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Food and Dining
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I Have Diabetes: When Should I Eat?

Introduction

To personalize the information in the article below, print out this page and complete the "Your Turn" portions. You can also print out individual pages that contain only the areas for printing by clicking on the "Your Turn" buttons beside the "to-be-filled-in" areas and printing that page out. But even if you don't use the forms, the following information will help you develop a healthy diabetic diet.

Why Should I Keep My Blood Sugar at a Healthy Level?

You should keep your blood sugar (also called blood glucose) at a healthy level to prevent or slow down diabetes problems. Ask your doctor or diabetes teacher what a healthy blood sugar level is for you.

Your blood sugar can go too high if you eat too much. If your blood sugar goes too high, you can get sick.

Your blood sugar can also go too high if you do not take the right amount of diabetes medicine.

If your blood sugar stays high too much, you can get diabetes problems. These can be heart, eye, foot, kidney, and other problems.

You can also get sick if your blood sugar gets too low.

How Can I Keep My Blood Sugar at a Healthy Level?

  • Eat about the same amounts of food each day.

  • Eat your meals and snacks at about the same times each day.

  • Do not skip meals or snacks.

  • Take your medicines at the same times each day.

  • Exercise at about the same times each day.

Image of clock surrounded by food.

Why Should I Eat About the Same Amount Each Day?

The food you eat turns into sugar and travels to your blood. This is called blood sugar. Your blood sugar goes up after you eat.

Keep your blood sugar at a healthy level by eating about the same amounts of food at about the same times each day.

Your blood sugar will not stay at a healthy level if you eat a big lunch one day and a small lunch the next day.

Three plates labeled Blood Sugar Too Low, with a little food, Blood Sugar at Healthy Level, with more food, and the last with the label, Blood Sugar Too High, with the most food.
Eat about the same amounts of food each day to keep your blood sugar
at a healthy level.

Why Should I Eat at About the Same Times Each Day?

Eating at about the same times each day helps you keep your blood sugar from getting too high or too low.

Eating at about the same times each day also helps your diabetes medicine keep your blood sugar at a healthy level.

What Times Should I Eat My Meals and Snacks?

Talk with your doctor or diabetes teacher about how many meals and snacks you need to eat each day.

Fill in the times you should eat your meals and snacks on these clocks.

Your Turn
Click for
printable
page

Image of clock with no hands.
Meal
Image of clock with no hands.
Snack
Image of clock with no hands.
Meal
Image of clock with no hands.
Snack
Image of clock with no hands.
Meal
Image of clock with no hands.
Snack

What Times Should I Take My Diabetes Medicines?

Talk with your doctor or diabetes teacher about the best times to take your diabetes medicines. Fill in the names of your diabetes medicines, when you should take them, and how much you should take.

Here are some hints:

  • Diabetes pills: Take these before you eat.

  • Regular, NPH, or Lente insulin: Take this 30 minutes before you eat.

  • Humalog insulin lispro: Take this just before you eat.

Your Turn.
Click
For
Printable
Form

Blank clock. Name of medicine: ______________
Time: _______ Meal:____________
How much: ___________________


Blank clock. Name of medicine: ______________
Time: _______ Meal:____________
How much: ___________________


Blank clock. Name of medicine: ______________
Time: _______ Meal:____________
How much: ___________________

Points To Remember

The food you eat makes your blood sugar go up. Diabetes medicines make your blood sugar go down. Together they help you keep your blood sugar at the healthy level.

That's why you should

  • Eat about the same amounts of food each day.

  • Eat your meals and snacks at about the same times each day.

  • Try not to skip meals and snacks.

  • Take your diabetes medicines at about the same times each day.

  • Exercise at about the same times each day.

Keeping your blood sugar at a healthy level every day helps you prevent diabetes problems for a long time.

Source: NIDDK

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