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A blue, pink, yellow, and brown street map of food like oatmeal, soy milk, asparagus, and a chocolate smoothie. Trees of wheat plants surround the giant food monuments on the map.

Navigating the Carb World Made Simple!

The days of the “one-size-fits-all” model for diabetes management are over! This means you can enjoy some of your favorite foods and keep your blood sugar levels within a healthy range. It’s important to find that perfect balance between your physical activity level, your medication, and the foods you eat.1 We’re here to simplify food options, to help make blood sugar management a breeze!

Carbohydrates and type 2 diabetes management

When it comes to the foods on your plate, carbohydrate intake can be your primary focus. This is because carbohydrates have a direct impact on blood glucose and A1C levels. Managing your blood glucose is important because by consistently meeting your blood glucose targets, you will decrease your risk of developing other conditions such as heart disease and kidney disease.1 Whether you follow a flexible meal plan and adjust your medication based on carbohydrate counting, or a more rigid plan where consistent carbohydrate intake is needed,2 the ability to effortlessly and confidently select foods that fit your specific goals will help you stay healthy and in control.1

Today’s blood glucose management involves developing individualized eating plans centered around your schedule, food preferences, and lifestyle. What’s the benefit of this? You have more flexibility to choose the foods that you enjoy while adhering to your nutrition prescription and daily tasks!2 With this flexible plan, your two main tasks are counting and tracking your carbohydrates.2

Foods containing carbohydrates

Knowing the amount of carbohydrates that you consume in each meal and snack is a key strategy for blood glucose control.1 It’s important to pay attention to both what you eat or drink, and how much you consume.1 Choosing nutrient-dense foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, and low-fat or fat-free dairy products are recommended. Eat less of carbohydrate sources that contain added sugars and sweeteners like high fructose corn syrup and sucrose.1 These choices will ensure that you stay on the path of good health while keeping your blood glucose levels in check!1

Let’s review the carbohydrate-containing foods:

  • Breads (all types)
  • Whole grains, such as rice, oats, millet, quinoa, beans and other legumes, wheat, rye
  • Starchy vegetables like potatoes, corn and corn products, peas, and squash
  • Non-starchy vegetables like asparagus, broccoli, brussels sprouts, carrots, salad greens, green beans, zucchini, and tomatoes
  • All fruit and fruit juices
  • Dairy and dairy substitutes like milk, yogurt (sweetened and unsweetened, Greek and regular), rice milk, and soy milk
  • Crackers and snacks including granola, pretzels, chips, and popcorn
  • Foods and drinks with added sugars, high fructose corn syrup, and sucrose, such as sweets and desserts

Each of these foods and drinks has different amounts of carbohydrates and different portion sizes for one serving or one carb equivalent.

To help you navigate your daily carbohydrate choices, we’ve put together a quick reference tool for you to use. Check out the “Diabetes Quick Reference Table” to get started! Select the options with the most appealing carbohydrate choices, while still aiming to make your plate colorful! Mix and match with the different categories to meet your carbohydrate targets that align with your taste preferences. We’ve got you covered!

Physical activity and medication management

Before you take action, remind yourself of the other two components of effective diabetes management- physical activity and medication management! Adopting a physically active lifestyle is crucial for blood glucose management and overall good health.4 Work with your health care provider and Registered Dietitian to develop an individualized lifestyle approach that works best for you!

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Type2Diabetes.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

  1. American Diabetes Association (2013). Position Statement. Nutrition Therapy Recommendations for the Management of Adults With Diabetes.
  2. Chase, P.H., Maahs, D.M. (2015). Understanding Diabetes. A Handbook For People Who Are Living with Diabetes.
  3. ADA, AND (2014). Count Your Carbs. Getting Started. (booklet)
  4. ADA (2016). Physical Activity/Exercise and Diabetes: A position Statement of the American Diabetes Association.

Comments

  • Thomas A McAtee Jr. moderator
    6 months ago

    Love it. Thanks Melissa.
    There’s so many people that think that you can eat as much of stuff as you wish. I’ve had people tell me fruit is good for you. Eat all you want. Of course they don’t know anything about diabetes at all. They just assume that just because ‘fruit is healthy’ and that they can have all they want every one else can as well. I try to explain that yes fruit is good for diabetics as well but in moderation and proportion.That the smaller the fruit the better for us or just to eat so many slices etc. Then it’s fun trying to explain the starches, breads etc as well. But that’s the life of a diabetic. To get those deer in the headlight looks when trying to explain the life of a diabetic. Right? 😉

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