Diabetes Awareness Month: MyPlate Food Guide for Easy Meal Planning

by | Nov 22, 2012 | Health Habits, Nutrition Support, Uncategorized

If you are a diabetic or looking after a diabetic and are planning to adopt the USDA ‘MyPlate’ guidelines in the daily diet then this excellent MyPlate meal planning food guide is a must read article!

Having diabetes is about making healthy eating choices whenever you can, eating regularly – or at the right times to balance the effects of any tablets and/or insulin you take and also being aware of the effects of alcohol on your diabetes. Knowing what’s in your food – proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals and fiber enables you to make the right choices that help to control your blood glucose levels. Whether you cook at home or eat out, here are ways to adopt the USDA MyPlate food guide and enjoy meal planning to take maximum care for your diabetes.

3 Basic principles of MyPlate food guidelines in relation to diabetes

# 1 No foods are banned!

The USDA approved MyPlate food guide does not ban any food however; it does specify which foods should be eaten less often and in small quantities.

# 2 Three components of a healthy meal

Eat meals that contain carbohydrate and are high in fiber. A third of your food intake should come by way of fruit or freshly squeezed fruit juice that preferably does not exclude the pulp. Meat and poultry products should form another third of your food intake. When selecting meat, opt for lean meat. The balance (roughly half your food) should come by way of green leafy vegetables. Veggies can be eaten raw as in a salad or cooked with minimal oil and salt.

# 3 Some foods that should be eaten sparingly

These include oil (fat), meats, sugar, salt and alcohol. So foods that contain fat, e.g. pastries and fries, or foods that contain excessive salt e.g. tinned soups, tinned fish should be eaten very sparingly.

Meal planning and diabetes

If you have diabetes, meal planning is important because your body is unable to use foods that contain carbohydrate in the usual way. All foods containing carbohydrates are broken down into glucose. Glucose needs insulin to convert into energy. In a diabetic, insulin is something that is in short-supply or does not work too well. However, a diabetic still has to eat carbohydrate containing foods because they are the body’s main source of energy.

Meal planning is therefore important because your need to select those carbohydrate foods (called complex carbohydrates) that have a less immediate effect on the blood glucose levels. Also, the quantities you choose should balance well with any tablets or insulin you need to take. Foods that are high in complex carbohydrates include bread, potatoes, rice, pasta, cereals, beans and pulses.

Food guide for your religion and fasting

MyPlate food guide remains the same whether you are a vegetarian or are following any other special diet e.g. Kosher food or if you have celiac disease or allergies to certain foods. When you fast, you may need to adjust the dosage of your tablets or insulin for the period that you are fasting and the times that you eat. In general, fasting during pregnancy when you have diabetes is not recommended as it can be harmful to you and your unborn child.

When you plan, serve, and eat your meal, concentrate on your food. Chew well and eat slowly. Above all, stop eating when your stomach signals that it is full. You do not have to eat everything that is in the plate. However, to ensure you have had a balanced meal, you do have to eat a little of all.