The American Diabetes Association Meal Plan Overview

American Diabetes Association Meal Plan

Don’t know what to eat to manage diabetes? Just follow the American Diabetes Association Meal Plan and you’re set!

If you have prediabetes or diabetes, the American Diabetes Association Meal Plan can make it easier for you to manage your disease. People who have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes need to eat a balanced diet of diabetic-friendly foods. It can be difficult to figure out the proper portion sizes and menu items on your own, so the American Diabetes Association developed a simple, easy to follow diabetic meal plan. The American Diabetes Association Meal Plan lists which foods to eat and which to avoid, and provides guidance on the proper portion sizes. Following this meal plan will help you keep your blood glucose levels steady while making it easier to manage your weight. It also helps control risk factors that accompany diabetes, such as heart disease and high blood pressure. Here is an overview of the meal plan to get you started.

The American Diabetes Association Meal Plan consists of two main parts: portion control and a diabetic diet food list. Portion control helps you determine the amount of food you should eat, and the diabetic diet food list details the foods that diabetics should eat or avoid.

Portion Control

Portion control is a key component of the Diabetic Meal Plan. Carbohydrate counting, the glycemic index, and the Plate method are meal planning tools that are used to figure out how much to eat for meals and snacks. People who take insulin usually get the help of a dietician to use carb counting combined with the glycemic index.  Carb counting allows you to calculate exactly how many grams of carbs to eat for meals and snacks to balance your insulin intake. The glycemic index helps to fine-tune menu item amounts. The Plate method works by dividing a small plate to fill with 50% non-starchy vegetables, 25% lean protein, and 25% whole grains or starchy foods.

Diabetic Diet Food List

At the heart of the American Diabetes Association Meal Plan is a diabetic diet food list of recommended menu choices. This list includes:

  • Non-starchy vegetables
    Non-starchy vegetables provide nutrients, vitamins, and fiber. Foods on this list include dark leafy greens like kale and spinach, as well as broccoli, asparagus, tomatoes, and peppers.
  • Whole grains and starchy vegetables
    Healthy whole grains such as whole wheat couscous, whole oats or steel cut oatmeal, quinoa, millet, and brown rice should be eaten in the place of white rice or pasta. Starchy vegetables such as potatoes, squash, green peas, and corn provide vitamins, minerals, and fiber, which helps control blood glucose levels.
  • Fruits – Berries, apples, melons, and other fruits provide a great boost of vitamins and minerals.
  • Non-fat dairy products – Fat-free or low-fat milk, yogurt, and soy milk provide Vitamin D, calcium, and protein. Greek yogurt adds a terrific probiotic boost.
  • Lean proteins – Plant-based proteins (quinoa, peas, beans, and legumes), fish and seafood, skinless chicken, lean pork, cheese, eggs, and tofu are all good sources of necessary protein for people with diabetes. Lean cuts of beef or pork can be eaten in moderation.
  • Healthy fats – Avocado, olive oil, sunflower seeds, and nuts such as peanuts, almonds, cashews, and pecans in small amounts provide necessary monounsaturated fats.

Following the American Diabetes Association Meal Plan is easier than you may think. Once you become familiar with the diabetic diet food list and portion control, proper diabetic meal planning becomes a matter of habit.  Best of all, you don’t have to prepare separate meals for the diabetic in your family. There are many healthy diabetes-friendly recipes here on our site at that the entire family will enjoy.




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