A diabetes meal plan is one that helps diabetics improve their blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol levels, according to the American Diabetes Association. It also helps to maintain proper weight, which is important for diabetics.
A diabetes meal plan, also known as medical nutrition therapy, signifies a diet that contains a variety of nutritious food and regular meal times, according to Mayo Clinic. It is not a strict diet but one that is low in fat and calories, and contains a generous amount of vegetables, fruits and whole grains. It's regarded as a healthy diet for everyone, including people who don't have diabetes. For people with type 2 diabetes, a diabetes meal plan is one that assists with weight loss and manages blood glucose levels to keep them within a safe range.
Healthy diabetes meal plans should include healthy carbohydrates, fiber, heart-healthy fish and unsaturated fats, explains Mayo Clinic. Carbohydrates should be complex and simple sugars that come from natural sources, such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes and low-fat dairy products. Fiber-rich foods, such as bran or oats, which contain parts of the plant that are not easily digestible, help control blood sugar levels and take longer to digest. They also decrease the risk of heart disease. Fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as cod, mackerel and salmon, lower the blood-fat levels, and contain less fat than meat and poultry. They should be included in the diet twice a week, according to Mayo Clinic. Healthy fats should be included as well, but they should be monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, such as the fat from avocados, olives, walnuts and pecans.