How portion control can help you manage diabetes

Changing your diet after a diabetes diagnosis isn't just about cutting down on sugar or carbohydrates.

Just as important as what you're eating is how much of it you're consuming. Proper portion control of the three main macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates and fats) is imperative for good blood sugar control.

So how do you make sure you're getting the correct portion sizes? Use these simple guidelines to ensure your plate has the proper amount of the right foods.

Three: The Magic Number

Using a standard-size dinner plate, draw an imaginary line down the center of it. Then divide one section in half – these represent the three areas to fill on your plate.

The largest section should include vegetables, but not just any kind. Diabetics should aim for non-starchy vegetables that won't raise blood sugar quickly. Opt for all types of greens (spinach, kale, chard, cabbage, romaine); cruciferous veggies like broccoli and cauliflower; mushrooms, peppers, and
cucumbers.

One of the smaller sections can be filled with grains or starchy foods, but make sure you choose these foods carefully. When it comes to breads or pasta, opt for whole grain or "brown" versions (brown rice, sprouted wheat), and look for products that contain no added sugars. Other starches appropriate for this section are beans, peas, potatoes, corn or squash. This category can also include snacks like crackers, pretzels or popcorn.

The third section – and perhaps the most important – is the protein section. Protein is what will help keep you full and prevent blood sugar highs and lows. Opt for lean proteins like chicken and turkey (without skin) or fish like tuna, salmon or cod. If you want red meat, choose lean cuts of beef and pork. This category also includes things like eggs, tofu or tempeh.

Learning Proper Portions

Since your eyes are often bigger than your stomach, it's important to also learn proper serving sizes for standard foods. For example, a typical serving size of fish is about the size of your palm, and a serving of grains should be about the size of a CD. For more helpful tricks you can memorize, reference this guide from Shape magazine.

Source: American Diabetes Association

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