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Online learning resources for diabetes, asthma, hypertension, and nutrition.
Diabetes 101: Learn more about diabetes, managing your blood sugar levels, and your diet.
Diabetes 201: Learn more about diabetes, managing your blood sugars, and your diet.
Asthma 101: Learn more about asthma and dealing with shortness of breath.
Hypertension 101: Learn more about hypertension and managing your blood pressure.
Nutrition 101: Learn more about improving your nutrition and diet

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Diabetes Library: Care of Diabetes

How Much Should I Eat?



Even healthy foods can cause problems if you eat too much of them. A diabetes teacher can help you decide how much food you should eat.

How much you should eat depends on:

  • Whether you are a man or woman.
  • How much you weigh.
  • How tall you are.
  • Your age.
  • How much you exercise.
  • The type of work or other activity you do every day.
  • If you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

The Food Pyramid

Seven food groups make up the food pyramid. The food pyramid helps you decide how many servings of each food group to eat.

According to the food pyramid, your daily diet should be made up of:

  • Six to eleven servings of starches
  • Three to five servings of vegetables
  • Two to four servings of fruit
  • Two to three servings of milk or yogurt
  • Two to three servings of protein
  • Small amounts of fats and oils
  • Small amounts of sugary foods and sweets

Starches

The grains, cereal, rice, pasta, and starchy vegetables group is the largest part of the food pyramid.

Examples of one serving of starch:

  • One slice of bread
  • 1/3 cup of rice
  • 1/2 cup of cooked cereal
  • 3/4 cup of dry cereal flakes
  • One small baked potato.

You might need more than one serving at a meal. If you need two servings, eat double the amount or eat one serving each of two starches.

Every time you eat foods like dry cereal, hot cereal, pasta, or rice, use the same type of bowl or plate. Measure the correct serving with a measuring tool.

Ask your diabetes teacher how much and how often to eat them. Also ask the healthiest ways to eat them.

Vegetables

Vegetables are in the next largest level of the food pyramid.

Examples of one serving of vegetables:

  • 1/2 cup of tomato juice
  • 1/2 cup of cooked green beans
  • 1 cup of tossed salad
  • 1 cup of raw spinach
  • 1/2 cup of cooked carrots

You might need more than one serving at a meal. If you need two servings, eat double the amount or eat one serving each of two vegetables.

If you buy fresh vegetables, buy the vegetables you like in the serving size you should eat. For example, buy small tomatoes or small squashes. If you buy vegetables in servings that are larger than you need, you might eat too much.

Ask your diabetes teacher how much and how often to eat them. Also ask the healthiest ways to eat them.

Fruit

Fruits are on the same level of the food pyramid as the vegetable group.

Examples of one serving of fruit:

  • One small apple
  • 1/2 cup of apple juice
  • 2 tablespoons of raisins
  • 1/2 cup of canned fruit

You might need more than one serving at a meal. If you need two servings, eat double the amount or eat one serving each of two fruits.

If you buy fresh fruits, buy small to medium pieces. If the pieces of fruit you buy are too big, you might eat too much.

Ask your diabetes teacher how much and how often to eat them. Also ask the healthiest ways to eat them.

Milk and yogurt

Milk and yogurt are on the next level of the food pyramid.

Examples of one serving of milk or yogurt:

  • One cup of fat free milk
  • One cup of buttermilk
  • One cup of nonfat yogurt

Always drink milk out of the same size of glass. Fill a 1-cup measuring cup with milk. Pour the milk into your glass. See how high it fills the glass.

Ask your diabetes teacher how much and how often to eat them. Also ask the healthiest ways to eat them.

Protein

Protein foods are on the same level of the food pyramid as milk and yogurt.

Examples of one serving of protein:

  • 2-3 ounces of cook fish
  • 2-3 ounces of cooked chicken
  • 2 ounces of cheese
  • 2-3 ounces of cooked hamburger

If you cannot weigh the food, make sure the serving is about the size and thickness of the palm of your hand or a deck of cards.

Meats weigh more before they are cooked. For example: 4 ounces of raw meat weighs 3 ounces after cooking. If the meat has bone, like a pork chop or a chicken leg, then cook 5 ounces raw to get 3 ounces cooked.

Ask your diabetes teacher how much and how often to eat them. Also, ask the healthiest ways to eat them.

Fats and oils

Fats and oils are part of the smallest section of the food pyramid. This means you should eat fats and oils only in small amounts.

Examples of one serving of fats and oils:

  • One tablespoon of regular salad dressing
  • Two tablespoons of light salad dressing
  • One tablespoon of margarine
  • One tablespoon of oil
  • One tablespoon of light mayonnaise
  • Six whole peanuts

Use measuring spoons to learn how much fat or oil to use. Then, when you do not have measuring spoons, like in a restaurant, you will know how much to use. It is easy to eat too much fat and oil.

Ask your diabetes teacher how much and how often to eat them. Also ask the healthiest way to eat them.

Sugary foods and sweets

Sugary foods are part of the smallest section of the food pyramid. This means you should eat sugary foods only once in a while.

Examples of one serving of sugary foods and sweets :

  • One plain cake doughnut
  • 1/12 slice of angel food cake
  • One three-inch diameter cookie
  • One tablespoon of maple syrup

Ask your diabetes teacher how much and how often to eat them. Also ask the healthiest ways to eat them.

Here are ways to eat small portions of sugary foods:

  • Split and share desserts in restaurants.
  • Order small or child-size servings of ice cream or frozen yogurt.
  • Divide homemade desserts into small servings and wrap each piece separately. Freeze the extra servings.
  • Do not have candy dishes around the house or near you at work.
 

Back to Care of Diabetes

 

Reprinted with permission from the National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse





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