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Diabetes and your meal plan

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Healthy nutrition is a key component of your diabetes healthcare plan.  Healthy eating isn’t just for people with the condition.  In fact, the dietary guidelines recommended for people with diabetes are the same as those recommended for the healthy population. That means your family doesn’t need to prepare separate meals for you at home – they can simply adopt your healthy habits!

The 3 basic nutrition components that affect your blood glucose levels on a daily basis are:

  • The timing of your meals and snacks
    • Eating three regular meals per day offers the best way to control the size of your meals, as well as your blood glucose and energy levels. 
  • The quantity of foods and drinks you consume daily
    • The best way to learn about how many portions you need to consume of different foods and beverages on a daily basis, is to consult with a registered dietitian.  Contact the Association for Dietetics in South Africa (ADSA) for a registered dietitian in your area: www.adsa.org.za.
  • The types of foods and drinks you consume daily
    • The nutritional quality of the carbohydrates, proteins, fats and beverages you consume will impact you blood glucose control.  Make sure that most of your meals are balanced and made of foods and beverages of a high nutritional quality.  


Build balanced meals

You will be faced with all sorts of exciting and delicious foods over the festive season – take part and enjoy!  Use this guide to build your balanced meal regardless of which dinner party, office function, restaurant or buffet you are eating from, as it will help to manage your portion control, and your total intake of energy and carbohydrates. 

To build a balanced meal, choose one food from each of the following food groups to build your plate:

  • ¼ plate of high fibre carbohydrates (a serving is usually about the size of your fist, or half to one cup)
    • Examples – baby potatoes, sweet potato, brown or wild rice, quinoa, whole-wheat cous-cous, corn on the cob, whole-wheat pasta, samp and beans, pearl barley, Bulgur wheat
  • ¼ plate of lean proteins (a serving is usually about the size of your palm)
    • Examples – smoked, fresh or frozen fish (not battered or fried), tinned fish (oil drained), pickled fish, crab, oysters, mussels, shrimps, prawns, calamari (grilled not fried),  skinless chicken or turkey,  ostrich fillet, lean beef, lean pork, lean veal, extra lean minced meat, beans, peas, chick peas and lentils (cooked/canned, brine drained and rinsed)
  • ½  plate of salad or vegetables (try to have at least two handfuls of veggies or salad on your plate)
    • Examples – All fresh or frozen vegetables (served as raw salad, steamed, fast boiled, stir fried or roasted), tinned vegetables (brine drained)
    • You could also include a small serving of fruit, like one whole fresh fruit, ½ cup of fruit tinned in juice (not syrup) with excess juice drained or plain dried fruit in small quantities
  • Small amount of healthy fats (a serving is usually one teaspoon to one tablespoon)
    • Examples – avocado, raw unsalted nuts, peanut butter (no added sugar), nut butter, olive oil, olives, canola oil, soft tub ‘lite’ margarines, low oil dressings, low oil mayonnaise, sunflower, pumpkin and sesame seeds

For further information, please contact the Pick n Pay Health Hotline registered dietitian on 0800 11 22 88 or healthhotline@pnp.co.za or visit www.nutritionweek.co.za.  To find a registered dietitian in your area, visit the Association for Dietetics in South Africa (ADSA) website at www.adsa.org.za.

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