because diabetes nutrition will not work if you change too many things at once.

The only reason fruits come after vegetables is that  they are higher on the glycemic index (higher in sugar content). So watch for sugar they are adding to your glycemic load.

Fruits are not created equal. The glycemic index tells you that bananas are high in sugar content, while apples are much lower. Apples also have more fiber, which makes them diabetes friendly.

Always try to eat fruits and vegetables in their whole and natural state.

The fiber is great for your heart, and it slows down sugar absorption. Canned fruits and vegetables have less fiber, and fruit is often packed in syrup.

Should You Eat Wheat or Not?

Some diabetes websites say diabetic meal plans ought to leave out wheat, and they make a pretty good argument. They point to the high glycemic index, gluten allergies and additives.

But most nutritionists do not agree with leaving out whole grains. I use whole wheat at breakfast but avoid white bread. On my diabetic meal plan the only cereal left is old-fashioned oatmeal.

That switch was gradual. If you make changes a few at a time, the new ways seem to stick better. But checking blood sugars has proven to me that grains do raise blood sugar fast.

Some diabetic meal plans allow for high glycemic starches by doing what they call "exchanges."

For example, say your diet includes one slice of bread per day. If you want to eat a small potato, you can exchange it for the slice of bread to keep starches in the right proportion to other foods.

If you want to know more about exchanges and how they work, the Mayo Clinic has spelled this out on their website.

You need to know what 15 grams of carbohydrate looks like, so you can exchange that amount for other things with the same carbohydrate count.

Get Help from a Dietitian

A good endocrinologist (diabetes specialist) will point you toward a dietitian who knows how diabetes works.

The dietitian helps you decide how many calories you ought to eat per day on your diabetic meal plan. If you want to achieve weight loss or just keep your blood sugar in good ranges, she will show you how.

If you are not used to eating the snacks and small meals that some diabetic experts encourage, a dietitian will help there too.

Whatever diet you choose you have to learn what a serving size is based on calories. You cannot go by what is on cans and packages.

For example, diabetes dietitians say a serving of protein is about the size of a credit card. That is not what I was raised to call a serving.

If you need some training in serving sizes, a food scale is an absolute must. My food scale has helped me to stay honest with my food journal at myfitnesspal.com.

Eat What You Want

Most problems with a diabetic meal plan come from trying to do everything at once. So continue to eat what you want. Use portion control and learn how to like what is really good for you.

Include as many of the superfoods as you can. Use your food journal to keep you honest about what you eat. That alone will change you.

By the way, here's a fascinating piece of news. People who think about what they are eating as being good for them leave the table less satisfied than those who think about how much they are enjoying their food.

So enjoy the things you have put on your diabetic meal plan. Then do the exercise you planned to do as well. May you see success finding your diabetes cure.

Do you wonder if sugar free foods help or hurt a diabetic diet?

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