A diabetes meal plan helps diabetics choose the right foods, and the right portion sizes at meals and snacks, reports the American Diabetes Association. Carbohydrate-counting charts help diabetics manage their carbohydrate intake, according to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
Choosing the right meal plan helps control blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure, states the American Diabetes Association. Following a diabetes meal plan also helps diabetics do a better job balancing their food intake with exercise, oral medications and insulin. There is no one-size-fits-all diet for diabetes, so Type 1 and Type 2 diabetics must control their portion sizes and eat a variety of foods.
A carb-counting chart makes it easier to see how many grams of carbohydrates are in a particular food. One serving or carbohydrate choice is equivalent to approximately 15 grams of total carbohydrates. In the starch group, one slice of bread, 1/2 cup of mashed potatoes and one small baked potato each count as one serving of carbohydrates. One cup of cubed melon, an apple the size of a tennis ball and one small banana each count as one serving of carbohydrates in the fruit group. For dessert, one serving of carbohydrate equals three gingersnap cookies, eight animal crackers or five vanilla wafers, states the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.