Menus for diabetics are based on something called the Diabetes Food Pyramid. The very nature of the disease called diabetes is that the body is unable to process simple sugars effectively. The American Diabetic Association or ADA has created guidelines to follow when planning effective diabetic menus called the Diabetes Food Pyramid. Using the pyramid guidelines makes choosing good foods for diabetics much simpler.
What does the Diabetes Food Pyramid look like?
As the name pyramid suggests, it is divided up into six generalized groups or categories of good food choices for diabetics with the largest group or category being the base of the pyramid and the small group of food choices at the very top of the pyramid. Creating effective diabetic menu plans takes a detailed knowledge of the nutritional elements of foods and how they will interact with other foods in the body, especially in the body of those who have issues with insulin levels.
Using the ADA Food Pyramid simplifies making good food choices without needing an extensive knowledge of nutrition. With all the food groups taken into consideration, proteins, fats and carbohydrates, the best possible food choices are there at a glance. The foundation of the pyramid and the second tier are comprised of those foods which can be eaten in the largest quantities. The closer to the top the layers go the fewer amounts of these foods should be eaten.
Good Foods for Diabetics from the Diabetes Food Pyramid guidelines:
Foundation of the pyramid:
The objective here is to limit bad choices of foods while insuring that there is sufficient nutrition in the daily eating plan. The bottom of the pyramid is for grains and for starches which is basically just another way of saying carbohydrates. This is the grains and starches food group. These are the staples of the food chain. These consist of pasta, oats, rye, wheat, rice, cereal and basically any foods that contain whole grains. Vegetables with starch are also included like peas, corns and potatoes. These are carbohydrates that will be absorbed into the system as sugar very quickly but contain nutritional value.
Second layer of the pyramid:
The second layer of the pyramid consists of two food groups; the rest of the vegetables on one side and fruits of all sorts on the other. These are a combination of carbohydrates. Some will take a while to be absorbed as sugar in the system and others will be absorbed quickly. These food choices are rich in nutrients, vitamins and antioxidants.
Third layer of the pyramid:
This layer is for proteins of all types including dairy and meats (beef, fish and poultry), meat substitutes, dry beans, eggs and nuts. Any milk, yogurt and cheese selections need to be low fat and any meats need to be lean cuts. The skin and fat from meats should be avoided. This layer provides the protein that is necessary for good health. The milk, yogurt and cheese are a food group and the meats, beans, eggs and nuts are another food group making this layer two food groups. The milk group provides calcium plus protein and essential vitamins. This layer provides a good quantity of vitamins, minerals and important proteins.
Forth layer or top of the pyramid:
This is the top of the pyramid containing the food group with fats, oils and sweets. These foods need to be eaten very sparingly with saturated and trans-fats avoided altogether. Obviously foods containing large amounts of sugar should be avoided on a diabetic diet plan because the insulin in the body is not able to handle large amount of sugar at one time.
The most important aspect in using the Diabetes Food Pyramid for creating menus for diabetics is to choose more foods from the first and second layers while paying close attention to portion control.