Diabetic Nutrition – Meal Planning

Diabetic Nutrition - Diet Plan

Diabetic nutrition, diet, and weight control are the foundation of diabetes management. The most objective in the dietary and nutritional management of diabetes is controlling total caloric intake to maintain reasonable body weight and stabilize the blood glucose level. The success of this alone is often with the reversal of hyperglycemia in type 2 diabetes.

Provide all the essential food constituents like vitamins and minerals needed for optimal nutrition.

  • We were meeting Energy needs.
  • Maintaining a reasonable weight.
  • Avoidance of substantial daily fluctuations of blood glucose level, with blood glucose level close to normal, is safe and practical to reduce risk or prevent complications.
  • Decrease serum lipid levels to reduce the risk of macro-vascular complications.

For those diabetic people who require insulin to help control blood glucose levels

Maintaining as much consistency as possible in the number of calories and carbohydrates ingested at different meal times is essential. Additionally, precision in the approximate time intervals between meals with snacks and snacks helps prevent hypoglycaemic reactions and maintain the overall glucose control.

For obese with type 2 diabetes, weight loss is the necessary treatment. Obesity-associated with increased resistance to insulin is also the main factor in developing type 2 diabetes. Some obese who require insulin or oral antidiabetic agents to control blood glucose levels may reduce or eliminate the need for medication through weight loss.

A weight loss as small as 10% of total weight may significantly improve blood glucose. In other instances, wherein one is not taking insulin, consistent meal content or timing is not critical. Instead, decreasing the overall caloric intake assume the most importance. However, Meals should not be skipped by as. Pacing food intake throughout the day places more manageable demands on the pancreas.

Long-term adherence to a meal plan is one of the most challenging aspects of diabetes management. For the obese, it may be more realistic to restrict calories only moderately. For those who have lost weight, maintaining weight loss may be difficult. To help diabetic people incorporate new dietary habits into the lifestyle, diet education, behavioral therapy, group support, and ongoing nutrition counseling are encouraged.

Diabetic Nutrition Meal Plan

A diabetic Meal plan must consider food preferences, lifestyle, and usual eating times, ethnic and cultural background. There may be greater flexibility in meal timing and content by allowing insulin dosage adjustments for eating and exercise habits changes.

The first step in meal planning is a thorough review of a diet history to identify eating habits and lifestyles. A careful assessment of weight loss, gain, or maintenance should also take. In most circumstances, those with type 2 diabetes require weight reduction.

Diabetic meal Planning

About meal planning, you must coordinate with a registered dietitian. If possible, he must use educational tools, materials, and approaches so you can fully grasp the idea of your nutritional requirements. Your initial education approaches the significance of consistent eating habits, the relationship between food and insulin, and the provision of an individualized meal plan.

In-depth follow-up sessions focus on management skills, such as eating at restaurants, reading food labels, and adjusting the meal plan for exercise, illness, and special occasions. An instance like there is an aspect of meal planning, such as the food exchange system, which may be challenging to learn or understand. You may ask him every meeting for clarification or might as well leave him a message. Just remember that the food system provides a new way of thinking about food rather than a new eating way.

Simplification, as much as possible, grants a good understanding during the teaching session and provides an opportunity to assess doubts and a need for repeat activities and information.

Caloric Requirements Diabetic

Caloric requirements or your calorie-controlled diets are planned through calculating your energy needs.

(Individual energy needs that vary in every person) and your caloric necessity based on your age, gender, height, and weight.

The activity element is factored in to provide the actual number of calories required for maintenance.

Diabetic Nutrition Caloric Distribution

Diabetic nutrition in your diabetic Meal Plan also focuses on the percentage of calories from carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. In general, carbohydrates have the most significant effect on blood glucose levels because they are more quickly digested and converted than other foods.


The carbohydrate counting method is essential because it makes you conscious about your approximate amount of serving. The more carbohydrates you ingested, the more your blood glucose goes up. It is also a tool used in diabetic management because carbohydrates are the primary nutrients that influence blood glucose levels. This technique provides flexibility in food choices, can be less complicated and allows more accurate management with multiple daily insulin injections. When developing a diabetic meal plan using carbohydrate counting, all food sources should be considered. Once digested, 100% of your carbohydrate intake is converted to glucose. Around 50% of protein foods (meat, fish, and poultry) are also converted to glucose. The amount of carbohydrates in foods is measured in GRAMS, so you have to know which foods contain carbohydrates

Examples of typical food that contains carbohydrates;

Potatoes, legumes (e.g., peas), corn, grains, dairy products (e.g., milk and yogurt), snack foods, and sweets (e.g., cakes, cookies, deserts), and Juices (soft drinks, fruit drinks, energy drinks with sugar).

Let’s say you aim 50% of your total calories must come from carbohydrates. One gram of carbohydrates is about 4 calories. So, divide the number of calories you want to get from carbohydrates by 4 to get the grams. For example, you aspire to eat 2000 calories a day and get 50% calories from carbohydrates.


  • 0.50 x 2000 calories = 1000 calories
  • 1000 / 4 = 250 grams of carbohydrates

Take note that there are people who have a lower tolerance for physical activity. Some need low-calorie diets. Therefore, the carbohydrates need in every person varies. To further master your caloric intake and your diet, feel free to contact a professional dietitian.

