What Should I Eat?

This is a powerpoint presentation of teaching preschoolers of what to eat and not to eat. Avoid certain items if you have allergies, diabetes, special  diets, etc. food picture book


How to Prevent Long-Term Problems

Improper management of diabetes can lead to long-term health problems.

Heart and blood vessel problems 

Over time, fat can build up on the walls of your blood vessels. It’s hard for blood to flow through the clogged vessels. When blood can’t get to the heart, it can cause a heart attack. When blood can’t get to the brain, it can cause a stroke. There are other things that increase your risk of heart disease and strokes such as:

  • Too much weight around your waist (waist size 40 inches or more in men and 35 inches or more in women)
  • Abnormal blood fat and cholesterol levels
  • High blood pressure
  • Smoking

To prevent those problems:

  • Manage your blood sugar levels
  • Follow your meal and physical activity plans
  • If you smoke, try very hard to stop, or seek help from your diabetes care team. You can also visit http://www.smokefree.com for help in quitting
  • Limit salt and alcohol intake
  • Know your cholesterol and blood fat (triglyceride) levels and manage them
  • Check your blood pressure and manage it

Cholesterol and Blood Fats 

A blood test will tell you how much of various kinds of fats and cholesterol you have in your blood. Try to reach the goals that you and your diabetes care team have set. Meeting your goals will help protect your heart and blood vessels from damage.

Blood Pressure

Blood pressure is the force of your blood pushing against the insides of your blood vessels as it moves through your body. You should have your blood pressure checked at every visit and ask what it is. Your diabetes care team will give you two numbers. For example, if your blood pressure is 130/88 mm Hg, your team will say that your pressure is “one thirty over eighty.”

The first number is your systolic blood pressure. That’s the pressure as your heart beats to pump blood. The second number is your diastolic blood pressure. That’s the pressure when the heart rests between beats.

High blood pressure (also called hypertension) means that your heart has to work harder to pump blood. High blood pressure can:

  • Strain the heart
  • Damage blood vessels
  • Increase your risk of heart attack, stroke, eye problems, and kidney problems

Ask your diabetes care team about your blood pressure goal. The goal for most people with diabetes is less than 130/80 mm Hg. If you are not at your blood pressure and blood fat and cholesterol goals, you and your diabetes care team can talk about what steps you can take to reach them.


High blood sugar can damage the tiny vessels that supply blood to your eyes. This can cause a number of eye problems. Over time, these problems can lead to blindness. There are some ways to protect your eyes:

  • Manage your blood sugar and blood pressure
  • Get a dilated eye exam by an eye care specialist every year
  • Call your diabetes care team right away if you notice any sudden change in your sight, such as blurry vision or little specks floating before your eyes


Your kidneys filter waste products out of your blood. Over time, hyperglycemia damages the small blood vessels of the kidneys. It also forces the kidneys to filter too much blood. The extra work is hard on the kidneys. After many years, they can fail. Taking good care of yourself can help to prevent this damage. Taking good care of yourself can help to prevent this damage. Here’s what you can do:

  • Have a urine test for protein every year. This test is called a microalbumin test. It can help find kidney damage in its early stages before it gets worse.
  • Have a blood test for serum creatinine at least once a year. This test can also show kidney damage in its early stages.
  • Keep your blood sugar levels as close to normal as possible.
  • Manage your blood pressure. HIgh blood pressure makes the kidneys work extra hard.
  • Don’t smoke. Smoking adds more damage to the small blood vessels.


High blood sugar can damage nerves in the body. Some of the symptoms are:

  • Numbness, tingling, or pain in the toes, feet, legs, hands, arms, and fingers
  • Nausea, vomiting, or indigestion
  • Dizziness or faintness
  • Problems with urination
  • Weakness

Here’s what you can do to help reduce your risk of nerve damage:

  • Manage your blood sugar levels
  • Limit how much alcohol you drink

Teeth and Gums: 

Diabetes can increase the amount of sugar in your saliva. Over time, this can cause tooth decay and gum infections. Here’s how to keep your teeth and gums healthy:

  • Manage your blood sugar. See your dentist at least every 6 months for a checkup and cleaning. Be sure to tell your dentist that you have diabetes.
  • Call your dentist if you have red, bleeding, or tender gums for more than a few days. These problems may be an early sign of gum disease.
  • Floss your teeth after every meal. Then brush your teeth for 3 minutes.


Diabetes can harm your skin in many ways. High blood sugar causes your body to lose fluid. That can make your skin dry. Dry skin can crack easily. Germs can get in and cause infections. High blood sugar feeds the germs, which can make infections worse. Hyperglycemia causes you to sweat less. Decreased sweating can cause dry skin. Here’s what you can do to take care of your skin:

  • Bathe or shower each day using a mild soap. Rinse very well and pat yourself dry.
  • After washing, use a lotion or cream to keep your skin moist.
  • Check your skin after washing. Look for dry, red, or sore spots that might lead to an infection.
  • Tell your diabetes care team about any skin problems.


