Maintaining a healthy, balanced diet is crucial for anyone who is dealing with diabetes. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has a website dedicated to helping you build your ideal plate, also known as the plate method or a diabetic plate.
What is the plate method?
The Diabetic Plate Method’s main function is helping you control your portion sizes. In addition to controlling your portions, it also helps you hit all of the food groups necessary to stay healthy. It is essential for anyone dealing with diabetes to monitor their carbohydrates since they affect blood sugar levels. The Plate Method focuses on eating vegetables that are non-starchy to keep carb intake low.
While the Plate Method is aimed towards people with diabetes, anyone can use it to meet their specific health goals such as losing weight, blood sugar management, and maintaining balanced nutrition levels.
The plate method has a formula to follow in order to build a full, healthy meal. The formula is the following:
- Half a plate of non-starchy vegetables
- A fourth of the plate with lean meat
- A fourth of the plate with whole grain or starchy vegetable
- Add a serving of fruit or dairy, if the carb count is low enough
For non-starchy vegetables you have options such as broccoli, carrots, peppers, cauliflower, tomatoes, mushrooms, and more. Your options when picking a starchy vegetables or whole grain foods are green peas, sweet potatoes, brown rice, and whole wheat bread. When including a lean protein, you should consider foods like turkey, chicken, eggs, fish, or tofu. If you are able to add some fruit or dairy to your meal, you should consider foods like apples and nonfat yogurts.
When working on having a balanced diet, you should also focus on including healthy fats. Including small amounts of healthy fats such as avocados, nuts, and seeds can help balance your diet.
If you are concerned about your diet and what is right for you, talk to your doctor or nutritionist.