How to Eat a Balanced Diet
It is important to eat a varied and well-balanced diet, especially when you are trying to lose weight to manage your diabetes. Cutting calories should not lead to cutting nutrition.
Exchange Lists for Diabetes: Choose Your Foods
In the exchange system, foods with a similar amount of carbohydrate, protein and fat per serving size are grouped together. The foods within each list can be "exchanged" for one another during meal planning and end up with about the same amount of calories and nutrients.
Caribbean Food Groups
Of course, we don’t think of food as purely protein, purely fat or purely carbohydrate. Different foods are usually a mix of all three. To deal with this, we put food into six major exchange food groups based on each food’s main content:
• Foods from animals
• Fats and Oils
The chart below shows you the amount of calories and nutrients in one serving from each exchange food group:
|Food List||Carbohydrate (grams)||Protein (grams)||Fat (grams)||Calories|
|Fat-free, low-fat, 1%||12||8||0-3||100|
|Foods from Animals|
|Fats & Oils|
It is important to eat foods from all six lists. The exchange system is designed to help you eat a balanced diet with the right amounts of carbohydrate, protein and fat. No category of food is off limits.
When learning to use the exchange system for the first time, follow these helpful steps: <br> • Think about your usual foods and food preferences, and locate where each food falls on the exchange list. <br> • Familiarize yourself with the specific serving sizes listed for each food item that equal one exchange. <br> • Learn the number of exchanges you need from each food list to plan your daily meals and snacks.
Meal Planning Tips
The menu-planning table below can be used to stay within a specific calorie goal.
How to use this table
Choose your daily calorie allowance from the first column on the left. Then look across the table to see how many starch, fruit, milk, vegetable, meat and protein, and fat exchanges you can have. These are the total portions or exchanges for the entire day – and should be divided up between the different meals and snacks.
Sample Exchange Daily Meal Plans
|Calories||Staples (portions)||Fruit (portions)||Milk (portions*)||Vegetable (portions)||Food from Animals (portions)||Fat (portions)|
* Based on non-fat milk (Food from Animals), 50% selections from lean meat list, and 50% selections from medium fat meat list.
It may seem overwhelming at first – but like any new skill, with practice it becomes second nature.
What are the 3 primary sources of nutrients in a balanced diet?
• Carbohydrate, protein and fat
• Carbohydrate, protein and alcohol
• Fat, protein and leafy vegetables
Carbohydrate, protein and fat are the 3 primary sources of nutrition in a balanced diet. While alcohol has calories, it is not one of the 3 main sources of nutrition in the diet. Leafy vegetables also have some carbohydrates, but they do not supply all of your daily carbohydrate requirements.
How much carbohydrate should you eat each day?
• 10% of your daily calories
• 45-65% of your daily calories
• 90% of your daily calories
About half (45-65%) of your daily calories should come from carbohydrates. This is the case whether you have diabetes or not. The exact amount of carbohydrates you need each day depends on your calorie goals, activity level and personal preferences.
What nutrient has the greatest effect on your blood sugar?
During digestion, carbohydrates break down in your body to single units of sugar, called glucose, affecting your blood glucose level. Fat does not break down to glucose, and neither does protein.
Carbohydrates are found in which foods?
• Starch, fruit and milk
• Cheese, steak and chicken
• Olive oil, butter and fish
Starch, fruit and milk all contain carbohydrate. Cheese, steak, chicken, and fish are all types of protein, whereas olive oil and butter are types of fat.