Eating a healthy diet is important, especially for those who are living with diabetes. Often when a person is diagnosed with diabetes, it is hard for them to know how to change their eating habits and how to make healthier choices at mealtimes. The American Diabetes Association has an easy method that one can use at anytime, anywhere, to help you make healthy choices at each meal.
The method is called the “create your plate” method. All you need is a little imagination and a regular-sized dinner plate (9-10 inches in diameter); no other tools are necessary! So let’s take a look:
Step 1: Take a regular-sized plate and imagine drawing a line down the middle of the plate dividing the plate in half. Then imagine that on one of these halves, you have another imaginary line that cuts it in half again so you will have three sections on your plate (one half section and two quarter sections):
Step 2: First fill one small section (a quarter of your plate) with protein. Proteins can include:
- Skinless chicken
- Skinless turkey
- Lean beef
- Lean pork
- Low-fat cheese or yogurt
Step 3: Now fill the other small section (a quarter of your plate) with grains or starches such as:
- whole grain breads
- whole grain, high-fiber cereal
- cooked cereal such as oatmeal
- rice, pasta, dal, tortillas
- cooked beans and peas
- potatoes, green peas, corn, lima beans, sweet potatoes, winter squash
- low-fat crackers, snack chips, pretzels and light popcorn
Step 4: Lastly, fill the largest section (half of your plate) with non-starchy vegetables such as:
- bok choy
- green beans
Step 5: Add a serving of fruit, a serving of low-fat dairy or both as your meal plan allows (discuss this with your nutritionist or doctor).
Step 6: Try to opt for foods prepared with small amounts of healthy oils such as olive oil. Garnish your vegetables and salads with low-fat dressings, preferably vinaigrettes, or with a small portion of nuts or avocado. Use lemon juice, pepper, or herbs to add flavor to your food without adding fat.
Step 7: Quench your thirst with a low-calorie drink. Good choices include water, unsweetened tea or coffee. Avoid high sugar juices and sodas.