Diabetes meal planning starts with eating a well-balanced diet that includes carbohydrates (carbs), protein, and fat.\nCarbs are found in starches, fruit, vegetables, milk, yogurt, and sweets. They turn into sugar (glucose) in the body. The body needs carbs for energy. Therefore, it’s important to eat,\nEating too many carbs can raise blood glucose levels too high, but it’s important not to cut out these foods completely. Eating too few carbs may cause your blood glucose to go too low. Therefore, it’s important to eat.\nA moderate amount of carbs at each meal, combined with a balanced intake of protein and fat, helps\u00a0your blood glucose stay in a healthy range.\nThe number of servings for people with diabetes is:\n\nWomen with diabetes should have about three to four carb choices per meal.\nMen with diabetes should have about four to five carb choices per meal.\nBoth men and women can have one to two carb choices for an evening snack.\n\nUse these Eat Smart: Picture Your Plate guidelines for healthy meal planning and portion control.\nHealthy Eating Tips for People with Diabetes\n\nEat three well-balanced meals a day and a small snack at night. Each meal should contain both carbs and protein. When planning meals, select a variety of foods from each food group and watch your portion sizes.\nDo not skip meals. It’s best to space meals four to five\u00a0hours apart.\nIncrease your fiber intake. Choose whole grain breads and cereals. Eat plenty of vegetables and choose whole fruits instead of fruit juices. When you look at food labels, look for products that contain at least three grams of fiber per serving.\nReduce fat intake by baking, broiling, and grilling your low-fat foods.\nStay active. Your blood glucose level will improve if you keep active. Check with your doctor before starting an exercise or walking program.\nLose weight. If you’re overweight, losing weight gradually \u2014 even a small amount (five to 10 pounds) \u2014 can help improve your blood glucose level.\nCheck with your doctor or dietitian about alcohol intake if you’re taking medicine for your diabetes.\nRead “Nutrition Facts” labels. Sugar-free products may still contain carbs.\n\nLimit your intake and portion sizes of these high-sugar foods to two or three times a week or less:\n\nCakes, pies, and cookies\nCandy\nJelly, jam, and preserves\nRegular ice cream, sherbet, regular and frozen yogurt, fruit ices, and popsicles\nSugar coated cereals, granola, breakfast or snack bars\nDried fruit, fruit roll-ups, candied fruit\nIced sweet breads, coffee cakes, breakfast rolls, and donuts\n\nAvoid the following:\n\nTable sugar, honey, molasses, and syrup\nRegular soft drinks, fruit drinks (canned or concentrated), and drink mixes with sugar added\nMilkshakes, chocolate milk, and hot cocoa mix\nCanned fruits with heavy syrup\n\nDiabetes Meal Plan: Foods to Choose\nStarches\nOne serving = 15 grams of carbs.\n\n\n\nFoods to choose\nServings\n\n\n\n\nWhole-grain breads, rolls, muffins, or bagels\nWhole-wheat pasta, brown rice, noodles\nOatmeal and bran cereals\nStarchy vegetables (peas, corn, Lima beans, and potatoes)\nDried beans (kidney beans, lentils, baked beans)\nSoup (broth and cream style)\nPopcorn, pretzels, graham crackers, and vanilla wafers\n\n\n\n\n1 slice of bread\n1 small roll or muffin\n1\/2 bun\n1\/2 small bagel or English muffin\n1\/3 cup of cooked pasta, rice, or baked beans\n1\/2 cup hot or ready-to-eat cereal\n1\/2 cup starchy vegetables\n4 large or 6 small crackers\n1 cup of soup\n3 cups of popcorn\n3 graham cracker squares\n3\/4 cup unsweetened, dry cereal\n3 cups light or low-fat popcorn\n\n\n\n\n\nFruits\nOne serving = 15 grams of carbs.