Diet and Meal Planning for Type 1 Diabetes

Eating healthy tastes great

For people with type 1 diabetes, changes in blood sugar can be managed, in part, with diet. At the Allegheny Health Network Center for Diabetes and Endocrine Health, our diabetes care team works with you to develop a diet and meal plan that fits your schedule improves your health and wellness goals.

And here’s some good news for those of you with a sweet tooth – monitoring your blood sugar levels doesn’t mean you have to have a completely sugar-free diet.

Here are some tips to help you eat healthy:

  • Eat regular meals.
  • Keep healthy snacks with you at all times.
  • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and avoid high-calorie sauces and food containing added salt or sugar.
  • Whole grains high in fiber are recommended as a healthy source of carbohydrates.
  • When in doubt, skip the sugary drinks and also avoid adding sugar to hot drinks. Try drinking water or tea and coffee instead.
  • Eat low-fat starchy sources of protein and fiber, such as beans, lentils, chickpeas and garden peas.
  • Choose protein sources low in saturated and trans fats, including chicken, turkey, and fish without the skin and cooked on the grill, rather than fried.
  • Eat fish at least twice a week, but avoid batters and frying - go for oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardine, trout and herring, which are rich sources of omega-3.
  • Avoid partially hydrogenated vegetable oils and limit trans fats by replacing them with polyunsaturated fats such as cold water fish, dairy products and nuts.
  • When it comes to dairy, select skim (fat-free) milk and low-fat (1%) dairy products. Also, reduce your consumption of cheese and butter and swap out creamy sauces for tomato-based ones.
  • Cut back on sugar (no, you don’t have to eliminate) by avoiding added sugars in drinks and foods. Try tea and coffee without sugar, avoid fruit that is canned in syrup and pay attention to food labels.
  • Cut back on salt by preparing foods at home with little or no salt and avoid high sodium processed foods.
  • Cut back on portion sizes - be wary of amounts consumed when eating out.
  • Be wary of "diabetic" foods – these are mostly marketing gimmicks serve no particular benefit and can be expensive.
  • Drink alcohol only in moderation. As a general guide, no more than one drink a day for women and no more than two for men.

Contact us

Call (412) DOCTORS (412) 362-8677 or request an appointment to learn more about AHN diabetes services.