Diabetes Health

Diabetes and Why Nutrition Can Save You

There are three things that you should be aware of when it comes to diabetes and nutrition – 1) what to eat, 2) how much to eat, and 3) when to eat. Knowledge and creativity will go a long way when preparing foods that are healthy, delicious, and help manage diabetes at the same time.


Having diabetes mellitus doesn’t mean that you have to deprive yourself. All that is needed is to make wise food choices. Diabetes and nutrition can go hand in hand to ensure that you live a happy, healthy, and worry-free life. Read the article to better understand diabetes and why nutrition can save you.


Yogurt, Milk, Vegetables, Fruits, Plants, Flora


What to Eat If You Have Diabetes


Basically, we need carbohydrates, protein, and fat. You can have two to five choices out of each food group.


Carbohydrates – This can be found in vegetables, fruits, dairy, beans, and starchy foods like bread. It is best to eat fresh fruits rather than dried fruit, canned fruit, or fruit juices.


Protein – The primary sources of protein are meat, poultry, and fish. Beans, dairy products, and some vegetables also contain protein. It is ok to eat meat, but you may want to consider eating more fish and poultry as they are healthier alternatives to pork or beef. Chicken skin and fats from meat should be avoided.


Fat – Dairy foods, oils, and meat products all have fat. Unhealthy fats that should be avoided (or limit the consumption) are fried foods, high-fat dairy products, bacon, and mayonnaise. Knowing how much fat you can consume in one day is necessary to healthy eating.


How Much to Eat


How much is your daily calorie requirement? It depends on your weight, body size, height, activity level, age, and gender. Here is a table of how many calories you can eat, depending on weight and body type:


  • 1,200 to 1,600 calories per day if you are a:


  • Small woman who exercises
  • Small/medium-sized woman who wants to lose some pounds
  • Medium-sized woman who doesn’t exercise much


meat and meat substitutes4-6 ounces
fatsup to 3



  • 1,600 to 2,000 calories per day if you are a:


  • Large woman who want to lose some pounds
  • Small man with a healthy weight
  • Medium-sized man who doesn’t exercise much
  • Medium sized/large man who wants to lose some pounds


meat and meat substitutes4-6 ounces
fatsup to 4



  • 2,000 to 2,400 calories per day if you are a:


  • Medium-sized/large woman who is physically active or exercises a lot
  • Medium-sized/large man who is physically active or exercises a lot
  • Large man with a healthy weight


meat and meat substitutes5-7 ounces
fatsup to 5



Let us discuss each food group:


Starches – provide carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Some examples of starches are bread, pasta, cereal, potatoes, corn, and rice. As much as possible choose whole-grain starches. Here are some examples of servings:


1 serving – 1 slice of bread, or ½ cup cooked cereal, or 1 small potato

2 servings – 2 slices of bread, or 1 small ear of corn + 1 small potato

3 servings – 1 cup of rice


Vegetables – contain vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They are low in carbohydrates. Examples of vegetables are cabbage, lettuce, carrots, celery, spinach, and broccoli.


1 serving – ½ cup green beans, or ½ cup carrots, or 1 cup salad

2 servings – ½ cup carrots + 1 cup salad

3 servings – ½ cup broccoli + 1 cup tomato sauce


Fruits – contain vitamins, minerals, fiber, and carbohydrates. Examples of fruits are oranges, apples, bananas, papaya, grapes, strawberries, and mangoes.


1 serving – 1 small apple, or ½ cup juice

2 servings – 1 banana, or 1 ¼ cups strawberries


Milk – provides calcium, protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals.


1 serving – 1 cup low-fat milk or 1 cup low-fat yogurt


Meat and meat substitutes – includes pork, beef, poultry, fish, turkey, lamb, eggs, cheese, tofu, and peanut butter. You can eat small amounts of these foods each day.


1-ounce serving – 2 tablespoons of peanut butter, or 1 egg

2-ounce serving – 1 slice of turkey + 1 slice of low-fat cheese

3-ounce serving – 3 ounces of cooked meat, chicken or fish


Fats and sweets – Some example of fats are mayonnaise, butter, margarine, bacon, oil, and cream cheese. Limit intake of saturated fats and trans fats. Examples of sweets are ice cream, cake, pie, doughnuts, and cookies. To keep your blood glucose under control, limit your intake of foods from this group.



1 serving – 1 strip of bacon, or 1 teaspoon of oil

2 servings – 1 tablespoon regular salad dressing



1 serving – 1 cookie or 1 doughnut


When to Eat


If you have diabetes, knowing when to eat is just as essential as knowing what foods to eat. Proper spacing of meals throughout the day can help keep your blood glucose levels under control. Eat small portions at pre-planned intervals.


Have a “personalized menu” listing your meal plan for the day, so it will be easier for you to prepare and cook. Think of yourself as a creative “chef”, making delicious and healthy meals.


Salad Dish, Mixed Salad, Vegetable Salad, Diet


Healthy Eating Tips


  • Eat whole-grain bread and cereals.
  • Limit your intake of high-fat starches such as French fries, potato chips, biscuits, or pastries.
  • Buy low-fat yogurt.
  • Use mustard instead of mayonnaise.
  • Eat vegetables with little fat, dressings, or sauces.
  • Cook vegetables by steaming or boiling.
  • Eat fresh fruits.
  • If you want to drink fruit juice, it’s better not to add sugar.
  • Drink fat-free or low-fat milk.
  • Buy pork or beef with little fat on them.
  • Eat chicken without the skin.
  • Eat only small servings of sweets.


Diabetes and Nutrition


The food that you eat is closely associated with the amount of glucose (sugar) in your blood. The composition of calories for a healthy diet should be 40 to 60 % from carbohydrates, 20 % from protein, and 30 % or less from fats. It should be low in salt, cholesterol, and added sugar.


A healthy diet is important in diabetes management. It can help prevent complications arising from too much sugar in the blood. Having the right balance is key. One popular method that you can use in planning meals is the plate method.


Fill 1/2 of your plate with non-starchy vegetables (cabbage, broccoli, carrots, radish, eggplant, etc.), 1/4 with lean meat or high protein food (fish, chicken, lean meat, tofu, nuts, etc.), and 1/4 with starchy foods or whole grains (brown rice, whole oats, potato, etc.). You can have a serving of dairy (low-fat milk, non-fat yogurt) or fruit (grapes, apple, banana, etc.) on the side.




A healthy diet plays a crucial role in diabetes management. Knowing what foods to eat, how much to eat, and when to eat are essential in planning and preparing nutritious meals every day.


You can consult a doctor or dietitian to help design a healthy meal plan. Having the right amount of calories will help ensure that you maintain a healthy weight and keep your blood sugar levels under control.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

To Top