\n\n\n\nFoods to choose\nServings\n\n\n\n\nFresh fruit\nUnsweetened fruit juice\nCanned fruit in natural juice or water\n\n\n\n\n1\/2 cup water-packed fruit\n1\/2 medium banana\n1 small piece of fruit (size of a tennis ball)\n1\/2 cup of fruit juice\n1 cup fresh fruit\n\n\n\n\n\nVegetables (non-starchy)\nOne serving = 5 grams of carbs. Eat a minimum of two to three\u00a0servings per day.\n\n\n\nFoods to choose\nServings\n\n\n\n\nAny cooked or raw non-starchy vegetables\n\n\n\n\n1\/2 cup cooked vegetables\n1 cup raw vegetables\n\n\n\n\n\nMilk and dairy\nOne serving = 12 grams of carbs.\n\n\n\nFoods to choose\nServings\n\n\n\n\nFat-free or 1 percent milk\nLow-fat buttermilk\nLactose-reduced or lactose-free milk\nPlain soy milk\nLight yogurt\n\n\n\n\n1 cup milk\n6 ounces light yogurt\n\n\n\n\n\nSweets, desserts, and other carbs\nOne serving = 15 grams of carbs.\n\n\n\nFoods to choose\nServings\n\n\n\n\nSugar-free pudding, custard, low fat ice cream, or sherbet\nSmall cookies\nFrozen juice bar\nGingersnaps or small sugar-free cookies\n\n\n\n\n1\/2 cup sugar free dessert\n2 to 3 small cookies\n2-inch square piece of cake\n1\/8 of 9-inch pie\n1\/2 to 1 small ice cream bar\n\n\n\n\n\nProtein, Fats, and Other Foods for Diabetics\nProtein: meat and meat substitutes\nOne serving = 0 grams of carbs.\nRecommended number of servings:\n\nBreakfast = 0 to one serving (1 ounce)\nLunch and dinner = three servings (3 ounces) for women and four servings (4 ounces) for men. Three ounces of meat is roughly equal to the size of a deck of cards\n\n\n\n\nFoods to choose\nServings\n\n\n\n\nLean meat, skinless poultry, fish\nEggs, egg substitutes\nLow-fat cheese, cottage cheese\nPeanut butter\nTofu\nDried beans\n\n\n\n\n1 ounce of lean meat\n1 egg\n1\/4 cup tuna fish or cottage cheese\n1 slice of cheese\n1 tablespoon of peanut butter\n\n\n\n\n\nFats\nOne serving = 0 grams of carbs. Eat one to two servings per meal.\n\n\n\nFoods to choose\nServings\n\n\n\n\nMargarine\nCanola or olive oil\nLight mayonnaise\nReduced-fat salad dressing\nReduced-fat cream cheese and sour cream\nPeanuts, almonds, walnuts, pecans\n\n\n\n\n1 teaspoon oil, margarine, butter, or mayonnaise\n2 teaspoons gravy\n1 tablespoon light mayo or margarine\n2 tablespoons reduced-fat dressing\n6 to 10 nuts\n\n\n\n\n\nOther food and drink choices for a diabetes meal plan\nEat three servings per day.\n\n\n\nUnlimited foods and drinks\nLimited foods: 1 piece or 1 tablespoon\n\n\n\n\nSugar-free popsicles\nSugar-free Jell-O\u00ae\nDiet soda, diet club soda\nSugar-free drink mixes\nRegular or decaf coffee and tea\nArtificial sweeteners\n\n\n\n\nSugar-free hard candy and gum\nLow-sugar jelly\nLight syrup\nWhipped topping\nFat-free cream cheese\n1 cup raw vegetables\n\n\n\n\n\nSample Menu for a Diabetes Diet\n\n\n\nBreakfast\n\n\n1\/2 medium banana = 1 carb\n1\/2 cup cooked oatmeal = 1 carb\n1 slice whole-wheat toast = 1 carb\n1 scrambled egg or egg substitute = 1 protein\n1 teaspoon margarine = 1 fat, and sugar-free jelly\n1 cup milk (skim or 1 percent) = 1 carb\nCoffee or tea\nArtificial sweetener\n\n\n\n\nLunch\n\n\nTurkey sandwich: 2 slices whole wheat bread = 2 carbs. 3 ounces of turkey = 3 proteins Lettuce and tomato = free vegetables\n1 tablespoon light mayonnaise = 1 fat\n1\/2 cup sugar-free pudding = 1 carb\n1 apple = 1 carb\nUnsweetened iced tea with lemon\nArtificial sweetener\n\n\n\n\nDinner\n\n\n3 ounces of sliced roast beef = 3 proteins\n1 cup whipped potatoes = 2 carbs\n1 teaspoon margarine = 1 fat\n1\/2 cup corn = 1 carb\n1\/2 cup broccoli = free vegetable\nTossed salad = free vegetable. 2 tablespoons reduced-fat salad dressing = 1 fat\n1\/2 cup peaches packed in own juices = 1 carb\nCoffee or tea\nArtificial sweetener\n\n\n\n\nSnack\n\n\n6 ounces of light yogurt = 1 carb\n\n\n\n\n\nMore Diabetes Resources\n\nFind diabetes support resources and classes near you at the UPMC Diabetes Education and Support Center. You can also learn about diabetes treatment or make an appointment at the\nUPMC Department of Endocrinology.