Expert Nutrition Guidance for Anyone Affected by Diabetes

Expert Nutrition Guidance for anyone Affected by Diabetes

Written by Susan Weiner, MS, RDN, CDN, CDCES ,FADCES  

Whether you have diabetes yourself or are making decisions about menus, grocery shopping or dining options for someone living with diabetes, thinking about nutrition is part of your daily life. Fortunately, nutrition doesn’t need to be (and in fact, shouldn’t be) a matter of diets, fads, or cure-alls: instead, eating well and being mindful of how nutrition and diabetes relate to one another can be sources of joy, confidence and empowerment. We’ve assembled a set of the most crucial resources and tips from our diabetes and nutrition experts to help you develop your own approach to diabetes nutrition and meal planning.  

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Quick Meal Essentials for People with Diabetes

Whether you eat at home, work or school, it’s possible to satisfy your taste buds and manage your blood glucose levels. We will provide you with simple meal planning ideas, ingredient suggestions (including carb-free spices and seasonings) and kitchen organization tips so you can plan scrumptious and satisfying meals for the entire family. Our food and nutrition experts are all about reducing food waste, so our tips include how to properly store your produce so it doesn’t spoil or lose flavor before you are ready to eat it. Pro-tip example:  fruits and veggies should not be cleaned until you are ready to eat them. Wash tough-skinned produce such as melons, avocado and squash before cutting them.  

Access more tips and expert advice on our Quick Meal Essentials Page.

Cooking for Kids with Diabetes

Meal time can be stressful for children living with diabetes, as well as for parents and family members. Proper nutrition is especially important for growing children, yet, sometimes it is difficult to deal with your child’s insulin management and food choices, especially if your youngster is a picker eater. We understand your frustration: that’s why we offer practical suggestions on how to incorporate adequate protein, vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients into your child’s meals and snacks. Our health and nutrition experts will share strategies on how-to lower meal-time stress, including tips on how to make meals fun!  

In addition to supporting growth and development as well as blood glucose management, our health care experts will help you minimize meal-time distractions and offer ideas on how to engage your child in food shopping and cooking. As your child learns basic cooking skills, they will become engaged in their own self-care, and eventually see how different foods can affect blood glucose levels. Let’s work together to teach your child new kitchen skills (i.e. counting out ingredients, understanding portion sizes and carb counts or peeling vegetables). 

Make mealtimes happier and healthier for your family with our guide on What Should Children with Diabetes Eat

Meal Planning Methods

When you or your loved one was diagnosed with diabetes, chances are that you were bombarded with information about what to eat. You may have received unsolicited advice from a family member, friend or well-meaning acquaintance about the latest food and nutrition trend for people with diabetes. You may have sought out advice online about “what to eat when you have diabetes”, but encountered contradictory or seemingly far-fetched guidelines.  

The bottom line is that there is not a one-size-fits-all approach to eating for people with diabetes. Our targeted advice focuses on healthy food choices that address personal preferences, health goals and blood glucose management, while making room for the pleasure of eating. Our nutrition experts have summarized all of the relevant, research-backed information on meal planning with diabetes for you, including various meal plans. There is scientific evidence to support a variety of eating plans to help manage diabetes including low or very low carbohydrate, vegan or vegetarian or Mediterranean eating plans to name a few. 

Get meal plans and nutritionally-sound advice from experts on meal planning methods for people with diabetes.

Flexible Eating

Living with diabetes can become simpler with a combination of basic nutritional knowledge and a more mindful approach to eating. While nutrition is often rigidly approached as a strict set of rules, people with diabetes benefit from a more authentic, intuitive approach to eating, along with common sense nutrition guidance.  

For a more in-depth perspective on this balanced, flexible form of eating, explore our article on flexible eating and developing a healthy relationship with food.  

Carb Counting

Keeping track of carbohydrate intake can be an essential part of managing diabetes through mindful eating. Though “calorie counting” has been a part of restrictive or unhealthy dieting in the past for too many individuals, a healthy, well-informed approach to counting and tracking carbohydrates isn’t about cosmetic weight loss for people with diabetes: it’s about making sure your body’s systems continue operating properly and that insulin therapy and eating nutritious food are working together to keep you moving.  

For a thorough explanation of what scientific research says about carb counting as well as some useful charts, tables and guidelines to help you with carb counting, consult our carb counting guide