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When you think of carbohydrates, what comes to mind? Bread, pasta or rice? Jelly, honey or sugar? Fruits and vegetables? Well, ALL of these are carbohydrates!
All of these foods must be figured into your diabetic meal plan, in conjunction with fats and proteins, to stabilize your blood sugar and reduce the risk for complications associated with high or low blood sugar.
One key to keeping your blood glucose on target is to balance your carbs throughout the day. It's a good rule of thumb to average between 45-60 grams at each main meal, though this can vary depending on your weight and whether you are trying to lose weight.
Serving sizes are another important part of managing your carbs. Check the container for the recommended serving size, i.e. one small apple is one serving, or 1/2 cup of applesauce, or 1 slice of bread. Keeping within the recommended portions gives you more room to add variety to your daily carb selections, while keeping your numbers in line.
Be creative and think outside the box. If you want to sweeten up your snack or meal, check the carbs and make a "trade." If you want cookies at lunch, try adding chicken to a green salad, instead of having a chicken salad sandwich. With this, you are trading the bread portion for the cookies, and still staying within your meal plan.
In the diet recommended by the American Diabetes Association, carbohydrates should make up approximately 50% of your daily dietary intake. By setting a carb goal for your meals and snacks, keeping to the suggested serving sizing and being creative, your can keep your carbohydrates in check.