Plate Method a visual tool in diabetes controlBy
The nutrition of diabetes control is divided between choice and portion. While it is important to make wise food choices that encourage good blood sugar control, it is also important to practice portion control and add foods in the right combinations.
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) and Diabetes Management & Supplies (DMS) advocate portion control strategies for people living with any form of diabetes and for those trying to prevent diabetes.
The ADA suggest “creating your plate” as an easy way to get started with managing blood glucose levels.
“You don’t need any special tools or have to do any counting,” the ADA Web site says. “It’s simple and effective—draw an imaginary line on your plate, select your foods, and enjoy your meal! You may have heard of this as the ‘Plate Method.’”
The DMS “I’m in Control” diabetes education program details meal planning and the Plate Method in its Healthy Eating section.
The plate method is a way to visualize proper portion sizes using a 9-inch plate. Make half of your plate non-starchy vegetables, a fourth of your plate protein and a fourth of your plate starch. On the side you may either have a serving of low fat milk or a serving of fruit. Following the plate method helps to ensure that you eat a well-balanced meal containing all the necessary food groups and stay within recommended carbohydrate intake.
- Start with the Carb choices allowed on your meal plan – how many – what is a serving size?
- Add the correct amount of Protein food – usually about 2-4 ounces of meat per meal (size of your palm) cooked using a low-fat method
- Add no more than one or two servings of Fat per meal. Add none if you include fried foods at that meal or if trying to lose weight. (1 tsp = 1 serving)
Elaine Blackwood, DMS certified diabetes educator, appreciates the visual appeal of the Plate Method and will often use paper plates and markers to help others plan, plot and visualize meals. “Many of us are hands-on,” Blackwood says. “We need to either see or touch something.”
The ADA plate method is detailed in the video below.
For more on summer picnic and cook-out ideas, check out “Get Ready for Summer Picnics and Barbecues” from the American Diabetes Association.
DMS offers diabetes self-management and diabetes education services. For more information on specific exercise needs or to enroll in group or individual sessions, call our Education Department at 1-888-738-7929.