A diabetes meal plan guides about the type and what foods a diabetic can choose to eat at meals and snack times. A good meal plan is one that fits in with schedule and eating habits and helps to improve blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol, as also helps in weight reduction and to keep it in check and reduces risk of medical complications.
Healthy eating includes consuming foods that provide good nutrition and which includes vegetables, whole grains, fruits, non-fat dairy products, lean meats, poultry and fish.
A dietitian must be consulted upon the onset of diabetes for developing a meal plan which should take into account lifestyle, medication, weight as well as favorite foods. A dietitian will help in planning a diet that would prevent complications of diabetes and still not take away any of the pleasures in eating.
A diabetic should pay careful attention to nutrition and diet and should consider it as a part of the treatment program. Not only must they eat at the same time each day but should also eat about the same amount of food to keep blood sugar levels stable. Consistency is vital. A diabetic diet is a healthy eating plan that’s rich in carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and fiber and is nutritional, but at the same time low in fat and calories. Healthy eating habits coupled with physical activity and medication helps keep blood sugar in control and within target range. A healthy diet must include starches, fruits, vegetables and eating sugars and sweets in moderation.
Fruits, vegetables and some seeds that contain soluble fibers are especially good for people with diabetes as they tend to slow down or reduce the absorption of glucose from the intestines. Insoluble fibers, found in whole grains and nuts, act as intestinal cleaners by cleaning out the lower gastrointestinal tract.
A diabetic diet is based on the body frame of the patient, type of physical activity undertaken during the day, and levels of obesity. While, a 1200 to 1600 calorie diet a day is recommended for a female patient with small or medium frame with little physical activity, a diet of about 1,600 to 2,000 calories a day is recommended for large sized woman or a small sized man with very limited physical activity and yet desirous of losing weight.
For a medium-sized or a large man, or a medium-sized or large woman with lot of physical activity, a diet of 2,000 to 2,400 calories a day is recommended.
Alcoholic drinks are best avoided since they contain only calories and no nutrients. If unavoidable, it should be had with meals or after a snack.
In a healthy diet it is recommend that 50 to 60 percent of daily calories come from carbohydrates, 12 to 20 percent from protein, and no more than 30 percent from fats. Spacing of meals during the day instead of one or two heavy meals once or twice a day, is the best way to lose weight, control overeating and making better food choices.
A proper and healthy diet is vital in diabetic treatments. It can help patients achieve and maintain desirable weight, maintain normal blood glucose levels, prevent heart and blood vessel diseases, weight loss and lower blood cholesterol.