Carb Counting for Diabetics: A YRMC Healthy Conversations Presentation

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Counting carbohydrates is a staple of Yavapai Regional Medical Center’s (YRMC’s) Outpatient Diabetes Self-Management Education Program. During sessions with experts like YRMC’s Wendy Nelson, RDN, people with diabetes learn how to manage their diets, weight and health. In fact, Nelson’s enthusiasm for healthy and delicious foods will no doubt make you want to cook up your own low-carb meals and snacks.

“When it comes to carb counting and diabetes, people see a door shutting,” said Nelson, Diabetes Educator-Dietitian, Preventive Medicine and Wellness, YRMC. “But food can still be delicious and mealtime can be a joyous event, even if you’re counting carbs. It just takes a little more planning and being conscious of your choices.”

During Counting Carbs for Diabetics, a YRMC Healthy Conversations presentation, Nelson covers how people with diabetes can consume a low-carb diet without sacrificing flavor. She also shares tips on dining out and a recipe for a low-carb dessert that will satisfy your sweet tooth.

At its most basic, carb counting is about enjoying a variety of food groups at each meal. Drill down to the numbers and Nelson recommends*:

  • 30-60 grams of carbohydrates for each meal
  • 15-30 grams of carbohydrates for snacks

*Women are typically at the lower end of the carbohydrate range and men are usually at the higher end.

Making Meal Plans

How does this information translate to your dinner plate? A well-balanced meal could include a small portion of grilled chicken, roasted broccoli, a side salad and sweet potato. Keep in mind that stews and casseroles – with lots of vegetables and smaller portions of carbs and proteins – are also good choices. Thai dishes offer a flavorful combination of carbs and protein, as long as you skip the rice.

Nelson is also a fan of snacking. She suggests snacks that combine a carbohydrate with a protein, like peanut butter and celery or hummus and vegetables.

“Carbs and proteins are a perfect pair for snacks,” Nelson said.

The reason? The carbohydrates break down quickly to alleviate hunger while the protein is slow to digest, which makes you feel full longer.

Get Informed

Check out this flyer for more about counting carbohydrates, including recommendations for lower-carb pastas and tortillas. Want to meet with Wendy Nelson or another YRMC dietitian about healthy eating and diabetes? Contact YRMC’s Outpatient Diabetes Education Program in Prescott at (928) 771-5794 or Prescott Valley at (928) 759-5920.

Subscribe to YRMC HealthConnect to keep up-to-date on Healthy Conversations topics or checkout our calendar. You can register for future presentations or watch past presentations at YRMC HealthConnect.