Nearly 26 million people in the U.S. have diabetes, according to the National Diabetes Education Program. The condition, characterized by high levels of blood glucose and insulin production problems, can sometimes be managed by losing weight. The American Diabetes Association recommends losing 0.5 to 1 pound a week by following a healthy diet of 1,000 to 1,200 calories a day for women and 1,200 to 1,600 calories a day for men.
Diabetes Diet Basics
A diabetes patient should consult a registered dietitian to determine the best nutritional plan for weight loss. However, a healthy weight-loss plan breaks down to about 45 percent to 65 percent of total calories from carbohydrates that are high in fiber. Your carb intake should be monitored through carbohydrate counting or the use of meal planning exchange lists. The remainder of the diet comes from 25 percent to 35 percent of fat -- mostly monounsaturated and polyunsaturated -- and 12 percent to 20 percent from lean proteins. Those attempting to lose weight must be patient and realistic. A review of studies published in 2007 in "Diabetes Spectrum" concluded that no specific types of diets, such as Atkins or Weight Watchers, will help a diabetes patient lose weight -- but what will is adherence to the chosen method of weight loss.
Healthy Breakfast Ideas
Breakfast is a good time to get in good bit of the fiber recommended for diabetes patients. A fiber-rich diet can also help with weight loss, according to a study published in 2005 in "Nutrition." The American Diabetes Association suggests a breakfast of an egg topped with salsa and reduced-fat cheese, paired with whole grain toast and a small piece of fruit. Another breakfast on your meal plan could be whole grain cereal with a half-cup of low-fat milk topped with fresh berries. However, if this ends up too high for your carbohydrate count, the ADA recommends using unsweetened almond or soy milk, both of which are lower in carbs and calories than cow's milk.
Whether you're eating at home, at school or at work, an easy salad or sandwich can keep you satisfied without packing on too many calories. Registered dietitian Linda Rondinelli recommends a lunch containing around 45 grams of carbs, which could consist of a whole wheat pasta salad with chickpeas and veggies paired with a small piece of fresh fruit or a turkey or ham sandwich on whole wheat bread with a side of fruit, raw vegetables and low-fat dip. Add a source of low-fat or non-fat dairy, such as yogurt or cottage cheese, to your meal plan, suggests the University of Maryland Medical Center, as it could help with insulin resistance and weight loss.
For a healthy dinner, follow the ADA's guidelines on creating your plate -- fill one half of the dinner plate with non-starchy vegetables, such as greens, broccoli or mushrooms. Divide the remaining section in half again and fill a quarter of the plate with grains or starchy vegetables such as whole grain pasta or rice, beans or potatoes. In the final quarter, add lean protein such as chicken breast or turkey. With this flexibility, you can mix and match to create a wide variety of dishes within your caloric limits.The UMMC says that fish is the best source of protein, as it lowers risk of heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure.