WASECA, Minn. — Poor diet can obviously lead to health problems and weight gain. Conversely, proper food choices help people become healthier and manage certain conditions. For those with diabetes and prediabetes appropriate monitoring and management of diet is extremely important. Mayo Clinic Health System registered dietitian Sue Seykora offers these meal-planning tips to help keep diabetes under control and maybe avoid it all together.
Carbohydrate counting is a meal-planning approach that focuses on the total number of carbs consumed. It's an easy method to follow and allows variety in food choices that fit preferences and lifestyle.
Most of the foods you eat contain carbs: breads, crackers, pasta, rice, potatoes, milk and many more. Carbs are often thought of as bad foods. In reality, your body needs carbs to create energy. The problem is that many people don’t choose healthy types and amounts of carbs. “People should consume healthier carbs like fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy foods. All foods – even healthy foods – need portion control,” says Seykora.
Although there is no universal amount of carbs you should ingest, the following guidelines serve as a good starting point and can be adjusted as needed (note that one serving of carbs is considered 15 grams):
“Although carb counting is the initial focus for a diabetic diet, protein and fat levels cannot be ignored,” says Seykora. “Work with your dietitian to discover how to limit excessive protein and fat in your diet.”
The plate method
“Another meal-planning system is the plate method. Not only is this good for people with diabetes and prediabetes, it’s a healthy option for anyone,” adds Seykora. She shares some basic principles for the plate method:
Actions for people with prediabetes
It’s amazing what health-conscious eating and physical activity can do for preventing the progression of diabetes. Try these tactics to improve your health: