What Is a Balanced Meal for a Diabetic?


Quick Answer

A balanced meal for a person with Type 2 diabetes includes a large serving of non-starchy vegetables, smaller servings of whole grains and lean protein. A single serving of fruit or dairy, minimal healthy fats and low-calorie, unsweetened beverages may also be included, according to the American Diabetes Association.

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Full Answer

People with diabetes must take care to balance their diets with their medications to manage their blood glucose levels. A simple method for creating a well-balanced meal is the Create Your Plate method, devised by the American Diabetes Association.

Draw an imaginary line down the center of a dinner plate, suggests the American Diabetes Association. Divide one-half of the plate again so there are three portion areas on the plate, one that is half the plate and two smaller areas each equal to a quarter of the plate. Use the largest portion area for a nonstarchy vegetable, such as spinach, beets or cabbage.

Use one of the smaller portion areas for lean protein such as salmon, tofu or skinless chicken. Use the remaining smaller portion area for whole grains or starches, such as sweet potatoes, rye bread or green beans. Add a single serving of fruit or low-fat dairy as desired, and use healthy fats such as olive oil, avocado or nuts sparingly. Select a beverage that is low in calories and unsweetened.

Free meal planning guides, recipes and resources are available at Diabetes.org. It is important for those with diabetes to discuss their dietary needs with a registered dietitian or their health care provider, notes the American Diabetes Association.

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