Reduction of weight by roughly five to ten percent in type 2 diabetics may help to make the body cells more receptive to insulin, and aid in the control of the disease. The optimal daily amount of carbohydrate and calorie intake depends on individual circumstances and is best determined by a trained and registered physician.
The best diet menu for type 2 diabetes patients is comprised of whole foods rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals. Such foods include almost all plant foods, most dairy products, fish, whole fruits, lean meat, and poultry. It excludes all processed foods, and other foods high in refined flour and simple sugars.
Vegetables such as broccoli, green beans, leafy greens, zucchini, cauliflower, cabbage, carrots, and tomatoes constitute the best options as they remain rich in fiber and other nutrients and low in calories at the same time. Beans, whole grain bread, oatmeal, fresh fruit, whole-wheat couscous or pasta, brown rice, and barley are also good options as they release carbohydrates slowly into the bloodstream, lessening severe post-meal spikes in blood glucose.
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Protein-rich foods constitute an important ingredient of a diet menu for type 2 diabetes, as they give a feeling of fullness and contribute to limiting calorie intake.
The healthiest proteins are lean proteins that contain the least amount of fat and calories. Good options include animal proteins, like fish or shellfish, skinless chicken or turkey, skim milk, low-fat cheese, egg whites, and plant proteins from beans, nuts, lentils, tofu or soymilk. High-fat proteins from red meats, fried fish, and cheeses should be avoided owing to their high calorie content.
People suffering from kidney damage should limit their protein intake.
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Consumption of healthy fats in place of simple carbohydrates may help to lose weight and maintain more consistent blood glucose levels. The healthy fat options include mono-unsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids derived from oily fish, walnuts, almonds, peanut butter, avocado and olives.
Saturated fats found in meat, butter and other full-fat dairy products, and partially hydrogenated fats found in many margarine, crackers, chips, cookies, and other convenience foods are unhealthy and need strict avoidance in any diet.
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Developing a Menu
The diet menu for type 2 diabetes patients depends on the required calories and the proportion of carbohydrates, fats and protein. This depends on specific individual circumstances, and is best determined by a certified medical practitioner.
A good way to develop the daily menu is by setting up an exchange list. The diabetic exchange list is comprised of six groups of foods, grouped on similar calorie, carbohydrate, protein, and fat content. The six groups are starches/bread, meat, vegetables, fruit, milk and fat. All foods on the lists are broken down into like serving sizes, making them interchangeable.
When selecting the menu, foods can be substituted for one another within one list, but foods cannot be exchanged between the lists. The amount of food required from each list depends on many factors, such as the extent to which the individual needs to lose weight, exercise programs, whether the individual needs to reduce cholesterol or blood pressure levels.
Continue to Page 2 for sample menus and important warnings.
The type 2 diabetes sample menu is only indicative, and might not suit all people with type 2 diabetes.
A slice of toasted whole wheat bread with a teaspoon of peanut butter, 1/4 cup of egg substitute or cottage cheese, 1/2 cup of skim milk, 1/2 cup oatmeal, and a portion of a small banana provides roughly 360 calories and 52.5 grams carbohydrate, making for a good breakfast option for people with type 2 diabetes.
A cup of vegetable soup with four to six crackers, a one-ounce turkey sandwich with wheat bread, low-fat cheese, mayonnaise and a
small apple makes a good diabetic lunch. This menu option roughly constitutes 535 calories and 75 gram carbohydrates.
Four ounces of broiled chicken breast with basil and oregano sprinkled on top, 2/3 cup of cooked brown rice, 1/2 cup of cooked carrots, a small whole grain dinner roll with butter, tossed salad with low-fat salad dressing and four unsweetened canned apricot halves together provide 635 calories and 65 grams of carbohydrates, making for a good dinner option.
Possible snack options include fat-free tortilla chips with salsa, artificially sweetened chocolate pudding, small fruit pieces, and light popcorn. An average serving of such snacks provide roughly 60 calories and 15 grams of carbohydrates.
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Warning and Disclaimer
This article is not intended to treat, and does not constitute dietary or medical advice.
A registered dietitian or medical practitioner, preferably one who is also a certified diabetes educator (CDE) or experienced in diabetes care, is essential for individualized menu planning and determining the best food choices for people with diabetes.
The calorie and carbohydrate counts mention in the type 2 diabetes sample menu are approximate and actual count might vary significantly from the figures given in this article depending on the portion size or quantity.
- Weiner, Susan, M.D. Diabetes Menu Planning: What Do I Eat? https://www.dlife.com/diabetes/information//food_and_nutrition/menu_planning/what_do_i_eat.html
- Webmd.com. A Sample Meal Plan for Diabetes. https://diabetes.webmd.com/guide/sample-meal-plan
- University of Maryland Medical Center. Lose weight and follow the right diet https://www.umm.edu/careguides/000294.htm, Diabetes Diet https://www.umm.edu/patiented/articles/what_general_guidelines_heart-healthy_diets_000042_5.htm