An important part of maintaining or even reversing Type 2 diabetes is meal planning. Meal planning means determining what to eat and how much to eat at each meal and snack. There are a few options for meal planning – you can use …
- carb counting,
- glycemic index, or
- the plate method
for your plan.
Whichever option you choose, your meal plan should work around your schedule and eating habits. It should also work with your insulin and oral medicines if you take them, to best manage your blood sugar. Each of these meal plans will help you eat correct portion sizes and spread out your carbohydrates intake throughout the day, while also reducing the amount of simple sugars you eat.
1. Carb Counting . One option is carbohydrates counting. To use this method, you'll first work with a dietitian to determine how much carbohydrates you can have. For example, you might aim for 45 to 60 grams of carbohydrates per meal. Then at each meal, you'll make sure to stay in this target range.
Looking at food labels is important with this method, as you'll need to know what the serving size is and how many grams of carbohydrates are in each serving.
2. Glycemic Index . The glycemic index method ranks all foods that contain carbohydrates in order of how much they raise blood sugar. Foods that have a high value on the list raise blood sugar the most. This list can be used to plan meals by trying to select foods with a moderate glycemic index, or GI. If foods with a higher GI are eaten, they should be combined with a low-GI food to balance them out and maintain stable blood sugar levels.
3. Plate Method. The plate method involves dividing your plate into sections for each type of food. You can think about imaginary lines that divide your plate into sections, or you can actually use a plate that's already divided into sections. You'll have three sections …
- half your plate for vegetables,
- a quarter of it for grains, and
- a quarter for protein.
Depending on the plan you've created with your dietitian, you'll add a serving or fruit and / or a serving of dairy to this plate for some of your meals.
Each of these methods has pros and cons. Work with your health care team to choose a method that works for you and that you can stick with to best manage your Type 2 diabetes.