A 1600 calorie diabetic diet simply means that you eat only 1600 calories each day. This part is very straight forward however, as you may have guessed, you can't just eat anything you want.
You must take into account that you need to take the right nutritional elements properly in order to keep your blood sugar levels under control, and at the same time to have the right energy for enjoying the day.
When organizing your meals, I perfectly understand that you will do it according your own tastes or favorites. But you must keep in mind to count the carbohydrates and/or to use any exchange diet strategies. So, your 1600 calorie diabetic diet will contain only 50% carbs, 20 % proteins and only 30% fats.
There are two most used approaches for you to get the best and healthiest diabetic meal plan . The first one is the Exchange Diet Plan and the second one is Carbohydrate Counting. The American Diabetes Association has advocate and approved these two approaches, which help to build up your own 1600 calorie diabetic diet plan.
Now, coming to the exchange diet. It makes the foods to be categorized into 6 basic groups. They are fruits and vegetables, fats, meat and its substitutes, dairies and starches.
You may determine the right serving sizes based on what nutritional fact the food contains, i.e. calorie, carbs, fats and proteins). Each serving size equals one exchange value and gives you a clearer idea on how this particular food affects your blood sugar levels.
Let's take an example. One piece of bread affects your blood sugar levels the same way 6 saltine crackers do. Also its effect is equal to half a cup of carrots or one oz of meat (lean) and so on. Here comes the role of your dietician. If you keep close to him/her, you will be taught on the amount of servings from each category you should have according to a healthy 1600 Calories.
On the other hand, the carbohydrate counting is like the exchange diet, but its principal focus is to keep tracking the carbohydrates. Why is it like this? Because carbohydrates mostly affect your levels of blood sugar. So if you monitor their intake, this may help you to avoid unpleasant spikes in the levels of blood glucose.
Some diabetics prefer mostly carbohydrate counting because it is much more easier to watch your eating since the main focus is to track only carbs (one of the foods groups). Both the above approaches calculate one carbohydrates serving as 15 gr, which is equal to 1 slice of bread.
To help you in your counting, keep in mind that 1 portion has nearly 60 calories (4 calories per gram). If you follow the 1600 Calorie Diabetic Diet, only 50% of your total calories you should take as carbohydrates, or around 13 portions of carbohydrates.
According to the National Institute of Health suggestions, only certain persons should be undergone this kind of diet. If you want to be one of them, talk to your physician and work with your dietician if the 1600 calorie diabetic diet is the one for you. Also consult the guidelines of the National Institute of Health and see they can help you.
Below you may find a sample of a meal plan that contains 1,600 calories in total , and only 220 grams of carbohydrates.
Breakfast: Start your day with half a cup of oatmeal mixed with half a cup of low fat milk, flavored with half a cup of raspberries and one medium peach.
Lunch: For lunch you may have half a cup of vegetable soup, accompanied with one tuna sandwich, and a salad of sliced carrots and celery stalk dipping with fat free dressings.
Dinner: Start your dinner with one cup of spinach leaf salad mixed with five diced cherry tomatoes and one tablespoon of low fat salad dressing.
Then, have half of chicken breast stuffed with basil, accompanied with one ounce of low fat cheese, half a cup of brown rice, one cup of vegetables (if you like you may lightly stir-fry them), and one teaspoon of peanut oil.
In conclusion, the above menu plan will help organizing your 1600 Calorie Diabetic Diet plan. If you need to increase the calorie content of this menu plan, just add more fruit and vegetables, or by slightly increasing the portion size of your evening carbohydrate.
Of if you want to organize your diet menu according to your diabetic needs, click here to get a more personalized help now.
Written by Dr.Albana Greca Sejdini, Md, MMedSc
Medically reviewed by Dr.Ruden Cakoni, MD, Endocrinologist