When I ask my patients about the most challenging part of managing diabetes, 99% of the time the response is related to healthy eating. “What can I eat? What should I eat? How many grams of sugar should I aim for? Should I avoid or limit carbs?” they ask.
The answers, of course, aren’t the same for everyone; the American Diabetes Association’s “Standards of Medical Care,” which is updated yearly, emphasizes individualization — in other words, that there isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” diet when it comes to managing diabetes. Still, some patients want to know, down to the bite, what they should (and shouldn’t) eat. And while I always say, “a balance of everything” (and yes, that includes carbs like fruit, starchy vegetables, beans and legumes, whole grains, milk and yogurt, and even some sweets), I also like to offer an example of what that actually looks like.[See: The 14 Best Diets to Prevent and Manage Diabetes.]
Here is a sample healthy menu for people with diabetes calculated with 45 grams of carbohydrate per meal. Note that healthy carbohydrate foods are spread evenly throughout the day. For recipes of many of the meals below, check out “Diabetes Meal Planning and Nutrition for Dummies,” which I co-authored with Dr. Alan Rubin in 2013 with help from Lindsey Singleton, a registered dietitian nutritionist.
— Breakfast: Egg white omelet with bell pepper, tomatoes and spinach; two slices of rye toast with margarine; 1 cup cubed cantaloupe; coffee or tea.
— Lunch: Tuna salad on a slice of sourdough bread with sliced tomato and romaine; 3 cups popped popcorn; 3/4 cup blueberries; iced tea.
— Snack: Cheese stick and five whole-wheat crackers.
— Dinner: Chicken with lemon; 3/4 cup rice pilaf with currants; steamed green beans with roasted red bell pepper; whole-grain roll with margarine; iced tea.
— Breakfast: One 6-ounce serving of plain Greek yogurt topped with sliced almonds, cinnamon and a 1/2 cup raspberries; 1 cup cooked oatmeal; coffee or tea.
— Lunch: Four slices of fresh turkey on two slices of rye bread with 1 tablespoon ajvar (a red pepper spread); fresh orange sections; baby sweet bell peppers; water with sliced lime.
— Snack: Small apple with almonds.
— Dinner: One 5-ounce serving of teriyaki salmon with ginger and orange juice; 1 cup spaghetti squash with margarine; roasted asparagus; one whole-grain dinner roll with 1 teaspoon margarine; one sliced kiwi; flavored sparkling water.
— Breakfast: Black bean breakfast bowl topped with sliced avocado; sliced fresh peach; coffee or tea.
— Lunch: Natural peanut butter spread on two slices of whole-wheat bread; 1/2 cup raspberries with a dollop of whipped cream; celery sticks; one serving of dark (72% cacao) chocolate.
— Snack: Cubed cheese and 17 frozen grapes (tastes like ice cream!).
— Dinner: Grilled chicken; 1 cup baked acorn squash; roasted cauliflower; dinner roll with margarine; scoop of ice cream with chopped nuts.[See: The Best Foods to Prevent and Manage Diabetes.]
— Breakfast: One 6-ounce serving of low-fat, fruited yogurt; two servings of “cheese Danish” made with 1/4 cup cottage cheese sprinkled with cinnamon and low-calorie sweetener on a slice of pumpernickel bread; almonds; coffee or tea.
— Lunch: Egg salad with sliced tomato on two slices of rye bread; fresh baby bell peppers; 1 cup vegetable soup; water with lemon slice.
— Snack: 1 1/2 graham crackers with peanuts.
— Dinner: Spiced pork tenderloin with gala apples; medium sweet potato with margarine; cornbread; sauteed spinach and roasted garlic; water.
— Breakfast: Whole English muffin topped with two egg whites and a slice of cheese; sliced tomato; baked pear; coffee or tea.
— Lunch: Hamburger on a bun with lettuce and tomato; 1 cup baked fries; tossed salad with dressing; iced tea.
— Snack: Three-quarters cup fresh pineapple with almonds.
— Dinner: Flatbread cheese and vegetable pizza; tossed salad loaded with vegetables and topped with salad dressing; flavored sparkling water.
— Breakfast: Whole-grain tortilla spread with peanut butter and wrapped around a small banana; 1 cup milk; coffee or tea.
— Lunch: Vegetarian chili; creamy coleslaw; 1/2 cup applesauce; sparkling lemon water.
— Snack: Pistachios and an orange.
— Dinner: Panko chicken tenders; roasted Brussels sprouts; 3/4 cup quinoa salad; 1/2 cup cantaloupe; sparkling water.[See: 10 Myths About Diabetes.]
— Breakfast: A half-cup of cooked oatmeal; one whole sliced mango; soy sausage; tea or coffee.
— Lunch: Chipotle beef tacos; tossed salad with jicama and salad dressing; sliced apple; iced tea.
— Snack: Tuna salad with crackers.
— Dinner: Baked polenta with turkey sausage ragu; steamed broccoli with margarine; flavored sparkling water.
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What to Eat When You Have Diabetes: A Sample Healthy Meal Plan originally appeared on usnews.com