How can I use portion control to help manage my diabetes?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiologist (Heart Specialist)

Reprioritize portions to help manage your diabetes. It's not just about eating smaller portions; it's also about making sure you have the right amount of the right foods. Cut down on protein-rich foods, like meat. Increase your intake of vegetables and fiber. The serving size for meat is 3 oz.; fish is 4oz. Fill the rest of your plate with quality greens and colorful vegetables, which have a high water and fiber content to keep you feeling full.

Here are some downsized meal suggestions:

  • 3 oz. piece of chicken with 3 cups of steamed broccoli and brown rice
  • 4 oz. piece of fish with 3 cups of spinach salad

Often, when people are diagnosed with diabetes, they don't know where to begin. One way is to change the amount of food you are already eating. Focus on filling your plate with non-starchy vegetables and having smaller portions of starchy foods and meats.

Creating your plate with the Plate Method is simple and effective for both managing diabetes and losing weight. Creating your plate lets you still choose the foods you want, but changes the portion sizes so you are getting larger portions of non-starchy vegetables and a smaller portion of starchy foods. When you are ready, you can try new foods within each food category.

Try these six simple steps to get started:

Using your dinner plate, put a line down the middle of the plate.
1. Then on one side, cut it again so you will have 3 sections on your plate.
2. Fill the largest section with non-starchy vegetables such as:

  • spinach, carrots, lettuce, greens, cabbage, bok choy
  • green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes
  • vegetable juice, salsa, onion, cucumber, beets, okra
  • mushrooms, peppers, turnip

3. Now in one of the small sections, put starchy foods such as:

  • whole grain breads, such as whole wheat or rye
  • whole grain, high-fiber cereal
  • cooked cereal such as oatmeal, grits, hominy or cream of wheat
  • rice, pasta, dal, tortillas
  • cooked beans and peas, such as pinto beans or black-eyed peas
  • potatoes, green peas, corn, lima beans, sweet potatoes, winter squash
  • low-fat crackers and snack chips, pretzels and fat-free popcorn

4. And then on the other small section, put your meat or meat substitutes such as:

  • chicken or turkey without the skin
  • fish such as tuna, salmon, cod or catfish
  • other seafood such as shrimp, clams, oysters, crab or mussels
  • lean cuts of beef and pork such as sirloin or pork loin
  • tofu, eggs, low-fat cheese

5. Add an 8-ounce (oz.) glass of non-fat or low-fat milk. If you don't drink milk, you can add another small serving of carbs such as a 6 oz. container of light yogurt or a small roll.

6. And a piece of fruit or a 1/2 cup fruit salad and you have your meal planned. Examples are fresh, frozen, or canned in juice or frozen in light syrup or fresh fruit.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.