Meal planning includes choosing healthy foods,
eating the right amount of food, and eating meals
at the right time. The American Diabetes
Association and the American Dietetic Association
developed 6 food exchange lists for the purpose
of meal planning for people with diabetes as
part of a diabetes diet. The 6 lists for a
diabetes diet are: starch or bread, meat and
substitutes, vegetables, fruits, milk or dairy,
and fat. Every food on the list has approximately
the same amount of carbohydrate, fat, protein,
and calories for the amount given.
Any food on the diabetes diet list can be
exchanged for any other food on the same list.
The food exchange lists also show the number of
food choices that can be eaten at each meal
and snack. Using the foods on the exchange list
(along with a personal meal plan designed by a
registered dietitian or nutritional counselor)
will control the distribution of calories
throughout the day so that food and insulin
will be balanced.
Meal plans for a diabetes diet differ depending
on the type of diabetes. With insulin-dependent
diabetes (Type I), consistency in the time meals
are eaten and the amounts and types of food
eaten is very important to allow food and
insulin to work together to regulate blood-glucose
levels. If meals and insulin are out of balance,
extreme variations in blood glucose can occur.
In non insulin-dependent diabetes, weight
control is the most important principle in
addition to a well-balanced diet.
Consultation with a dietitian or nutrition
counselor or your medical practitioner is an
invaluable tool for planning meals and
controlling a diabetes diet. They can also
advise you on long term maintenance diet plans
and make recommendations for regular exercise
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