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Meal Planning Tips

A meal plan tells you how many carbohydrate servings to eat at your meals and snacks.

  • Men should eat 2-5 carbohydrate servings at each meal (30-75 grams)
  • Women should eat 2-4 carbohydrate servings at each meal (30-60 grams)
  • Snacks should be limited to 1-2 carbohydrate servings (15-30 grams)

Some Helpful Tips:

  • Check your blood glucose level regularly. It can tell you if you need to adjust the amount of carbohydrates you are eating, or the timing of when you eat carbohydrates.
  • Space carbohydrate containing meals at least 3 hours apart.
  • Eat foods that have fiber, such as whole grains, legumes, and fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Limit your intake of sodium, including limiting salty snacks.
  • Choose low-fat sources of protein, such as lean beef, lean pork, chicken, fish, low-fat cheese, or vegetarian foods like soy.
  • Eat some healthy fats, such as olive oil, canola oil, and nuts.
  • Limit intake of saturated fat. These unhealthy fats are found in butter, cream, and high-fat meats, such as bacon and sausage.
  • Eat very little or no trans fats. These unhealthy fats are found in all foods that list “partially hydrogenated” oil as an ingredient.

Why Is Carbohydrate Counting Important?

  • Counting carbohydrate servings may help you to control your blood glucose level so that you feel better.
  • Carbohydrates make your blood sugar levels rise, and should be eaten in the correct amount. They should also be spaced out throughout the day.
  • The balance between the carbohydrates you eat and insulin determines what your blood glucose level will be after eating.
  • Carbohydrate counting can also help you plan your meals.

Which Foods Have Carbohydrates?

  • A carbohydrate is anything ‘starchy’ or ‘sugary.’ These foods should be monitored throughout the day. Foods with carbohydrates include:
  • Breads, crackers, and cereals.
  • Pasta, rice, and grains.
  • Starchy vegetables, such as potatoes, squash, corn, and peas.
  • Beans and legumes.
  • Milk, soy milk, and yogurt.
  • Fruits and fruit juices.
  • Sweets, such as cakes, cookies, ice cream, jam, and jelly.

Source: American Dietetic Association, eatright.org