In terms of estimation on the number of carbohydrates in every serving, you can refer to Food Exchange List or here are some examples taken from the food exchange list:

These Foods contain 15 grams of each serving:

  • Biscuit – 1 (1 1/2 inches across)
  • Bun (hot dog or hamburger) – 1/2 bun
  • Pancake (1/4 inch thick) – 1 (4 inches across)
  • Pita bread – 1/2 pocket ( 6 inches across)
  • Waffle -1 (4-inch square or 4 inches across)
  • Cooked barley 1/3 cup
  • Cooked Pasta – 1/3 cup
  • Cooked Quinoa 1/3 cup
  • Cooked white or brown rice – 1/3 cup
  • Cassava – 1/3 cup
  • Corn 1/2 cup
  • Green Peas – 1/2 cup
  • Animal Crackers 8 crackers
  • Rice cakes, 4 inches across 2
  • Dried Apple 4 rings
  • Blueberries 3/4 cup
  • Dates 3
  • Fruit cocktail 1/2 cup
  • Mango juice 1/2 cup or 1/2 small
  • Papaya 1 cup cubed (8oz)
  • Grape Juice – 1/3 cup

Although carbohydrate counting is now commonly used for blood glucose management of type 1 and type 2 diabetes,

It affects the blood glucose to different degrees regardless of the equivalent serving size. Thus, you have to be consciously noticing the fluctuations of your blood glucose level and take action against any warning signs.

Diabetic Food Pyramid

It is commonly utilized for those with type 2 diabetes who have difficulty abiding with a calorie-controlled diet.

The food pyramid is consists of six food groups:

  1. Breads, grains, and other starches
  2. Vegetable (non-starchy vegetables)
  3. Fruits
  4. Milk
  5. Meat, meat substitutes, and other proteins
  6. Fats, oils, and sweets.

The pyramid shape was chosen to emphasize that the foods in the largest area

The bases of the pyramid (Starches, fruits, and vegetables) are the lowest in calories and fats and highest in fiber and should make up the diet. For those with diabetes and the general population, 50% to 60% of daily caloric intake must be from these three groups.

As you move up the pyramid, foods higher in fats (incredibly saturated fats) are illustrated; these foods should account for a smaller daily caloric intake percentage.

The top of the pyramid comprises fats, oils, and sweets that should be sparingly by people with diabetes to attain weight and blood glucose control and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Fats and Diabetes

The recommendation regarding the fat content for the diabetic diet includes both reducing the total percentage of calories from fat sources to less than 30% of the complete calorie and limiting the number of saturated fats to 10% of total calories.

Additional recommendations include limiting the total intake of dietary cholesterol to less than 30 mg/day. This approach may reduce risk factors such as elevated serum cholesterol levels associated with coronary heart disease development, leading to death and disability among people with diabetes.

The meal plan may include using some non-animal sources to help reduce saturated fats and cholesterol intake. Also, the amount of protein intake may be reduced to early signs of renal disease.

Fiber Has a Lowering Glucose power

The use of fiber in diabetic diets has received increased attention as the experts study the effects on diabetes of a high carbohydrate, high fiber diet.

This type of diet plays a role in lowering the total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol in the blood.

Increasing fiber diet may also improve blood glucose and decrease the need for exogenous insulin.

There are two types of dietary fibers: Soluble and Insoluble.

Soluble fibers in foods such as legumes, oats, and some fruits play more of a role in lowering blood glucose and lipid levels than insoluble fiber.

Soluble fiber is thought to be related to the formation of a gel in the gastrointestinal tract. This gel slows stomach emptying and the movement of food in the upper digestive tract.

The fiber’s potential glucose-lowering may be caused by the slower glucose absorption rate from the foods containing soluble fibers.

Insoluble fiber is found in whole-grain bread and cereals and some vegetables. This type of fiber plays more roles in increasing stool bulk and preventing constipation.

One risk involving the increase of fiber intake is that it may require insulin dosage or oral antidiabetic agents to prevent hypoglycemia.

If fiber is added or increase in the meal plan, it should be done gradually and with the actual consultation with a dietitian.


Using sweeteners can be acceptable for diabetic people significantly if it assists their overall dietary adherence. Moderation in the amount of sweetener used is encouraged to avoid potential adverse effects.

There are two main types of sweeteners: nutritive and non-nutritive.

  1. The nutritive sweeteners contain calories
  2. Non-nutritive sweeteners that have few or no calories in the amounts usually used.

Nutritive sweeteners include fructose (fruit sugar), sorbitol, and xylitol. They are not calorie-free; they provide calorie amounts similar to those in sucrose (table sugar).

They cause less elevation in blood sugar levels than sucrose and are often in “sugar-free” foods.

Sweeteners containing sorbitol may have a laxative effect.

Non-nutritive sweeteners have minimal or no calories.

They are used in food products and are also available for table use. They produce minimal or no elevation in glucose levels. Saccharin contains no calories.

Aspartame (Nutra Sweet) is dextrose it has 4 calories per packet and losses sweetness with heat.

 Acesulfame-K (Sunnette) is also a package with dextrose; it contains one calorie per packet.

Sucralose (Splenda) is a newer non-nutritive, high-intensity sweetener about 600 times sweeter than sugar.

Misleading Labels

Food labeled as “sugarless” or “sugar-free” may still provide calories equal to the equivalent sugar-containing products if they are made with nutritive sweeteners.

Hence, for weight loss, these products may not always be useful.

Additionally, you must ‘not’ consider them as “free” to be eaten in unlimited quantity because they may elevate your blood sugar.

Foods labeled “dietetic” are not necessarily reduced-calorie foods.

They may be lower in sodium or have other particular dietary uses. They may still contain significant amounts of sugar or fats.

Snack foods with labels like “Health Foods” may often contain carbohydrates like honey, brown sugar, and corn syrup.

These supposedly healthy snacks frequently have saturated vegetable fats, hydrogenated vegetable fats, or animal fats, which may be contraindicated if you have elevated blood lipids.

So read the nutritional labels carefully to count the nutrients that your food contains.


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