Eating diabetes-friendly meals does not mean you have to settle for bland food. The following recipes are packed with flavor, enough to delight the whole family. And they have been developed specifically according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA) guidelines to take the worry out of your meal planning.

One basic principle in a diabetes-friendly lifestyle is to eat portion-controlled, balanced meals. A quick way to size up portions is to divide your plate into sections. Draw a line down the center of a plate. Draw a line cutting one side in half. You will have three sections. Fill the largest section with non-starchy vegetables. Fill one of the small sections with whole grains such as brown rice or whole-wheat pasta. Fill the third section with a low-fat protein.

A meal should include a balance of complex carbohydrates, the right fats and lean protein. When you think of carbohydrates, think brown which means whole grains. Choose nutrient-rich sources rather than less-healthy sweets, refined grains and salty snacks.

As for fats, some are better for you than others. Monounsaturated fats, such as olive oil, are good fats, while saturated fats from animal products, such as butter and fatty meats, should be limited. Individuals with diabetes should try to keep consumption of saturated fats to less than 3.5 grams per meal. To complete the meal, choose a lean protein to limit the saturated fat level. Lean proteins include seafood, skinless chicken and meats such as grass-fed beef or pork tenderloin.

Use these recipes as a blueprint for understanding how much and what type of food you should include in your meal. This will depend on how active you are and what, if any, medicines you're taking. In general, think about 45-60 grams of carbohydrate per meal. ADA guidelines also recommend that you should consume less than 600 mg of sodium per meal.

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