Health News Articles

Diabetes Management: Building a Successful Meal Plan

May 6, 2013

Diabetes imageThe Diabetes Management Program at University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro (UMCPP) helps people with diabetes build meal plans based on their existing eating habits. That includes people with special diets, such as vegans and vegetarians, and those who eat traditional Asian, Latin American or regional American diets. 

“We’re not going to advise someone to completely change their diet when we know they love to eat certain things,” says Sandra Byer-Lubin, RD, CDE, a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator. “Instead, we take what a person eats now and gradually incorporate changes that can help keep their blood glucose levels under control.”   

In general, that means making changes that help keep blood glucose from spiking after meals. For example, choose lower-carbohydrate foods instead of those higher in carbs and add healthy proteins and fats to meals, Byer-Lubin says. Foods made from potatoes and processed corn and wheat, including breads and pasta, tend to be higher in carbohydrates, while green, leafy vegetables, broccoli and cauliflower are fairly low in carbs. 

Our Program

The Diabetes Management Program includes several components: group education classes, support groups and individual sessions with a Certified Diabetes Educator. The program serves people with type 1, type 2, pre-diabetes and gestational diabetes. During the sessions, a patient and educator can develop an individualized meal plan based on the person’s preferences and lifestyle. 

Program educators have access to information about foods from around the world. For example, a person eating a traditional South Asian diet can learn how to substitute higher-carb vegetables such as peas and potatoes. Or, a vegetarian may learn how to add proteins (such as soy products, nuts and nut butters) to help reduce carbohydrates, Byer-Lubin says. “There’s no single correct diet, because everyone is different,” Byer-Lubin says. “People are more willing to make changes when we work within their existing diet.” 

4 Tips To Manage Your Blood Sugar  

Whether or not you have diabetes, you can make changes in your diet to help control blood sugar.     

  • Eat more low-carbohydrate vegetables. Go for broccoli, cauliflower and green beans instead of higher carb vegetables such as potatoes and corn.     
  • Eat more high-fiber grains. Replace white rice with brown rice and opt for whole grain breads and pastas.     
  • Eat fewer processed foods. Processed foods are less likely to fill you up, causing you to eat more, and are more likely to spike your blood glucose levels.     
  • Add healthy fats and proteins. Meat, fish, poultry, eggs and nuts can help you feel full, while healthy fats such as olive oil can help slow down the rise of blood glucose levels after meals.  
Click here for more information about the Diabetes Management Program, or call 1.609.853.7890.