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  • Juanita Weaver-Reiss

How to plan a meal for blood glucose control

Updated: Sep 1, 2020

How to plan a meal for someone who has diabetes?

I get asked this question a lot. What kinds of diet should I follow if I have diabetes? Are there certain foods that I should stay away from? Should I do the Atkins diet?

The toolkit for blood glucose control

There are tools a person can use to help achieve blood glucose control. These are healthy foods, physical activity, and medications. It is not just one of these by itself, but usually a combination is needed to obtain blood glucose control which is why when I meet with someone, even when they just want to know about their meal plan, that I talk about the other tools that may impact their glucose or sugar values.

The basics, or nuts and bolts of what foods to include in your plan

The food choices for someone who has diabetes is the same as it is for someone who doesn't have diabetes. It is a focus on choosing foods that will promote health. It is important to choose a variety type of foods from the different food groups to give your body the nutrition it needs. Choose foods that are lower in fat to protect the heart. Eat foods that are higher in fiber. Choose higher calorie, or foods that that don't give the body nutrition but just taste good, less often.

Food types

Three food groups provide energy for the body. These are the carbohydrate type foods, the protein foods, and fats.

Fuel for the body

Carbohydrates are the body's preferred fuel source. Our body needs a certain amount of carbohydrate each day to function at its best level.

Impact on glucose

Carbohydrates, when eaten, are changed 100% into glucose. Protein and fat have very little impact on glucose level.

Controlling the glucose levels

Some ways to control the glucose levels:

1) keep the carbohydrates the same amount at each meal

2) Eat regular meals and have those meals spaced out at regular intervals

Factors that influence how much carbohydrate to eat at meals

A person's age, their sex, and their activity can influence how much carbohydrate is needed at each meal.

Monitoring blood glucose

Monitoring your blood glucose levels will tell you how the amount of carbs you have chosen is working. Typically a person would check before a meal and then again 2 hours after a meal to monitor glucose. It is a good idea to write these values in a log book along with the food eaten and how much of each item. This information could be used during a visit with a certified diabetes educator to assess the food, glucose, and medicines taken during a visit and the need for changes in the plan.

General guide of how much carb at meals

For women - stay with 3 to 4 carb servings per meal

For men – stay with 4 to 5 carb servings per meal

To get a specific plan, it may be beneficial to meet with a dietitian/Certified diabetes educator.

Best Health to you,


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