Diabetes Meal Exchange
Reprinted with permission from the NIH. For a printable version please visit their website.
Talk with your health care provider about your blood glucose target levels. Print out this chart and write them in.
Ask your doctor how often you should check your blood glucose. The results from your blood glucose checks will tell you if your diabetes care plan is working. Also ask your doctor for an A1C test at least twice a year. Your A1C number gives your average blood glucose for the past 3 months.
How can I keep my blood glucose at a healthy level?
Why should I eat about the same amount at the same times each day?
Your blood glucose goes up after you eat. If you eat a big lunch one day and a small lunch the next day, your blood glucose levels will change too much.
Keep your blood glucose at a healthy level by eating about the same amount of carbohydrate foods at about the same times each day. Carbohydrate foods, also called carbs, provide glucose for energy. Starches, fruits, milk, starchy vegetables such as corn, and sweets are all carbohydrate foods.
Talk with your doctor or diabetes teacher about how many meals and snacks to eat each day. Print out these clock faces and draw hands on the clocks to show when to have your meals and, if necessary, snacks.
What you eat and when affects how your diabetes medicines work. Talk with your doctor or diabetes teacher about the best times to take your diabetes medicines based on your meal plan.
Print out this chart. Fill in the names of your medicines, when to take them, and how much to take. If you take your medicine with a meal, write down the name of the meal. Draw hands on the clocks to show when to take your medicines.
Your Exercise Plan
What you eat and when also depend on how much you exercise. Exercise is an important part of staying healthy and controlling your blood glucose. Physical activity should be safe and enjoyable, so talk with your doctor about what types of exercise are right for you. Whatever kind of exercise you do, here are some special things that people with diabetes need to remember:
You should know the signs of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) such as feeling weak or dizzy, sweating more, noticing sudden changes in your heartbeat, or feeling hungry. If you experience these symptoms, stop exercising and test your blood glucose. If it is 70 or less, eat one of the following right away:
After 15 minutes, test your blood glucose again to find out whether it has returned to a healthier level. Once blood glucose is stable, if it will be at least an hour before your next meal, it's a good idea to eat a snack.
To be safe when you exercise, carry something to treat hypoglycemia, such as glucose tablets or hard candy. Another good idea is to wear a medical identification bracelet or necklace (in case of emergency). Teach your exercise partners the signs of hypoglycemia and what to do about it.
Page Updated 12/24/2005