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Insulin-Dependent Diabetes Diet Plan

author image Bonnie Cleven
Located in Green Bally, Wisc., Registered Dietitian Bonnie Cleven is a nutrition columnist and also a wellness dietitian providing nutrition counseling to members. Cleven graduated from the University of WI-Green Bay with a Bachelor of Science and also completed a dietetic internship with the Iowa State University.
Insulin-Dependent Diabetes Diet Plan
Insulin-dependent diabetics manage their diabetes with diet, exercise and insulin. Photo Credit BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images

Diabetes occurs when the body is unable to produce any insulin or unable to properly use it. When children and young adults have Type 1 diabetes, without an external form of insulin their glucose cannot get into the cells to use for energy. Type 2 and gestational diabetics cannot properly use the insulin their bodies produce. Diabetic treatment includes coordination of diet, exercise and insulin or medications.

Insulin-Dependent Diabetic Assessment

A registered dietitian can establish a healthy meal plan to meet your estimated caloric needs for your age, gender, weight and activity level to coordinate with physician recommendations of insulin or medications. Your plan should include a balance of carbohydrates, fat and protein to ensure proper nutrient intake and blood sugar regulation. This is very important for people with insulin-dependent Type 1 diabetes to prevent spikes in their blood sugar levels.

Carbohydrate Counting Meal Plan Basics

When a registered dietitian calculates your estimated caloric needs, she will also determine the amount of carbohydrate grams you should have at meals and snacks. Carbohydrate grams usually start within the ranges of 45 to 60 grams at meals and at least 15 grams at snacks. When the carbohydrate grams are evenly distributed at meals and snacks, it helps you keep your blood sugars under better control. It's a good idea to track your carbohydrate intake and blood sugar levels before and after you eat and exercise to help your physician and dietitian to evaluate whether your regimen needs to be changed.

How to Count Carbohydrates

Carbohydrate counting is completed with food groups of grains, cereals, starchy vegetables, fruits, fruit juices, milk, yogurt and combination foods. Each of the following countable measured servings contain approximately 15 grams of carbohydrates: 1 small piece of fresh fruit, ½ cup of canned or frozen fruit, one 1-ounce slice of bread, one 6-inch tortilla, ½ cup of oatmeal, 1/3 cup of pasta, ½ cup of rice, 6 saltine crackers, 1/2 of a English muffin, half of a hamburger bun, ½ cup of black beans, ½ cup of a starchy vegetables like corn or green peas and 1/4 of a large baked potato -- 3 ounces. Read nutrition labels to find the amounts of carbohydrate grams in the foods per serving. Select and consume the amount of carbohydrates grams you need to match your meal and snack plan. You do not need to count carbohydrate grams for nonstarchy vegetables, meats, poultry, fish and fats, but proper portions should be included in your diet.

Insulin-Dependent Diet to Improve Health for a Lifetime

The carbohydrate grams within a diabetic regimen should also include high-fiber options such as whole-grain breads and cereals, whole-wheat pasta, brown rice, and fresh fruits and vegetables. These foods contribute to a slower rise in blood sugar. Fruit juices cause quick rises in blood sugar and should be limited. A proper diet should also be low in saturated fats, processed foods and simple sugars and free of trans fats to prevent complications of strokes, heart disease, nerve damage, kidney disease, vision impairments and some cancers.

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