Planning diabetic friendly menus

Menu planning can be a chore for many people. We often end up in a rut and find ourselves eating the same foods over and over.

If this sounds like you, you’re not alone. Many of us tend to eat the same foods within a two week period even though we know that a variety of foods is a healthier choice. Diabetes often seems complicate our menu planning, especially if you have been newly diagnosed. Michigan State University Extension encourages that meal planning doesn’t have to be complicated. Here are some tips for planning healthier meals:

  • What type of meal plan has your doctor or dietician recommended for you? The Exchange system is a built in meal planner, as you will be given the amounts of food to eat from each food group: Meat, starch, vegetables, fruit, milk and fats. You will be told when to eat the meals and snacks.
  • Carb counting makes it easier for a person with diabetes to make their own food choices, but there’s no built in meal guide. Having some basic meal planning information will help.
  • Start by visualizing your plate divided in half. One-half of your plate should be covered with a variety of non-starchy vegetables, which could include a half-cup of cooked vegetables or one cup of raw or leafy vegetables. Try for a variety of colors for your vegetables; especially choose those vegetables with bright, darker colors as they have more of the important antioxidants that keep you healthy.
  • Visualize dividing the other half of your plate into two sections.
  • One fourth of your plate will be your meat choice. Most Americans start their meal planning with the meat or main dish they are having. If you choose meat, the serving size is three ounces or the size of a deck of cards. If your main dish is a combination of protein, starch and veggies, the serving size would be about one cup.
  • The remaining quarter of your plate is for a serving of a starchy vegetable or a food from the grain family. Try to make at least half of these choices whole grains, every day. The serving size for your starchy food is a half-cup of a starchy vegetable or cooked cereal or one-third of a cup of rice or pasta. One slice of bread counts, but only one-half of any bread product normally served sliced, such as bagels, English muffins, hot dog or hamburger buns.
  • Finally, include a serving of fruit which will be a one-half cup of cut-up or canned fruit or one medium piece, about the size of your fist and a one cup serving from low fat or fat free milk, cheese or yogurt.

Write down your meals every day. Not only can you check to make sure that you’re choosing a variety of different foods, but after a month you’ll have 30 meals plans that you can now mix and match. What could be easier than that?

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