Being diabetic includes monitoring the portion sizes of carbohydrates to keep blood sugar levels in a healthy range. Here are some general tips to keep diabetes in check:
- Don’t skip meals.
- Strive to eat around the same time each day.
- Have consistency in the portions of carbohydrates eaten at meal times.
- Eat a wide variety of foods.
- Include physical activity, with your physician’s approval.
Carbohydrate counting (or “carb counting”) helps manage blood sugar levels by controlling the amount of carbs that you eat. By counting how many servings of carbohydrates that you have at each meal and controlling the amount that you eat, you can keep your blood glucose levels in your target range. Carbohydrate counting is a flexible way to allow you a variety of foods.
Examples of foods that contain carbohydrates:
- Bread, crackers, and cereals
- Pasta, rice, and grains.
- Beans and Legumes
- Milk, soy milk, and yogurt
- Starchy vegetables, such as potatoes, corn and peas
- Fruits and fruit juices
- Sweets, such as cakes, cookies, ice cream, jams and jelly
One serving of carbohydrates is a portion of food that contains 15 grams of carbohydrates, about the size of a slice of bread or a medium sized apple. Typically, diabetics should aim for 3 to 4 servings per meal and 1 to 2 servings of carbohydrates at each snack. For the average person the total amount of carbohydrates would range between 12 to 16 servings daily. A 1,500 calorie plan would include about 12 daily servings of carbohydrates. On the 2,000 calorie meal plan 16 servings daily of carbohydrates is average. Reading food labels and getting familiar with portion sizes is key. You can go to the American Diabetes Association for more information at www.diabetes.org
Erika Watson-Lawson is a registered dietitian with Memorial Hospital.