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Choosing a Meal Plan For Your Wellness Journey

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plateBy Eloise D. Keene, MS, MPH, RD, LDN, CDE, Certified Diabetes Educator, Diabetes Management & Supplies

A variety of meal plans can be healthy choices for different people who are exploring avenues to wellness. In today’s world, being bombarded by food and diet plans can make the average individual’s head swim with the vocabulary of high-fat, low-fat, saturated fat or trans fat. Finding which meal or dietary plan is right for you and your family takes research and discernment. Finding your personal wellness eating regimen is key to overhauling your lifestyle. Here’s what our experts have to say about popular diet plans.


A variety of physicians and health gurus have been touting the Mediterranean diet since the early 1960’s when epidemiologist, Dr. Ancel Keys, brought back research from a study on the health of people living in the Mediterranean region of the world.  The diet was designed to help people reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.  It was accompanied by huge amounts of daily exercise by the study participants. The diet was rich in vegetables, fish, seafood, and olive oil.  All choices that have high levels of omega 3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fats that promote heart health.  This meal is nutrient dense yet moderate in daily caloric distribution based on a 2,000 calorie daily intake.

A meal that adheres to the Mediterranean diet plan might include: 3 -4 ounces of baked fish, 1 cup of green salad made from a dark green leafy vegetable, (romaine lettuce, raw spinach or kale) cucumber, tomato, or onion slices, 2 ounces of olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing, a 4 ounce baked sweet potato, a small apple and 4 ounces of unsweetened plain Greek yogurt.


The Healthy Plate Meal Plan is based on a European model, originally used as a tool for those with diabetes. The design uses a 9 inch plate cut into two halves, and then one half is divided into a half. The largest portion of the plate is for veggies that do not greatly influence blood glucose to rise. One smaller section of the plate is used for protein foods, like eggs, tofu, fish, nut butters, poultry and/ or lean meats.  These foods have a moderate effect of raising blood glucose levels.  The other smaller section of the plate is used for starchy vegetables, grains, beans, or pasta.  These are the foods that most affect blood glucose values as carbohydrate sources create the greatest rise in blood sugar.  The “Healthy Plate” method is a tool that can be used for children, young adults, seniors and the chronically ill.  The tool can be used to plan breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack meals.


In today’s world of meal planning and diets the terms fast and intermittent fasting are being used by lifestyle coaches, personal trainers,  health care professionals and the everyday person, who is looking to lose weight. The definition of those words may hold the key to a meal plan that helps an individual achieve his or her healthy body weight. To fast means to abstain from food, to omit to take nourishment in whole or in part and to go hungry.

5/2 DIET

Since 2012, the British meal plan/diet craze that has swept the “Weight Loss World” has been the 5/2 diet.  This plan required people to eat anything they wanted for five days and then going on a fast for two days per week where calories are restricted to 600 calories for males and 500 calories for females.

This plan is considered a non-consecutive day fast, it is also not a true fast as water is not allowed. It is based on the concept that the usual dietary intake for the British population would have been 2,000 calories daily and that dieters are restricting intake to ¼ that amount on a fasting day.  New information has reported the caloric intake has been raised to 800 calories per day.

16/8 PLAN

Another plan for an intermittent fasting diet is the 16/8 plan.  This plan requires an individual to eat for eight hours and restrict calorie intake for the remaining sixteen hours of a 24 hour day.  During the eight-hour period, the amount of food eaten is not limited.

The selection of a meal plan or dietary regimen with food choices for the healthy individual is based on personal lifestyle, philosophical belief systems, economic status, and individual food preferences.  The meal plan or pattern for an individual with a specific health condition may be recommended by a Registered Dietitian or health care provider.

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Heart Smart Exercise & Eating Tips

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Regular exercise and eating habits are key to having a healthy heart and a great quality of life. For those of us who struggle to eat well and stay active, here are a few tips:
Exercise Tips
Tip #1: Commit to exercising or participating in a physical activity on a regular basis. The same exercise plan to abate diabetes can keep your heart healthy.
Tip #2: Try to get at least 150 minutes of aerobic exercise each week. Exercise or physical activity can be broken into three types: cardio or endurance, resistance or strength building, flexibility or functional.
Healthy Eating Tips
Tip #1: Use monounsaturated fats like olive oil or canola oil in the cooking process.
Tip #2: When preparing food, bake, broil, stew or grill rather than fry.
Tip #3: Choose lean meats rather than fatty meats. A choice that allows one to cut the fat away can still be an option. A piece of meat that has the fat marbled or streaked through it may not be as healthy.
Tip #4: Eat fish two to three times weekly.
Tip #5: Reduce the consumption of salty foods. Large intakes of sodium or salt can affect blood pressure.
Tip #6: Become an expert label reader. Both the ingredient list and the nutrition facts section can identify the amount of sodium that is in the food. Remember that sodium hides in processed food products.
Overall, let’s work hard to eat better and increase our mobility! We can do it!
All exercise or physical activity plans need to be discussed with one’s physician before the initiation of the program.
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Healthy eating key piece of treatment plan

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food_bagEating a balanced diet means your diet contains all the necessary food groups including carbohydrates (carbs), proteins and fats.

