Diabetic Diet - Meat and Protein

Describe how you add meat and other proteins into your diet to manage diabetes.

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Meat and Meat Substitutes

The meat and meat substitutes group includes meat, poultry, eggs, cheese, fish, and tofu. Eat small amounts of some of these foods each day.

Meat and meat substitutes provide protein, vitamins, and minerals.

The Food Pyramid, with the meat and meat substitutes section enlarged to show drawings of meat, chicken, fish, eggs, tofu, cheese and peanut butter.

Examples of meat and meat substitutes include

chicken eggs cheese
beef peanut butter pork
fish tofu lamb
canned tuna or other fish cottage cheese turkey

How much is a serving of meat or meat substitute?

Meat and meat substitutes are measured in ounces. Here are examples

Examples of 1 serving of meat or meat substitute: 2 to 3 ounces of cooked lean meat, chicken, or fish or 1 egg or 4 ounces of tofu or 2 tablespoons of peanut butter.

*Three ounces of meat (after cooking) is about the size of a deck of cards.

Print out this chart. Then fill in the blanks with how many servings of meat and meat substitutes to have at meals and snacks.

1. How many servings of meat or meat substitutes do you now eat each day?
I eat _____ servings of meat or meat substitutes each day.

2. Go back to "How much should I eat each day" to check how many ounces of meat and meat substitutes to have each day.
I will eat _____ servings of meat or meat substitutes each day.

3. I will eat this many servings of meat or meat substitutes at

Breakfast______ Snack ______
Lunch______ Snack ______
Dinner______ Snack ______
A diabetes teacher can help you with your meal plan.

What are healthy ways to eat meat or meat substitutes?

  • Buy cuts of beef, pork, ham, and lamb that have only a little fat on them. Trim off extra fat.
  • Eat chicken or turkey without the skin.
  • Cook meat or meat substitutes in low-fat ways:
    • broil
    • grill
    • stir-fry
    • roast
    • steam
    • microwave
  • To add more flavor, use vinegars, lemon juice, soy sauce, BBQ sauce, herbs and spices.
  • Cook eggs with cooking spray or a non-stick pan.
  • Limit the amounts of nuts, peanut butter, and fried foods you eat. They are high in fat.
  • Check food labels. Choose low-fat or fat-free cheese
Return to Diabetic Diet

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