I was recently diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. Type 1 is in my family but I am sure I can control mine with diet and exercise. Can you recommend how many grams of sugar and carbs should be consumed per meal? Also what is considered a portion size of meat? Thanks Amy.

Carbohydrates are a very important part of your diet and should be balanced and included at each meal. The amount of sugar and total carbohydrates consumed at each meal will vary for everyone. For example, an elderly woman with a small frame will require fewer carbohydrates than a young man with a large frame. I would first advise you to set up an appointment with a registered dietitian. She will be able to take many factors (age, sex, height, weight, weight loss goals, activity level etc) into account when creating a personal meal plan and making dietary goals for you. She can calculate how many grams of carbohydrate that you should consume per day and then make healthy recommendations on how to incorporate these. She will likely give you a “carbohydrate prescription” which will tell you how many grams of carbohydrate you should consume at each meal and snack. For example, if your “carbohydrate prescription” allows you to have 45 grams of carbohydrate for breakfast (with each “serving” of carbohydrate equaling 15 grams) then you can have 3 total carbohydrate choices in the morning. This may be a bowl of oatmeal, a glass of skim milk and one half of a banana. If you are allowed 60 grams of carbohydrate at lunch, this may include 2 slices of bread for a sandwich, a small apple and ¾ oz of pretzels.

Carbohydrates with high fiber contents are healthier choices and can allow for optimal blood sugar control, normal bowel movements, and can help you to feel fuller after a meal (whole wheat pasta, brown rice, bran cereal).

While sugar can be included safely into meal plans for people with diabetes, I would advise you to eat these only occasionally as they generally are low in total nutrient value. You may wish to try recipes that are lower in sugar or those with no-calorie sugar substitute.

A serving of meat is about the size of a deck of playing cards (3 ounces). This could be a small chicken breast half, one can of tuna, or one small lean hamburger. Food scales can also be helpful when figuring out how much meat you are consuming. To help control weight and reduce risk of heart disease, it is recommended that you choose leaner meats. For example, try using extra lean ground turkey in place of ground beef. Lean beef choices include: round, sirloin, chuck, loin. Buy “choice” or “select” grades of beef rather than “prime.” Finally, try broiling, roasting or grilling meat instead of frying, and remove the skin from the poultry for additional fat savings.

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