No food is off-limits when you have diabetes, as long as it's in sensible amounts and as part of a balanced meal. The key is learning how to create a balance in your total meal that will produce normal blood sugars after you eat.
Here are four tips to help you get started, followed by recipe ideas for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
- Use daily testing of blood sugars as a way to learn what is working for you and how your blood sugars are affected by different foods.
- Stick to a certain number of carbohydrate grams per meal, about 45-75 grams of carbohydrate eaten three times a day, depending on the person and the meal.
- Balance those carbs with fiber and protein in each meal. Foods containing carbs and fiber, such as vegetables, beans/legumes, whole grains, and whole fruits generally don’t cause blood sugars to rise as high as carbohydrates such as sugar, pastries, white bread, and white rice. Protein also helps blunt the rise in blood sugar after a meal.
- Eat sensible amounts of smart fats found in nuts, avocado, fish, olives, and other plants. High levels of saturated fats from meat, butter, cheese, and other dairy foods can contribute to insulin resistance. Note: Coconut, although a plant, contains saturated fat.
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 and top with desired garnishes, such as 1/4 cup chopped tomato, chopped green onions, 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: Carbohydrate 30 grams, Protein 18 grams, Fiber 6 grams
High-Protein Berry Yogurt Bowl
Add 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 one that adds about 15 grams of carbohydrate 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
Gourmet Cereal Bowl
In a big cereal bowl, add 1 cup of your favorite whole grain cereal that has about 30 grams of carbohydrate and at least 5 grams of fiber. Sprinkle 1/2 cup fresh or frozen berries or banana slices, and 1/8 cup toasted nuts (almonds, walnuts, or pecans) over cereal. Drizzle 3/4 cup nonfat milk or soymilk over the top, stir, and enjoy!