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Diabetic Diet

Diabetes is a complicated disease. Whether you are a border-line or a full diabetic, it is imperative that you maintain control of your life. According to the American Diabetes Association, the symptoms of a diabetic are subtle and sometimes over looked. However, if you are a diabetic, what is happening inside of your body is not subtle, for your body lacks the ability to store and process simple and complex sugars. Not paying attention to a diabetic diet plan can result in worsening health conditions.

You need to exercise on a daily basis, monitor your blood pressure and check your blood sugar. It’s not about avoiding sugars and carbohydrates, it’s about controlling them.

If you haven’t met with a dietitian or a diabetes educator about a sensible diabetic diet plan, it is advisable to do so. A trip to your local hospital and asking to speak to the Head Dietitian will allow you to understand what needs to happen in order for you to stay healthy. You will also be presented with a list of acceptable foods for a diabetic diet.

Developing a practical approach to a diabetic diet is the primary focus of this article. In this day and age, when the family is busy and meals are rushed, how does a diabetic keep an accurate count of what they are consuming on a daily basis?

Thankfully the bookshelves are full of cookbooks for diabetics, doing the research for you beforehand, as the ingredients are already pre-measured and listed. It is simply a matter of taking your shopping list and buying the right ingredients for a diabetic diet.

Vegetables will supply you with carbohydrates, protein and dietary fiber as well as vitamins and minerals. One half cup of vegetables (cooked) or one cup of raw vegetables with your meals will help you maintain control. Some of the vegetables include:

  • Green Peppers
  • Turnips
  • Green Beans
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower

If you use canned vegetables, you would do well to rinse them with cold water prior to cooking to remove the excess salt. Your raw vegetables should be eaten without sauces or dips, and there are many low-fat salad dressings on the market today if you simply have to dip your veggies.

Cooking with spices is another way to enhance your meals. Adding onion and garlic when you can, gives you an extra edge on flavor. Also using lemon juice instead of butter or margarine will help keep you in check, as many of these spreads have added fats and preservatives that are not healthy for diabetics. If the meat has a bit of fat on it, cut the fat off and toss it into the vegetable pot for added flavor. Discard the fat after cooking the vegetables.

You have six basic food lists to draw from when planning your diabetic diet meals. This group was formulated by a committee from The American Diabetes Association and the American Dietetic Association.

The list contains the following groups:

  • Starch/Bread List: includes beans, breads, cereals, grains, crackers and some vegetables
  • Meat List: including certain cheeses that you can substitute for meat
  • Vegetable List: fresh, frozen and canned
  • Fruit List: fresh, frozen and canned fruits
  • Milk List: skim, whole and non-fat
  • Fat List; unsaturated and saturated fats

A full list can be found in any Diabetic cookbook or from the American Diabetes Association website. Your doctor will also provide you with a listing. There are three types of Diabetes: type 1 diabetes, type 2 and gestational. You basically need

  • 1 fruit
  • 2 meats
  • 2 breads
  • 1 milk
  • 1 fat

Diabetic Diet Plan

This should be your program every meal. Below is a sample of a Diabetic Diet Plan to get you started:

Breakfast
4 ozs. Juice
1 slice of bread toasted
2 eggs
8 oz. milk
1 tsp. butter or margarine

Lunch
½ cup sliced cucumber on lettuce
mushroom and spinach omelet
1 slice bread
1 tsp. butter
½ cup canned vegetables (rinsed and drained well)
coffee or tea

Dinner
1 cup homemade bouillon (to control salt)
1 pork chop grilled (fat trimmed)
½ cup cooked beets
½ cup cooked green beans
1 small salad with fat-free dressing
1 slice bread

You do have free foods available that will not impact your health:

  • Bouillon or broth
  • Carbonated or mineral water
  • Club Soda
  • Coffee or teas
  • Diet soft drinks
  • Sugar-free drink mixes
  • Sugar-free tonic water
  • Cranberry Juice
  • Sugar-free Jell-O
  • Sugar-free candy
  • Low-sugar jams and jellies

It is not a matter of limiting sugar, fats and salt. It is a matter of moderating what you eat and creating the right balance leading to a longer, healthier life.