Diabetes can hurt your feet in two ways:

  • High blood sugar damages your nerves, including those in your feet. With damaged nerves, you might not feel pain, heat, or cold. A sore or cut may get worse and become infected without your feeling it.
  • Diabetes reduces blood flow to your feet. When your feet don’t get enough blood, infections may not heal.

Protect your feet by taking extra care of them:

  • Have a comprehensive foot exam every year
  • Wash your feet in warm water every day and dry them well
  • Never go barefoot
  • Wear shoes and socks that fit well
  • Inspect your feet every day for cuts, bruises, blisters, or swelling
  • Ask your diabetes care team how you should care for your toenails
  • Call your diabetes care team if you injure your feet in any way
  • Make sure your diabetes care team checks your feet at every visit


Some people with diabete experience sexual problems. It is difficult to talk about sex, but your diabetes care team can help you. You may want to ask for a few minutes to talk about it at the beginning or end of your next appointment. Setting the time aside will ensure that it gets the attention it deserves. And there is no need to feel embarrassed. You can be sure that your diabetes care team has dealt with the issue before. Keeping your nerves and blood vessels healthy can help to reduce sexual problems. You can help keep your nerves and blood vessels healthy by managing your ABCs—that is, your:

  • A1C
  • Blood pressure
  • Cholesterol levels


Diabetes problems don’t have to happen. You can work to avoid them. There are many things you can do to reduce your risk. But the most important is to manage your blood sugar. That’s the best way to live an active, full life with diabetes. You can do it! There’s no can’t, CAN!


Carb counting and diabetes:

Carbohydrates are the main kind of food that raises blood sugar levels.  That’s why it’s important to be aware of the amount of carbohydrates you eat.  Simple carbohydrates, or sugar, will begin to raise blood sugar very soon after you eat them. Complex carbohydrates, or starchy foods, take longer for the body to change into sugar but will eventually be changed completely to sugar. Protein and fat have little effect on blood sugar levels.

Carbohydrate (or “carb”) counting can help you:

  • Manage your blood sugar
  • Be more flexible in your choice of foods and at mealtimes
  • Eat more foods that you enjoy


To count carbs, you need to:

  • Know which foods contain carbs and find out how many
  • Read food labels and use measuring tools, such as measuring cups, spoons, or a food scale
  • Work with your diabetes care team to decide how to divide your carbs among your meals and snacks


Many foods contain carbs. The foods that contain the most carbs are:

  • Starches–all bread, cereal, crackers, grains, rice, pasta
  • Starchy vegetables–potatoes, corn, peas, beans
  • All fruits and fruit juices
  • All milk and yogurt
  • Sugary foods–candy, regular sodapop, jelly
  • Sweets—cakes, cookies, pies, ice cream, sugar-free treats


In fact, the only food groups that generally don’t contain carbs are:

  • Meats and meat substitutes, such as eggs and cheese
  • Fats and oils


Because carbs raise blood sugar more than they nutrients, you may wonder why you should eat them all. You need to eat foods with carbs because they provide your body with energy, along with many vitamins and minerals.  Sweets are okay to include in your meal plan once in a while. But keep in mind that sweets often contain a lot of carb, calories, and fat, with very little nutritional value.

Sugar alcohols are one kind of reduced-calorie sweetener.  They include sweeteners like maltitol, mannitol, sorbitol, xylitol, and isomalt.  Sugar alcohols are used in some sugar-free candy, gum, and desserts. Despite their name, sugar alcohols do not contain alcohol. Products containing sugar alcohols are not always low in carbs or calories. So be sure to check the label on any of these products. The effect of sugar alcohols on your blood sugar can vary (i.e. pass gas).

Work with your dietician or another member of your diabetes care team to find the number of carbs you need in our meal plan. That’s the number that you should aim for each day. Your dietician or diabetes educator can help you easily divide your carbs among your meals and snacks. If you take diabetes pills or 1 to 2 injections of insulin a day, try to eat the same amount of carbs at the same meals and snacks each day. If you take 3 or more insulin injections, you may have more flexibility with your meal plan.

Skipping meals can lead to low blood sugar, especially if you take insulin. If you include snacks in your meal plan, count the carbs!

Keep in mind that in the food lists, 1 carb unit equals 15 grams of carbohydrate. For example, a cranberry juice cocktail should be counted as 1 carb. That means that 1/2 cup of cranberry juice cocktail has about 15 carbs.

