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Eating Healthy With Type 2 Diabetes

Create a meal plan

A good diabetes meal plan can help you keep your blood sugar and weight goals on track, and should fit in with your schedule and eating habits.

Make healthy updates to classic favorites

Try swapping out certain ingredients for healthier versions, such as adding crunch to your salad with nuts rather than croutons.

Read food labels

Nutrition Facts food labels can help you track your daily carbohydrates. Be sure to pay attention to both the serving size and total carbohydrate amount.

Be aware of how many calories are in a portion of that food. You can also compare different products to find lower-calorie options.

Know your portions

Controlling your portion size is a great way to keep tabs on your calorie intake. Try this "handy" guide to help ensure your food servings are the right size:

  • Your fist is about the size of 1 cup
  • Your thumb tip is about 1 tablespoon (the top joint of your thumb)
  • The palm of your hand is about 1 ounce of snack food (not a heaping handful)

Counting carbohydrates

When you eat foods that contain carbohydrates, your body breaks them down into glucose (sugar). By tracking your carbohydrates, staying within your carbohydrate limits, and with the right balance of physical activity and medicine, if needed, you can help keep your blood sugar numbers within your target range.

Some portions of foods containing about 15 grams of carbohydrates:

  • 1 small piece of fresh fruit (4 oz)
  • 1/2 cup of canned or frozen fruit
  • 1 slice of bread (1 oz) or 1 (6 inch) tortilla
  • 1/2 cup of oatmeal
  • 1/3 cup of pasta or rice
  • 4-6 crackers
  • 1/2 English muffin or hamburger bun
  • 1/2 cup of black beans or starchy vegetable
  • 1/4 of a large baked potato (3 oz)
  • 2/3 cup of plain fat-free yogurt or sweetened with sugar substitutes
  • 2 small cookies
  • 2 inch square brownie or cake without frosting
  • 1/2 cup ice cream or sherbet
  • 1 Tbsp syrup, jam, jelly, sugar, or honey
  • 2 Tbsp light syrup
  • 6 chicken nuggets
  • 1/2 cup of casserole
  • 1 cup of soup
  • 1/4 serving of a medium french fry

References: 1. American Diabetes Association (ADA). Diabetes meal plans and a healthy diet. http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/planning-meals/diabetes-meal-plans-and-a-healthy-diet.html. Last reviewed June 1, 2015. Last edited July 1, 2015. Accessed November 9, 2016. 2. American Diabetes Association (ADA). Fast food challenge. http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/what-can-i-eat/food-tips/eating-out/the-fast-food-challenge.html. Last reviewed August 1, 2013. Last edited June 30, 2014. Accessed November 9, 2016. 3. American Diabetes Association (ADA). Carbohydrate counting. http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/what-can-i-eat/understanding-carbohydrates/carbohydrate-counting.html. Last reviewed October 2, 2013. Last edited March 11, 2015. Accessed November 9, 2016. 4. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK); US Department of Health and Human Services. Diabetes diet and eating. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/diabetes-diet-eating. Published May 2014. Accessed November 28, 2016. 5. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK); US Department of Health and Human Services. Causes of diabetes. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/causes. Published August 2014. Accessed November 9, 2016.

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