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The "Diabetic Diet"

        Health | Diabetes

"It's time to debunk the myth of the 'diabetic diet,'" says EatingWell contributing editor Joyce Hendley, author of The EatingWell Diabetes Cookbook. If you have diabetes, you don't have to eat special foods or be excluded from what "everyone else" is eating. Current guidelines for diabetes are, in fact, the same as those for the population at large. "Everyone else," says Hendley, "should be taking their cue from what's on your plate."

EatingWell's food and nutrition editors have selected a sampling of delicious recipes to help you get started. Most of our diabetes-appropriate recipes are low in calories (and between 1 to 2 1/2 carbohydrate servings), but any EatingWell recipe can fit into your diet. That's because they are based on core principles:

  • No food is a magic bullet or forbidden fruit.
  • Variety and sensible portions are key.
  • Whole foods trump processed foods.
  • Plant foods should be embraced, along with low-fat dairy, fish, lean meats and poultry.
  • Unsaturated "good fats" and interesting seasonings keep food tasty and healthy; saturated and trans fats weigh it down.

Diabetic Diet Tips

Sip smarter. The average 12-ounce can of regular soda supplies about 150 calories and 38 grams of carbohydrate-the equivalent of more than 9 teaspoons of sugar. Replace your soda with herbal iced tea or seltzer water with just a splash of cranberry juice: both drinks are low in calories but still refreshing and tasty.

Sweet snacks that pack nutrition. If you have diabetes, sugar can be counted just like any other carbohydrate, but since most foods containing sugar-think cream-filled cookies-are usually low in other nutrients, it's best to limit high-sugar snacks and go for mini meals that give you more nutritional "bang for your buck." But who says you can't have sweet and nutritious? Try this: Combine ½ cup low-fat vanilla yogurt with half a sliced banana and ¼ cup blueberries. Don't like blueberries as much as you like blackberries? That's OK, substitute. Either way you cut it, this snack packs calcium, probiotics, potassium, antioxidant power and only 2 carbohydrate servings.