For foods that come in packages, the best place to find the carb count is on the Nutrition Facts label. The grams of total carbohydrate on the label are the key to carb counting. Don’t worry about counting the sugar and fiber grams. They are included in the total carb number. Check serving size. Information on the label is based on the serving size. See how many grams of carb are in each serving. Decide whether the food fits in your meal plan. Also, check the sugars on each food item and sugar alcohols on sugar-free sweets.



Planning Healthy Meals

To create your plate, split your plate down the middle.  Then divide one of the halves into two. Put nonstarchy vegetables (i.e. spinach or broccoli) in the big half.  Put starchy foods (i.e. potatoes or rice) in one of the small sections. Put meat or meat substitute (i.e. eggs or tofu) in the other small section. Add an 8-ounce glass of fat-free milk or low-fat milk and a piece of fruit.

The goals of your meal plan are to help you:

  • Keep your blood sugar within your goal range
  • Manage your weight
  • Manage blood cholesterol and blood fat levels
  • Manage blood pressure


Ask your diabetes care team to refer you to a registered dietitian (RD) if there is not already one on your team. This person can help you make a meal plan. You want to have the right balance of food, medicine, and activity.


It’s also important to include fiber in your meals. Fiber:

  • Helps control blood sugar levels
  • Lowers blood cholesterol levels
  • Reduces blood pressure
  • Helps with weight loss
  • Helps prevent constipation and diarrhea


The American Diabetes Association recommends that you eat 25 to 30 grams of fiber each day.

Good sources of fiber include:

  • Nuts and seeds
  • Beans, peas, and other legumes
  • Grains and whole-grain products
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables

Remember that foods high in fiber also may contain a large amount of total carbohydrate, which can raise your blood sugar.


Using Exchange Lists for Meal Planning 

Exchange lists can be used to count carbs.  They can be used to count calories too.  Each list has foods that have about the same amount of carbs.  They have about the same amount of calories, protein, and fat too.  So you can exchange, or switch, one food from a list with another food from that list.  Let’s say your breakfast plan calls for 1 serving from the fruit list.  You can choose 1/2 grapefruit, 1/2 banana, or 1 serving of a different fruit from the list.

Check the introduction to each food group. See how many carb grams the servings in that group have.

The exchange lists come in these groups:

  • Starch
  • Fruits
  • Milk
  • Sweets, desserts, and other carbohydrates
  • Nonstarchy vegetables
  • Meat and meat substitutes
  • Fats

For foods without a label, such as fruits and vegetables, you can use the food exchange lists in this booklet to find the carb counts.

For example, your goal is to have 60 to 75 carbs for breakfast. You can have:

  • 1 1/2 cups of cereal (1 1/2 servings)=36 carbs (Check the Nutrition Facts label)
  • 1 cup of skim milk=12 carbs
  • 1/2 banana=15 carbs

Total=63 carbs


Portion Sizes Count!

It’s not just about right types of foods, it’s also about the portion size. For example, a small 4-ounce apple (the size of a small fist) has about 15 carbs. A large apple has about 30 grams.

To make sure your portions are right, you need to weigh and measure your foods after they are cooked. You don’t have to do this every time you eat. However, it’s helpful if you weigh and measure your foods when you first start carb counting. It’s also helpful to continue weighing and measuring your foods every once in a while, just to make sure your portions haven’t grown over time.


Advanced Carb Counting

Advanced carb counting helps you manage your blood sugar better. The goal is this kind of counting is to try to to match the amount of fast-acting insulin you take with the amount of carbs you eat. You use an insulin-to-carb ration to do this. Each person responds in a different way to insulin. So, each person has a different ratio.  You may need different ratios for different meals or times of the day, too.

Your insulin-to-carb ration is made just for you. An RD (registered dietician) can help you find it. He or she can teach you how to do advanced carb counting, too. If you don’t have an RD or a diabetes care team, ask your team to refer you to one.

Healthy Eating Basics

It is extremely important to stay healthy.  To manage your diabetes, you’ll want to:

  • Eat a variety of foods in proper amounts
  • Be sure to check food labels for calories, carbohydrate, total fat, and sodium amounts
  • Eat regularly
  • Match how much you eat with your activity level
  • Eat fewer foods high in calories, cholesterol, saturated fat, trans fat, and sodium


You don’t need to ban any foods from your meal plan, but you may need to limit the amounts you eat or how often you eat some of them.

Good diabetes self-care means following your meal plan, being active, and taking your medication as directed. Your meal plan should:

  • include a wide variety of foods so that you get needed nutrients
  • include many of your favorite foods so that you enjoy what you eat
  • be easy to follow


For more information on diabetes, go to this link: https://www.cornerstones4care.com/