What Is Type 1 Diabetes?
Diabetes is a chronic (lifelong) condition that keeps your body from turning food into energy. When you have type 1 diabetes, your body stops making insulin. Without insulin, your cells can't get fuel to burn for energy. This is why you may feel weak or tired. Managing your diabetes and taking insulin will help you feel better and stay healthy.

What Is Type 2 Diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is a chronic (lifelong) condition. It keeps your body from turning food into energy. That’s why you may feel tired and run-down, especially after eating. Controlling your diabetes means making some changes that may be hard at first. Your healthcare team is here to help.

Managing Your Diabetes
Controlling the level of sugar in your bloodstream is the key to managing your diabetes. Your healthcare team will help you develop a program that is right for you. This team includes your doctor, diabetes educator, and nutrition specialist.

1. Eat Healthy
Eating right helps keep your blood sugar in balance. A nutrition specialist (dietitian) will help you create a meal plan. You don’t have to give up all the foods you like. But you’ll need to eat on a regular schedule and follow some nutrition guidelines.

2. Monitor Your Blood Sugar
Checking your blood sugar level is essential to keeping your diabetes in control. Regular testing helps you be sure that your treatment program is working. Make checking your blood sugar a part of your daily routine.

3. Exercise
Exercise is important to help keep your blood sugar in balance. Daily exercise helps lower blood sugar. Your blood sugar can continue to fall for several hours after you stop exercising. You may need to begin slowly. Check with your healthcare team before you start an exercise program.

4. Take Medication If Prescribed
Your doctor may prescribe medication to help manage your blood sugar. Always follow instructions. Take your medication exactly as prescribed.


Diabetes: Food Pyramid

The diabetes food pyramid is a tool to help you eat a wide range of healthy foods. If you eat the lowest number of servings for each type of food, you’ll eat about 1,600 calories a day. The highest number of servings will give you about 2,800 calories a day. Your calorie needs are based in part on your height, gender, and activity level. Your healthcare provider can help you determine a calorie level that’s right for you.

(2 to 4 servings a day)
A serving has 15 grams of carbohydrate, about 60 calories, and no fat.
Healthy low-fat choices: whole fresh fruits or canned fruit with no sugar added.

Milk and Yogurt
(2 to 3 servings a day)
A serving has 12 grams of carbohydrate and 8 grams of protean. Low-fat and fat-free choices have about 100 calories and little fat.
Healthy, low-fat choices: low-fat of fat-free milk and fat free yogurt with artificial sweetener.

Breads, Grains, and Other Starches
(6 to 11 servings a day)
A serving has 15 grams of carbohydrate, 3 grams of protein, and about 80 calories. Most have no more than 1 gram of fat.
Healthy, low-fat choices: whole-grain breads and cereals, corn, tortillas, oatmeal, bulgur, brown rice, dried beans, lentils, peas, yams, acorn or butternut squash, pumpkin.

Fats, Sweets, and Alcohol
(have sparingly)
The foods in this group are high in calories. The best fat choices are olive and canola oil and tub or liquid margarine. A serving of fat is 1 teaspoon. It has 45 calories and 5 grams of fat. Sweets often have fat and carbohydrate. Eat them in small amounts.

Meat, Meat Substitutes, and Other Proteins
(2 to 3 servings a day)
A serving has 21 grams of protein and no carbohydrate. Lean and very lean choices have the least fat and the fewest calories.
Healthy, low-fat choices: fish, white-meat chicken or turkey, lean red meat, reduced-fat or fat-free cheese.

(3 to 5 servings a day)
A serving has 5 grams of carbohydrate, about 25 calories, and no fat.
Healthy low-fat choices: fresh vegetables or frozen vegetables without sauce, butter, or margarine.

Healthy Meals for Diabetes

Ask your healthcare team to help you make a meal plan that fits your needs. Your meal plan tells you when to eat your meals and snacks, what kinds of foods to eat, and how much of each food to eat. You don’t have to give up all the foods you like. But you do need to follow some guidelines.

Eat foods rich in fiber
Fiber doesn’t affect blood sugar. Fiber is also healthy for your heart. Fiber-rich foods include:

  • Whole-grain breads and cereals
  • Bulgur wheat
  • Brown rice
  • Whole-wheat pasta
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Dried beans and peas

Choose healthy protein foods
Eating protein that is low in fat can help you control your weight. It also helps keep your heart healthy. Low-fat protein foods include:

  • Fish
  • Plant proteins, such as beans,
  • tofu, and soymilk
  • Lean meat with all visible fat removed
  • Poultry with the skin removed
  • Low-fat or nonfat milk, cheese,
  • and yogurt

Limit unhealthy fats
Saturated and trans fats are unhealthy for your heart. Fat is also high in calories, so it can make you gain weight. To cut down on unhealthy fats, limit these foods:

  • Butter or Margarine
  • Oil
  • Cream
  • Cheese
  • Bacon
  • Lunch meats
  • Ice cream
  • Sweet bakery goods such as pies, muffins,
  • and donuts