Choosing healthy foods is an important step toward controlling diabetes. But healthy portions are important, too. Even the most nutritious, diabetes-friendly foods can cause trouble if you eat too much.
Overeating can make both your blood sugar and your weight harder to manage. And if you’re using food exchange lists to plan your meals, it’s important to keep portion sizes in mind.
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What does a healthy portion look like?
Many of us don’t know how much food we should put on our plate at each meal. In these days of super-size portions at restaurants, movie theaters, and frozen food aisles, it’s easy to lose perspective. What does a healthy portion actually look like?
One way to find out is to buy a portion control plate that has different sections for different parts of the meal. If the food fits on the plate, your portion sizes are probably in the ballpark.
You can also just use smaller plates and avoid having seconds. If you want a second helping, go for a walk around the block. By the time you get back, you won’t be as hungry as you thought you were.
A study of 130 obese people with diabetes found that using a portion control plate every day for six months improved weight loss.
Specifically, many of the patients who used the plates lost about 5 percent of their weight, while most patients in the control group, who received only standard advice about portion control, didn’t lose much weight at all. Patients using the plates were also able to cut back on diabetes medications without sacrificing control of their blood sugar.
Even without a special plate, you can learn to eyeball healthy serving sizes. A single serving of meat — about 3 ounces — is the size of a deck of cards. A one-ounce serving of cheese is the size of four dice. A four-ounce bagel is the size of