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The Diabetes Plate Meal Planning Guide

Staying Healthy with Type 2 Diabetes

Staying healthy with Type 2 Diabetes – it is possible! If you keep your blood sugars within the recommended targets you lower your risk of diabetes complications. 


 Developing diabetes complications is a fear you probably have. You can greatly lower your risk of developing diabetes complications. It’s important to keep your blood sugar, pressure and cholesterol in the recommended target ranges.  Your diabetes management plan should include meal planning, physical activity, stress management, and medications. A healthy lifestyle will help you stay healthy with Type 2 Diabetes by lowering your risk of complications!

When your blood sugars are high over time, they will cause damage to your blood vessels and nerves. This can increase your risk of diabetes complications. Diabetes complications include heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness, and amputations. Checking your blood sugars is important because it gives you valuable information to make day-to-day decisions on.

Blood Sugar Monitoring

Blood sugar is monitored two ways. The first way is with regular blood sugar checks using your blood sugar meter. The second is a test your doctor does every 3 months called the HA1C test.
Both tests give you valuable, but different information about your blood sugars.

Day to Day Blood Sugar Monitoring

Checking your blood sugars with your meter is the best way to know if your blood sugars are low or high. 

The day to day blood sugar checking provides you with real-time information about what is impacting your blood sugars. This testing tells you about the impact of factors such as food you are eating, the amount of physical activity you are doing and your stress levels. You can use this information to make decisions about your day to day management. For example, monitoring your blood sugars, before and after meals, tells you how your body is handling different types and amounts of foods.Read more about blood sugar monitoring and interpreting your blood sugars.
In Canada, the targets are to keep your blood sugars between 4-7 mm/l first thing in the morning and before you eat. Your blood sugar should be under 10 mm/l about 2 hours after you eat.
In the United States, a different measurement system is used. You want your blood sugar to be between 80-130 mg/dL first thing in the morning and before meals. Two hours after you eat, you are aiming for your blood sugar to be under 180 mg/dL.
How often your doctor suggests you check depends on the stage of your diabetes and how well controlled your diabetes is. Your doctor may recommend that you only need to check your sugars once in a while or may recommend that you check several times per day

Hemoglobin A1C

The HA1C test gives you the average of your blood sugars for the past 2-3 months. This tells you what your blood sugar average is at every point in the last 3 months – 24/7. This number tells you how well your diabetes control is. To minimize the long-term complications, it is important to keep this number under 7.

Other Tests

 It’s important to keep your blood sugars and HAIC within the recommended target. It’s also important to control your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Controlling these will protect your vulnerable blood vessels that high blood sugars can damage.

What Impacts Your Blood Sugars?

It’s important to keep your blood sugars and HAIC within the recommended target. It’s also important to control your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Controlling these will protect your vulnerable blood vessels that high blood sugars can damage.

Healthy Eating

Healthy eating with Type 2 Diabetes is not really different than healthy eating for those without diabetes. You should include a variety of foods from all food groups. Focus on whole grains, lean meats, beans, peas, lentils, dairy products, fruits, and vegetables.
Foods that contain carbohydrates or sugar, including natural sugars, will raise your blood sugars. It’s important to watch your portion sizes and to eat regularly during the day.
There are several meal planning tools that can help you with managing your blood sugars. Check out the Diabetes Plate Method and Carb Counting Basics.

Physical Activity

Physical activity improves your body’s ability to use sugar by lowering insulin resistance. The more muscle you have, the less insulin resistant you will be. As well, physical activity can lower your sugars during and after your activity.
Physical activity also has many other benefits. It can lower your risk of heart disease and stroke, helps you manage your weight and help you improve your mood.
Include a variety of types of physical activities – cardio, strength, and flexibility.
If you are currently not active, talk to your doctor before starting.

Medications and/or Insulin

Diabetes medications are powerful tools to help you lower your blood sugars. Most people will need some diabetes medication. Type 2 Diabetes can also change over time and your pancreas may become more and more “pooped out”. It may eventually produce little to no insulin.

Talk to your doctor about what medications will work best for you. As well, make sure you and your doctor review your medications regularly.

Stress Management

Having diabetes can be stressful, especially when you are first diagnosed. Unfortunately, stress will raise your blood sugars.

Stress has a big impact on some of your hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. The stress hormones raise your blood sugars because your body is preparing for fight or flight. Stress can also increase your hunger levels and you may use food to comfort yourself.

Find ways to manage your stress. Talk to a friend, go for a walk, meditate or listen to some calming music. Learning to cope with your diabetes is an important part of your management plan.

Keep your diabetes well managed and you will stay healthy with Type 2 Diabetes!


Hi, I’m Linda Gilmour Kessler. I'm a Registered Dietitian specializing in women and Type 2 Diabetes. My mission is to help you to learn to manage your diabetes with confidence and ease.

My clients feel calm and confident, have great management, and live happy, healthy lives.

Let's manage your diabetes without all the crazy food restrictions or rules that turn your life topsy-turvy. Learn about my ROCK YOUR DIABETES PROGRAM and let's get you started Living the Sweet Life.

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