Carbohydrates, when broken down, turn into sugar. Too many carbs at one time can cause your blood sugar to go too high. The amount of carbs that you should eat at one meal depends on the individual. Contact a diabetes educator or a dietician for a customized meal plan.

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) has a simple principle that explains all carbohydrates are created equal: A carb is a carb is a carb! It is important to understand that sucrose (table sugar) and other sugars do not create a more harmful effect on blood sugar and they are not absorbed more rapidly than starches. The totalamount of carbohydrates eaten will have more of an effect on blood sugar levels than the source of the carbohydrate.

A healthy eating regimen doesn’t just help control blood sugar. It also can have a positive effect on other conditions like obesity, hypertension and heart disease.

Diabetes Management & Supplies offers diabetes self-management and diabetes education services. For more information on specific nutrition needs or to enroll in group or individual sessions, call our Education Department at 1-888-738-7929 or email


Study: Diet, exercise achieves near diabetes cure

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The words “diabetes” and “remission” are usually only used together with some skepticism and debate, but a recently-released study hopes to prove that intensive diet and exercise may help type 2 diabetics achieve “near-normal” blood glucose levels. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report details the findings on more than 4500 participants who were termed obese or overweight. One in nine people in the diet and exercise group saw their blood sugar levels dip back to the normal or “pre-diabetic” range.

Complete remission of type 2 diabetes is still rare, researchers said. But they added the new study can give people with the disease hope that through lifestyle changes, they could end up getting off medication and likely lowering their risk of diabetes-related complications.

“Kind of a long-term assumption really is that once you have diabetes there’s no turning back on it, and there’s no remission or cure,” said Edward Gregg, the lead author on the report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

For more on the study and its findings check out:

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Weight loss a tool in maintenance, prevention

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People carrying excess weight might get too accustomed to hearing how every health condition will improve “if you just drop some pounds.” Obesity and metabolism affect diabetes and, in some cases, maintaining a healthy weight can prevent diabetes or help you avoid serious complications.

The Obesity Society explains that more than 23 million Americans, or nearly 8 percent of the population, have diabetes. More than 90 percent of all diabetics have type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is usually diagnosed after age 40, but the disease is being found in all ages including children and adolescents.

Type 2 diabetes is linked to obesity and physical inactivity. In this form of diabetes, your body makes insulin but can’t use it properly. At first, your body will over-produce insulin to keep blood sugar normal, but over time this causes your body to lose its ability to produce enough insulin to keep blood sugar levels in the normal range and blood sugar levels become too high.

If you are overweight, you have a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes than a normal-weight person. Being overweight puts added pressure on the body’s ability to properly control blood sugar using insulin and therefore makes it much more likely for you to develop diabetes. Almost 90% of people with type 2 diabetes are overweight.

A good step in prevention or lowering your risk of complications is taking charge of your weight. Speak with your health care provider to determine your ideal weight and discuss ways set and reach weight loss goals if you are carrying excess weight.

Visit the American Diabetes Association’s Food and Fitness section for tips on weight loss.

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The term diabetes can be used to describe a host of conditions that include type 1 diabetes, gestational diabetes and type 2 diabetes. Not all forms of diabetes are preventable, but studies show individuals can greatly reduce their likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes with healthy lifestyle interventions.

The Learning Center of Diabetes Management and Supplies explains that type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes, accounting for 90 – 95 percent of all cases. It used to be called adult-onset diabetes, but, unfortunately, both children and adults develop this kind of diabetes. Many people think of it as the kind of diabetes that does not require insulin. However, about half of people with type 2 diabetes will eventually need insulin. This is because the pancreas produces less and less insulin over time, so it must be injected to meet the body’s needs.

There is good news though: Studies have shown that many people who have pre-diabetes can prevent or slow down the onset of full-blown diabetes by losing weight and adding regular physical activity into their routines.

U.S. News and World Report offers some steps that might help you avoid diabetes. These include properly timed meals, getting more exercise and increasing fiber in your diet.

Visit U.S. News health section for seven keys to avoiding diabetes.


Exercise can be safe part of self-management

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If you have had diabetes for a long time and have developed complications, you may have questions about whether you should be engaging in physical activity—and if so, what kind of physical activity is best for your condition.

According to Jacqueline Shahar, MEd, RCEP, CDE, a clinical exercise physiologist and manager of Exercise Services in the Joslin Clinic at Joslin Diabetes Center, patients with diabetes complications should definitely continue to find appropriate opportunties for physical activity. In the Joslin’s Easy Start program many patients have significant diabetes complications and are able to exercise regularly and safely as part of their diabetes self-management plan.

Visit the Joslin Diabetes Center for complete article and tips.

Ordering Supplies and Equipment

A diabetes treatment plan is very important. Make sure you know how things should work. Carefully following any medication orders and instructions is vital to your plan's success. Make sure you don't run out of supplies just as you refill prescriptions so you don't run out of medication.

Here are some ways you can let us help you reorder supplies:

At Diabetes Management & Supplies, we value the part we play on your treatment plan team and realize that winning is promoting good health.