The Diabetes Diet

Quick GuideDiabetes Diet: Healthy Meal Plans for Diabetes-Friendly Eating

Diabetes Diet: Healthy Meal Plans for Diabetes-Friendly Eating

Diabetes and Measuring Your Food

To make sure your food servings are the right size, you can use

  • measuring cups
  • measuring spoons
  • a food scale

Also, the Nutrition Facts label on food packages tells you how much of that food is in one serving.

Weigh or measure foods to make sure you eat the right amounts.

These tips will help you choose the right serving sizes.

  • Measure a serving size of dry cereal or hot cereal, pasta, or rice and pour it into a bowl or plate. The next time you eat that food, use the same bowl or plate and fill it to the same level.
  • For one serving of milk, measure 1 cup and pour it into a glass. See how high it fills the glass. Always drink milk out of that size glass.
  • Meat weighs more before it's cooked. For example, 4 ounces of raw meat will weigh about 3 ounces after cooking. For meat with a bone, like a pork chop or chicken leg, cook 5 ounces raw to get 3 ounces cooked.
  • One serving of meat or meat substitute is about the size and thickness of the palm of your hand or a deck of cards.
  • A small fist is equal to about 1/2 cup of fruit, vegetables, or starches like rice.
  • A small fist is equal to 1 small piece of fresh fruit.
  • A thumb is equal to about 1 ounce of meat or cheese.
  • The tip of a thumb is equal to about 1 teaspoon.

When You Are Sick

Take care of yourself when you're sick. Being sick can make your blood glucose go too high. Tips on what to do include the following:

  • Check your blood glucose level every 4 hours. Write down the results.
  • Keep taking your diabetes medicines. You need them even if you can't keep food down.
  • Drink at least one cup (8 ounces) of water or other calorie-free, caffeine-free liquid every hour while you're awake.
  • If you can't eat your usual food, try drinking juice or eating crackers, popsicles, or soup.
  • If you can't eat at all, drink clear liquids such as ginger ale. Eat or drink something with sugar in it if you have trouble keeping food down, because you still need calories. If you can't eat enough, you increase your risk of low blood glucose, also called hypoglycemia.
  • In people with type 1 diabetes, when blood glucose is high, the body produces ketones. Ketones can make you sick. Test your urine or blood for ketones if
  • your blood glucose is above 240
  • you can't keep food or liquids down
  • Call your health care provider right away if
    • your blood glucose has been above 240 for longer than a day
    • you have ketones
    • you feel sleepier than usual
    • you have trouble breathing
    • you can't think clearly
    • you throw up more than once
    • you've had diarrhea for more than 6 hours
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/23/2016

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