What can I do?
Eating right for diabetes
When you have diabetes, you may wonder what ‘eating right’ means for you – what food choices should you make? The good news is, there is no such thing as a special ‘diabetic diet’.1 It is recommended you eat the same healthy foods recommended for people without diabetes – just with a little more planning and care.1 Keep reading to learn more.
A healthy diet is one that is packed with fresh fruits and vegetables, includes lots of fibre, low glycaemic index (GI) carbohydrates (such as wholegrain breads, cereals, beans, lentils and other legumes), low-fat dairy products and lean proteins such as lean red meat, skinless chicken and fish. Think a rainbow of fresh foods!
Diabetes Australia recommends people with diabetes follow the Australian Dietary Guidelines.2 Download an easy-to-follow summary of the dietary guidelines, including tips on choosing healthy foods.
How much should I be eating?
Portion control is crucial in managing diabetes. Even when planning and preparing a healthy meal, it is important to consider portion size of different foods.
- About ¼ of your plate should be filled with low GI carbohydrates – grain or a starchy food such as a low-GI basmati rice, wholegrain pasta or corn.
- ¼ of your plate should be filled with lean protein including lean red meat, fish, skinless chicken or tofu.
- The last ½ of your plate should be filled with raw/cooked vegetables or salad like broccoli, carrots, salad, and/or beans.
A quick way to help visualise portion sizes is by dividing your plate into three sections and filling it as shown below.3
Tips for eating right with diabetes:2
- Eat regular meals and spread them evenly throughout the day – this helps manage your blood glucose levels.
- If you take insulin or other diabetes medication, you may need to have snacks between meals.
- Watch your snacks – choose healthy snack options.
- Try to include the whole family in enjoying the same healthy meals together – there will be no need to prepare separate meals.
- A dietitian can help you put together an individualised diet plan that works for you.
- Diabetes Australia. Eating Well. Available at: https://www.diabetesaustralia.com.au/eating-well. Accessed 28 October 2018.
- Diabetes Australia. What should I eat? https://www.diabetesaustralia.com.au/what-should-i-eat. Accessed 28 October 2018.
- Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute. Plating it up: the portion guide. Available at: https://www.baker.edu.au/health-hub/fact-sheets/the-portion-guide. Accessed 5 March 2019