Creating a Diabetic Meal Plan

Carbohydrate Counting

Carbohydrate counting is a meal planning method. This method is based on how many grams of carbohydrate you eat at each meal. It focuses on foods that increase blood sugar the most. This allows you to be flexible and enjoy carbohydrates at each meal. The total number of carbohydrates eaten at each meal is based on your activity level. It is also based on your height, and current weight.

Follow these steps to carbohydrate counting:

1) Identify foods that have carbohydrates

• Know how much is a carbohydrate serving (see below)
• One serving or choice = 15 grams of carbohydrate
• Some examples of a carbohydrate serving or choice:

• 1 slice of bread (1 ounce)
• 1/3 cup pasta
• 1 small piece of fruit
• 1 cup milk

2) Decide the amount of servings you will eat each day
3) Spread your carbohydrates servings during the entire day
4) Check your blood glucose 1 to 2 hours after you eat

• If your blood sugar is greater than 180 mg/dL, you may need to adjust your carbohydrate intake at that meal

Most people have at least 10 servings of carbohydrates each day (150 grams). At some meals you may have 2 servings; at others you may have 4. A dietitian or Certified Diabetes Educator can help you determine how many carbohydrate grams are right for you.

If you have diabetes and take diabetes pills or insulin, you must keep the right balance between the food and the pills or insulin. You should understand how long your pills or insulin will work to lower blood glucose levels. Also know at what point your medicine will be working the hardest, this will help you plan when to eat.

Note: Vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, green leafy vegetables, asparagus, mushrooms, and onions are low carbohydrate foods. Enjoy plenty with each meal. If cooked, ½ cup = 5 grams of carbohydrate. If eaten raw, 1 cup = 5 grams of carbohydrate

Portion Control

Consuming the proper portions of food is as important as taking the proper dose of medication or insulin. If the portions are too large, your blood glucose level may increase. It may also cause weight gain if too many calories are consumed. If portions are too small, you may not have the proper balance between foods, medication or insulin and your blood glucose level may decrease.

The suggestions below may be helpful in measuring food portions:

The Portion Plate
• Baseball – a serving (1 cup) of vegetables or fruit
• Deck of Cards – a serving of meat, fish or poultry
• Computer Mouse – about the size of a medium baked potatoCompact
• Disc – about the size of one pancake serving
• Cassette Tape – one slice of bread


The Snack Plate
• Golf Ball – a serving (1/4) of dried fruits or nuts
• Tennis Ball – a serving (1/2) cup of ice cream
• Six Dice – a serving of cheese
• Teaspoon – a serving (one teaspoon) of peanut butter