Healthy Meal Plans to Manage Type 2 Diabetes

Posted on March 24, 2011


If you are among the millions of people who have type 2 diabetes, dietary changes can prevent such complications as heart disease, kidney failure, amputation and blindness. Don’t let diabetes rule your life. Learn how to create healthy meal plans so you can effectively manage this condition.

Balance Carbohydrates Properly

Your goal as a person with diabetes is to control your blood-sugar levels. Your doctor will give you the ideal target range for your particular situation. Carbohydrates convert into sugar after the body breaks them down, so they are the main culprits of elevated sugar levels.

Since carbohydrates are a primary fuel source for the body, you cannot eliminate them from your diet. Instead, you have to monitor your intake and only eat carbs from healthy sources. Stay away from simple carbohydrates like bread, pasta, cupcakes and sugar. They types of foods digest rapidly and can send your blood-glucose level soaring.

Most of your cabs should come from complex sources like vegetables, fruits and beans. These foods digest slowly in the body and help regulate your blood-glucose levels. Complex carbohydrates also help reduce the amount of food you eat because they keep you stay full longer.

Spreading your carbohydrate intake throughout the day can reduce dangerous spikes in your blood-sugar levels. Check your sugar levels prior to each meal and adjust your intake of carbs based on your pre-meal readings. If you find it difficult to regulate your carbohydrate intake, find a licensed nutritionist to help you put together healthy meal plans.

Include Healthy Fats in Your Diet

Fat is important for the brain, nervous system, organs, cells and immune system to function properly. Of course, not all types of fats are good for you. Trans fats, also referred to as hydrogenated vegetable oil should never be a part of anybody’s diet – especially if you are already battling a condition like diabetes.

Trans fat is made by mixing hydrogen atoms with vegetable oil. This process alters the molecular structure of the oil and turns it into a solid. Trans fats are favored by food manufacturers and restaurants because they improve the shelf-life of food and can be heated repeatedly without breaking down.

When you eat foods that contain hydrogenated oils, the body treats them like toxins because it does not recognize them as natural fats. Trans fats raise bad cholesterol and increase the risk of clogged arteries, heart disease and some types of cancer.

Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats are good fats to have in a healthy meal plan. These fats can lower your cholesterol and reduce your risk of heart disease. Polyunsaturated fats are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for a healthy brain.

Foods that are rich in polyunsaturated fats include sunflower seeds, nuts and fatty fish like mackerel and salmon. Foods that contain monounsaturated fats include olive oil, peanut butter, avocados, nuts and seeds.

Manage Protein Intake in Your Meal Plan

Protein is needed to build and maintain tissues in the body. It is believed that including protein in meals slows the absorption of carbohydrates. The University of Iowa Health Care suggests people with diabetes need eight grams of protein per pound of bodyweight daily.

If you have kidney disease, your recommended dietary allowance of protein may be less than the suggested eight grams per day. Your doctor will help you determine exactly how much protein you need in your diet.

Healthy sources of protein include lean meats, poultry, fish, bean and legumes. Meat contains more calories than plant-based foods. You can better manage your weight, by occasionally substituting the meat in your diet for beans.

Healthy meal plans can help you drop those unwanted pounds. Learn how to lose weight and keep it off at

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