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Meal Planning for Diabetes Patients

written by: Sanchia Fernandes • edited by: Diana Cooper • updated: 4/4/2011

Diabetes meal planning is an important measure in the prevention and control of diabetes. Diabetes develops when your body is not able to produce and make use of insulin efficiently. Insulin is the hormone that helps in the breakdown of food into glucose which is then used by the body.

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    The Need for Meal Planning

    beglib/morgueFile Diabetes meal planning does not call for special foods or complicated diets but only requires some balancing in what, when and how much you eat. It helps you have control over the foods you eat along with your meal timings and your calorie intake. This can help you establish the healthy lifestyle and the nutritional diet that’s required by diabetics.

    Some of the common meal plans available to diabetic patients are the constant carbohydrate meal plan where you eat the same amount of carbohydrates each day, the carbohydrate counting meal plan where you adjust your insulin intake based on your carbohydrate consumption and the exchange meal plan where you can choose from a list of grouped foods with similar carbohydrate content.

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    Being Smart about Sugars, Starches and Fats

    Diabetes does not bring about any changes in the nutritional requirements of your body, but it is important that you moderate on some foods and emphasize on a few others in order to balance your diet. A balanced diet is one that contains carbohydrates, proteins and fats in the right proportions. A diabetes meal plan does not require you to eliminate sweets and sugar from your diet. However, savoring them for the special occasions can be highly beneficial. Eating brown rice, whole grain bread, sweet potatoes, etc. instead of white rice, bread and potatoes can help you control your carbohydrate intake. Similarly choosing nuts and seeds over cheese, and fish over red meat can help you increase the healthy fats in your diet.

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    Healthy Eating Habits

    In addition to helping you establish a healthy diet, meal planning can also help you learn a few healthy eating habits. There are a few changes that you need to make in the way you eat. Firstly, you need to give up the notion that skipping a meal, especially breakfast, can help you maintain a healthy diet. Instead, eating smaller, balanced meals at regular intervals can help you keep your calorie intake in check. It is also important that you consume almost the same amount of calories every day. Erratic changes in your daily calorie intake can cause a lot of complications. This is essential especially for people who overeat on one day and then starve themselves the following day to make up for it.

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    If you wish to control your blood sugar, diabetes meal planning is not enough. It is more important that you stick to it in order to reduce the complications of diabetes. Rest also plays a major role in the prevention and control of diabetes. Hence, make sure that you give your body balanced meals everyday and sleep well for a long and happy life. It's equally important for you to follow a strict exercise regime if you're suffering from diabetes. If you indulge in certain foods when you attend parties or socialize, you can keep your insulin levels in check if you work out for at least 30 to 45 minutes. These are the minor changes that you need to make so that you live a healthy life even if you have been diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

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    References:

    HELPGUIDE.org

    BAPTIST Memorial Health Care

    MedlinePlus

    Image Credit:beglib/morgueFile