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Diabetic Diet Menu Ideas

Updated on March 10, 2012
Crab meat with sugar snap peas and red new potatoes
Crab meat with sugar snap peas and red new potatoes

Following the diabetic diet can quickly become boring. People who are on a special diet tend to find a few foods that fit the restrictions of the diet and eat them over and over and over again. With some simple diabetic diet menu ideas, this special diet does not have to be boring. In fact, the guidelines of the eating plan can be used to generate new diabetic diet menu ideas.

With diabetic diets, the doctor or dietician gives the patient guidelines for what types of foods to eat with each meal and snack. These diabetic food guidelines may be written as servings for each food group. For example, the guidelines for a snack might be written as one serving of protein and one serving of bread. The diabetic patient can use any combination of proteins and breads to meet the requirements for that snack.

Even though the numerous possible combinations can provide excellent variety in the diet, many people get used to using only a few different foods to fit the guidelines for the meals or snacks. Instead of looking for a new diabetic diet menu idea, they rely on certain foods. This can be problematic for two reasons. Eating the same foods can be dangerous, because the person is getting only the nutrients that food contains. Secondly, a person following a special diet who eats the same foods can become bored and frustrated with the diet and be tempted to cheat.

People can feel a bit overwhelmed to try to find recipes that fit the guidelines of their diet. However, I suggest simplifying the meals to create new diabetic diet meal ideas. Don't confuse "simple" with bland or boring. With my method for creating meal ideas, the new combinations can be enjoyable without being intimidating.

This is not a recommendation to alter or ignore the guidelines as dictated by the doctor or dietician. Creating new menu ideas should be done with those guidelines. Here is a process to help the person with diabetes to generate new ideas.

1. Start with the protein.

If the diabetic patients decide which protein they would like to have, the foods from the other food groups are usually easier to choose. However, people shouldn't be afraid to select a food for which they have a craving. If they are hungry for pasta, select a pasta as the bread first.

2. Consult the food exchange lists to get different ideas for proteins and the other food groups.

Consider trying new food combinations. If the person wants a chicken breast for the protein and would usually have mashed potatoes with it, why not try a chicken with a steamed vegetable and small red potatoes instead? Often, the person can select a protein, vegetable, and starchy vegetable, rice, or pasta and combine them with added seasoning or a touch of lemon juice for something fresh and new.

3. Try to eat fresh fruit and vegetables in season.

Eating fresh foods that are in season provide an opportunity to have the best quality of food and new food choices for the menu ideas. Fresh vegetables are a great way to avoid the sodium commonly contained in canned foods.

4. Skip the fat and salt.

Use fresh herbs, seasonings, lemon juice, or vinegar to bring out the flavors of the food. Avoid frying food in fat. An otherwise healthy food choice can become laden with fat by frying the foods. I recently saw a recipe for a "low-calorie meal" that was gorgeous, but it had 14 grams of fat! Almost all that fat was from oil. Why do that to your food? Steaming, broiling, or baking are excellent alternatives for many types of food.

5. Check serving sizes.

Even if the person with diabetes is used to cooking the appropriate serving sizes, it often is recommended to periodically check to make sure the correct serving sizes are being used.

I hope you have found my suggestions helpful. Please visit Diabetic Diet for more information about diets for diabetes.


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    • Mala Srivastava profile image

      Mala Srivastava 5 years ago from India

      Thanks for sharing information.