No food is off-limits when you have diabetes. The key is to watch portions, balance what you eat, and have about the same number of carbohydrates in each meal.
These four tips can help you get started, along with recipe ideas for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
- Test your blood sugars to learn how different foods affect them.
- Stick to a certain number of carbohydrate grams per meal. Usually this is about 45-75 grams three times a day.
- Balance carbs with fiber and protein in each meal. This is easy if you use the plate method. Make half of your plate vegetables, a quarter of your plate a carb like brown rice or potato, and a quarter of your plate a healthy protein like chicken, fish, lean meat, or meat substitute. Add a small piece of fruit and some low-fat or fat-free milk or yogurt, depending on your carb target for that meal.
- Eat smart fats such as those in nuts, avocado, fish, olives, and other plants. Avoid saturated fats from meat, butter, cheese, and other dairy foods. Note: Coconut, although a plant, contains saturated fat.
NOTE: If any of the recipes below has fewer carbohydrates that what your doctor or health care team has recommended per meal, round out the meal with more carbs. This could include nonfat yogurt or milk, fruits and vegetables, or a small piece of whole-grain bread.
Quick and Healthy Breakfast Ideas
Scramble 1 egg and 2 egg whites (or 1/4 cup egg substitute) in a small nonstick frying pan coated with cooking spray. On a microwave-safe plate, spread the cooked eggs down the center of a multigrain or low-carb flour tortilla. Top with desired garnishes, such as 1/4 cup chopped tomato, chopped green onion, 1/4 avocado, or 1/8 cup shredded reduced-fat cheese. Microwave on high for about 20 seconds to soften the tortilla and warm up the filling. Wrap up and enjoy.
Estimated: Carbohydrates 30 grams, protein 18 grams, fiber 6 grams.
High-Protein Berry Yogurt Bowl
Put 1 cup plain, nonfat Greek yogurt in a cereal bowl. Stir in 1 teaspoon honey and a sprinkle of ground cinnamon, if desired. Top with 1/2 cup frozen or fresh berries and 1/2 cup whole-grain breakfast cereal of your choice. (Choose a cereal with about 15 grams of carbohydrates and at least 5 grams of fiber per 1/2 cup).
Estimated: Carbohydrate 47 grams, protein 22 grams, fiber 10 grams.
PB&J English Muffin
Toast a whole wheat English muffin and spread 1 tablespoon natural-style peanut butter on one half and 1 tablespoon less-sugar jam on the other half. Enjoy with a whole piece of fruit, such as an orange or banana. Estimated: Carbohydrate 47 grams, protein 10 grams, fiber 7 grams.