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Portion Control - Finding the Right Mix for a Healthy Diet


Many people believe that those with diabetes must eat a special diet. Ideas about this diet range from having to cut out all sugar to never being able to eat pasta, rice and potatoes again. In reality, having diabetes simply means that you need to choose healthier food options and watch your portion sizes. Eating with diabetes is simply healthy eating, which can apply to everyone.

How Much You Eat Matters

While your focus may be on healthy ways of cooking and serving food, how much you eat is equally important. The amount you eat has a great effect on your blood sugar. If you eat more than you need, your blood sugar will go up, and if you do not eat enough your blood sugar may drop low.  This makes diabetes portion control a very important part of managing your blood sugar levels. 

Simple Diabetes Portion Control

The easiest way to limit your serving size is to draw imaginary lines on your plate. Draw one line down the middle of the plate, dividing it in half. Fill one half with low-starch vegetables. Most veggies, with a few exceptions like root vegetables such as potatoes and parsnips, winter squash, peas, beans and corn, are low-starch. Good choices can include cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, cauliflower, green peppers. Green vegetables like spinach, kale, cabbage, and broccoli are always a good choice.

Now, divide the second half of your plate in two. Fill one half (one-fourth of the total plate size) with protein foods, like skinless poultry or fish. The remaining section is for starchy foods like bread, potatoes, rice and so on. Peas, corn and beans are also starchy. You can also add a serving of fruit and a low calorie drink. To keep up the healthy eating plan, avoid diet soft drinks and choose water or unsweetened tea instead. It’s really that simple.

Plate Size Influences Serving Size

In the past few decades, standard serving sizes have increased dramatically and plate size has increased along with them. Today’s standard dinner plates are three inches larger than the typical 1950's plate.

Serving a correctly-sized portion on one of these plates can leave it looking rather empty. This makes your brain think you’re getting less to eat. Choose smaller plates of 9 or 10 inches instead -- many salad plates are in this size range. This helps cut serving sizes without leaving your plate bare. Your brain is satisfied that you have enough food and you’re less likely to feel hungry later.

To Sum It Up

Diabetes portion control is really about healthy eating habits. Smaller portions not only help keep your blood sugar levels steady, they can help you lose weight. Smart eating decisions can go a long way toward helping you manage your diabetes on your own and allow you to lead an active, healthy life.


The contents of DiabetesOutlook.com are intended solely for informational purposes and do not replace the advice of your physician or diabetes care team. You should not rely on any information provided by DiabetesOutlook.com without also consulting your physician. DiabetesOutlook.com maintains all information collected in accordance with applicable law.

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