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Both my husband and I are diabetic. What are the best ways to create interesting and healthy foods for our meals? — Ginger, MD

Rachel Johnson


There is no single way to eat for people with diabetes. The proportions of carbohydrates, protein and fat in your eating plan depend on many things, including your weight, blood cholesterol, and other medical concerns. What you eat also depends on what foods you enjoy. Your primary health care provider, along with a registered dietitian, can help you plan what's right for you and your husband including portion sizes, types of food, and overall timing or your meals and snacks.

Recently, guidelines for people with diabetes have become much more flexible than in the past. In reality, a diabetic diet isn't much different from any healthy eating plan. This is especially true for people with Type II (non-insulin dependent or adult-onset) diabetes. Use the USDA Food Guide Pyramid as a guide. Select a variety of foods from each food group being careful to go easy on the portion sizes. Look in your favorite magazines and cookbooks for recipes which are moderate in fat; you should be able to prepare and enjoy many of these. Be sure to consume plenty of fiber, including fruits and vegetables, in your daily diet.

About Rachel Johnson

Rachel Johnson, RD, MPH, PhD is Associate Dean of Research for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Associate Professor in the Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences at the University of Vermont. Dr. Johnson earned a Ph.D. in Nutrition from The Pennsylvania State University, and a Master of Public Health degree from the University of Hawaii. She's a member of the USDA/USDHHS Dietary Guidelines Scientific Advisory Committee, American Dietetic Association (elected member, Commission on Dietetic Registration), and the American Dietetic Association Pediatric Nutrition Practice Group. Dr. Johnson has served as the chair of the sugars subcommittee of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (2000 edition). Her research expertise is national nutrition policy, nutrition and young children, dietary intake methodology, and energy metabolism.

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