There is often more than 1 serving contained in a food package. Read the serving size compared with the total servings in the package. For instance, a whole bag of chips may be 4 to 5 total servings, which would be 4 to 5 times the calories, fat, carbohydrates, and other nutrients in a serving size. Also, compare serving sizes listed on the food label with the ones in your diabetes meal plan. They may not be the same.
Carbohydrate counting and diabetes
Your diabetes meal plan may be based on carbohydrate counting, or carb counting. If so, be sure to look at the total carbohydrates on the food label, not just sugar. Some nutritious foods may be high in sugar, such as fruit and milk.
Also look closely at food labels for sugar-free products. Sugar-free foods may not be carbohydrate-free. There may be little difference in total carbohydrate grams between a sugar-free product and its standard version. For instance, certain cereals and grains may not have added or natural sugar, but a high level of carbohydrates. Learn more about carbohydrates and blood sugar on Cornerstones4Care.com.
When looking at fats on the food label, check to see the types of fats listed. Good fats can help protect your heart and lower cholesterol, while bad fats raise cholesterol and increase the risk of heart disease.
The same rule applies with fat-free foods as with sugar-free foods. When looking at fat-free foods, carefully compare the carbohydrate and calorie content of the fat-free version against the standard version.
Free foods are those with fewer than 20 calories and fewer than 5 grams of carbohydrates per serving. These foods may include diet soda, sugar-free gelatin, and sugar-free chewing gum. You can generally include some of them in your diet whenever you like. You can get more information about free foods and hundreds of easy-to-follow, diabetes-friendly recipes on Cornerstones4Care.com. Registration is free, quick, and easy!
Keeping track of mealtimes and snack times
Depending on the type of diabetes medicine you use, you may need to follow a careful schedule for meals and snacking. An insulin analog such as NovoLog® Mix 70/30 offers a dosing schedule that can be adjusted around mealtimes and physical activity. Follow your doctor's instructions about adjusting your dose.
Healthy meal planning may help you reach some important goals such as:
- Keeping your blood sugar within your target range
- Managing your weight
- Controlling your blood cholesterol and triglycerides (a type of fat in your blood)
- Controlling your blood pressure
Control portion sizes with the Plate Method