How to plan a healthy meal?


October 4th, 2022

How to plan a healthy meal?

1. Why it is important to plan meals?

Those that have diabetes don’t need to be on strict diets, but they do need to pay attention to what and how much they eat. Why? Because it helps them keep their blood glucose levels healthy. Meal planning helps people with diabetes eat right and stay healthy.
You need to help them balance their carbohydrate intake with their insulin and activity levels to keep their blood glucose levels under control. Doing so can help prevent some of the long-term health problems of diabetes.
You need to know what’s in the food you’re preparing for those with diabetes. It’s important that you know which food contains carbohydrates and whether are they good or bad carbs.
Good carbs found in wholefood ingredients like leafy greens and vegetables (e.g. carrot or eggplant). The bad carbs, found in processed food like desserts and snacks (e.g. cakes, pastries, chocolates, candies) or sugary drinks. Be careful as well with street food snacks and drinks which may contain sweet milk or too much of added sugar.
If possible, refer to food labels for food’s ingredients, nutritional information, and calories when you buy food from supermarket.
If you want to buy food already prepared from a street food vendor do not hesitate to ask them what are the ingredients and if it contains added sugar.

2. The plate method.

Try to make each meal a good balance of carbs and other nutrients, both for diabetes management and to make meals satisfying.
You can follow the plate method which is simple and easy to follow:

  • 1/2 plate : leafy and non-starchy vegetables: e.g. cabbage, broccoli, carrot, cucumber or morning glory
  • 1/4 plate : carbohydrate (grains and starchy vegetables): e.g. whole grain rice/bread, corn, potatoes or taro
  • 1/4 plate : proteins: e.g. lean meat, fish or eggs

Optional: a glass of milk (low fat) or a fresh fruit
It’s important to have a good relationship with food and enjoy it but we first have to learn about it and to know how it affects us. Food is like a friend. It’s important to choose good food like good friends who will help you grow healthy.

3. What are the tips to eat healthy with Type 1 Diabetes?

Encourage those with diabetes to:

  • Never skip meals and try to eat around the same time everyday
  • Take consistent portions of carbohydrates everyday
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Choose the healthier carbohydrates like brown rice instead of white rice or sticky rice
  • Eat more vegetables and fruit with low glycemic index like orange or green mango
  • Choose a healthy snack (e.g. fruit) if they want a snack
  • Have 30 mins of exercise everyday – join in to stay active!

Try to avoid/reduce:

  • Sugary drinks, snacks or desserts
  • Processed food (e.g. meat in can, sausage)
  • Reduce the amount of salt in your food


HelloType1 content is based on published, internationally recognised guidelines and then reviewed by local experts to ensure it fits local context. The translation is based on simplified English language to ensure it conveys the safest and clearest possible message in regional languages. Basic insulin and blood glucose testing access is still an issue in the South-East Asia region and our chief aim is to address this. HelloType1 content is not intended to replace the advice of individual healthcare professionals but as a collaborative tool to help them improve the outcomes of disadvantaged people with Type 1 Diabetes in the region.

HelloType1 content is curated for the topics using information only taken from accredited sources such as the International Diabetes Foundation (IDF) and the International Society for Paediatric and Adolescent Diabetes (ISPAD).

This content is then reviewed and adapted by a panel consisting of healthcare experts (e.g. endocrinologist, nutritionist, diabetes nurse, psychologist) and members of the South-East Asia T1D communities, helping ensure the information is appropriate in a local context.

Writers of HelloType1 content:
Anne-Charlotte Ficheroulle, Pharmacist, Digital Innovation Manager at A4D
Charlotte O’Brian Gore, Research assistant ImmunoEngineering, King’s College. UK

Content Reviewers – healthcare professionals:
Dr. May Ng, Paediatric Endocrinologist, Chief Medical Advisor A4D, UK
Dr. Yeow Toh Peng, Endocrinologist, Malaysia
Dr Jaturat Petchkul, Paediatric Endocrinologist, Thailand
Dianna Culbertson, Physician Assistant T1D care, US
Prof Dr Malene Iv, Endocrinologist, Kantha Bopha Hospital, Cambodia
Steffen Tange, Consultant Psychology, Denmark
Soe Nyi Nyi, Nutritionist, Myanmar
Lucas Lim, Dietician, Malaysia

Content Reviewers – people with Type 1 Diabetes:
Jerry Gore, Co-Founder A4D, Mountaineer, UK
Diana Maynard, T1D advocate, UK
Emelyne Carmen Ho, College Student, Malaysia
Molly Seal, College Student, UK

Content Reviewers – parents with T1D child:
Samantha Seal, Teacher, Thailand
Kim Than, Deputy Country Director – Plan International, Cambodia

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