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How to build balanced meals

Balanced meals for diabetics

You will be faced with all sorts of exciting and delicious food over the festive season – take part and enjoy! Use this guide to build balanced meals for diabetics regardless of which dinner party, office function, restaurant or buffet you are eating at. This guide will help to manage your portion control, and your total intake of energy and carbohydrates.

balanced plate

Know your food groups

To build a balanced meal for diabetics, choose one food from each of the following food groups:

1. 1/4 Plate of high fibre carbohydrates (a serving is usually about the size of your fist, or half to one cup)

  • Examples – baby potatoes, sweet potato, brown or wild rice, quinoa, wholewheat couscous, corn on the cob, wholewheat pasta, samp and beans, pearl barley or bulgur wheat.

2. 1/4 Plate of lean proteins (a serving is usually about the size of your palm)

  • Examples – smoked, fresh or frozen fish (not battered or fried), tinned fish (oil or brine drained), pickled fish, crab, oysters, mussels, shrimps, prawns, calamari (grilled not fried), skinless chicken or turkey, ostrich fillet, lean beef, lean pork, lean veal, extra lean minced meat, beans, peas, chickpeas or lentils (cooked/canned, brine drained and rinsed).

3. 1/2 Plate of vegetables (try to have at least two handfuls of veggies or salad on your plate)

  • Examples – All fresh or frozen vegetables (served as raw salad, steamed, fast boiled, stir fried or roasted), tinned vegetables (brine drained).
  • You could also include a small serving of fruit, like one whole fresh fruit, 1/2 cup of fruit tinned in juice (not syrup) with excess juice drained or plain dried fruit in small quantities.

4. Small amount of healthy fats (a serving is usually one teaspoon to one tablespoon)

  • Examples – avocado, raw unsalted nuts, peanut butter (no added sugar), nut butter, olive oil, olives, canola oil, low oil dressings, low oil mayonnaise, sunflower, pumpkin or sesame seeds.

This information was brought to you by

Pick n Pay is committed to promoting health and wellbeing among South Africans and employs the services of a registered dietician to provide food and nutrition related advice to the public. For your nutrition and health related queries, contact or toll free on 0800 11 22 88

For more fantastic information on diabetes and nutrition, visit Pick n Pay’s Health Corner.