Carbohydrates provide your body with a major source of fuel. But, if you have diabetes, your body has trouble metabolizing the glucose it gets from the carbohydrate-containing foods you eat. If you have diabetes, you need to make healthy food choices to help manage your condition. This typically involves monitoring your food portions, choosing highly nutritious items, and avoiding or limiting foods high in added sugar. Talk to your doctor about individualized fat, sodium and carbohydrate goals.
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Whole grain foods are high in fiber and a nutritious part of a diabetes meal plan. Add a variety of whole grain foods to your weekly grocery list and make them staples in your diet. The best whole grain choices include brown rice, quinoa, wild rice, buckwheat, whole grain barley, oatmeal, whole rye bread, and foods made with whole-wheat flour. Incorporate these foods into your diet in the appropriate portion sizes. For example, one slice of whole wheat bread contains 15 carbohydrates.
Non-Starchy Vegetables, Beans and Fruit
As a diabetic, you're encouraged to eat a variety of fruits, non-starchy vegetables and beans. Fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables at meals. Add fresh, frozen and canned vegetables without added salt to your shopping list. One-half-cup of cooked vegetables or 1 cup of raw vegetables is considered a serving, according to the American Diabetes Association. Add non-starchy vegetables such as asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, eggplant, leeks, onions, mushrooms, squash and leafy greens. You can eat all fruit regardless of type, but be mindful of your portions. A small piece of whole fruit or one-half cup contains about 15 grams of carbohydrates.
Meat, Fish, Dairy and Oils
Choose a variety of fresh and frozen meat, fish and poultry. Examples include chicken breast, 93 percent lean ground beef, 80 percent lean ground turkey, tuna, salmon, halibut and pork tenderloin. Add dairy foods to your list and choose low fat options. Good items to add to the list include 1 percent milk, fat-free cottage cheese, reduced-fat yogurt, fat-free cream cheese, low-fat sour cream and cheese made from 2 percent milk. Add healthy nut and seed oils such as olive, walnut, safflower, sunflower and flaxseed, to your grocery list.
Beverages and Sweets
Many beverages are high in sugar, so show careful consideration in this area. Add beverages such as unsweetened tea and drinks made with sugar alternatives such as stevia to your list. When it comes to sweets, add low-sugar alternatives to your favorite foods. For example, choose sugar-free popsicles, sugar-free jello and sugar-free pudding. Several manufacturers make diabetes friendly sweets, but this doesn't mean you can have a free-for-all. It's wise to monitor your food portions to maintain a balanced meal plan.