Egg Nutrition Center Blog

Balancing Act: Tools for Diabetes Menu Planning

IMG_2772-21-150x150Today’s post is from Carla Schmitz, one of our former dietetic interns. Carla is completing her final rotation in order to sit for the exam to become a registered dietitian nutritionist.

Planning healthy menus can be a daunting task for clients with diabetes. As health professionals we strive to make this process more manageable for our clients. ENC has partnered with the Joslin Diabetes Center to develop several tools for you to use when working with diabetic clients. This great Eating Well with Diabetes handout is accompanied by a Health Professional Teaching Guide that outlines specific learning objectives for the handout as well as provides helpful teaching tips.

Remember, successful menu planning takes practice. This can be very frustrating for clients, which is why it is beneficial to have an arsenal of techniques to help your clients develop healthy menus that also control blood glucose levels.  Here are a few tools that can be useful for clients in learning to eat a well-balanced diabetes meal pattern.

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  • Food diary: Keeping track of food intake is one of the most enlightening exercises for patients. This helps clients to take stock of their eating patterns, keep track of carbs, and see areas for potential improvement.
  • Carb counting: Using this method of calculating the carbs consumed in meals and snacks is a helpful method for diabetics to monitor their carb intake or determine insulin dosing.
  •  MyPlate: A basic and helpful tool, MyPlate is readily accessible and generally well-received by clients. The American Diabetes Association’s tips for creating a healthful plate can be found here.
  • Excellent cookbooks and recipes: Clients consistently ask for recipes and cooking tips to manage their diabetes, so it is helpful to have a list of great resources handy. Here are Joslin Diabetes Center cookbooks and recipes. You can suggest recipes that you use and enjoy. The client will realize you are eating the same foods as them and they won’t feel like they are on a special diet!

Tell us your favorite diabetes resources.

Author: Anna Shlachter MS, RDN, LDN