Nutrition News: The “Plate Method” for Meal Planning

You have diabetes. You know you need to eat “right.” (Let’s face it. We ALL need to eat right.)

But it’s summer! Who wants to count carbohydrates on a cruise or measure a serving of potato salad at a family picnic? Can’t we just have some fun?

Here is one way to simplify your summer meal planning whether you’re at a formal dinner party or wolfing down a barbeque sandwich with Uncle Harry.

Think of your plate—no platters, please—as a big circle. Draw an imaginary line down the middle, dividing the plate into two equal parts.

Nutrition - myplate greenLesson Number 1: What type of food goes into the first half of your plate? Answer: Non-starchy vegetables, foods like broccoli, lettuce, tomatoes, zucchini, asparagus, and Aunt Sue’s cucumber salad.

On the remaining half of the plate, draw another imaginary line to divide that half into two “fourths”.

Lesson Number 2: What goes into each of these small quarter-plate sections? You are correct if you guessed meat, fish, chicken or other protein food you eat. (Remember, meat is the new SIDE dish.)

Reserve the other one-fourth plate section for starchy carbohydrates like potatoes, bread, rice, pasta, and hamburger buns—about one cup.

Other carbs like milk and yogurt and fruit don’t have to fit onto your plate. Just make sure—at any one meal or snack—you have no more than one serving of each these foods. (One (8-ounce) cup milk or yogurt; one cup fresh or ½ cup canned fruit or juice.)

Don’t feel like hauling your measuring cups to the ball game? Make a fist. Unless you’re Superman, it’s a good general measure of a one-cup serving.

Diabetes doesn’t go away just because we’re on vacation. There are ways to manage it without disturbing too much of your fun, however. Have a Great Summer!