Meals for a Diabetic House Guest

Updated on March 03, 2010
A.C. asks from Sterling Heights, MI
17 answers

My mother, recently diagnosed with type II diabetes, is coming to stay with us for 8 days. She said to buy her diet sodas, and other than that, not to prepare any special meals for her. I suspect that even on her own she is rather irresponsible about her diet, but I don't want to make it worse while she is here.

I know very little about diabetes. Should I prepare special meals in consideration of her or should I do as I always do? We eat pretty healthy at my house, but probably not "healthy" enough for a diabetic.

If I should prepare special food, what do I do? What foods should I avoid for her sake? I know lots of sweets are bad, but what else?

I tried to ask my mother these questions, but she is insisting I shouldn't worry about it.

What can I do next?

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answers from Detroit on

86 the diet soda thing. Those aren't good for anyone! If you're going organic, there are plenty of organic options. But diet sodas are just plain bad for you!
I would think that Better Health or Whole Foods offers cookbooks for diabetics that you could refer to.



answers from Lansing on

I have Type 2 diabetes. If she is only staying for a week or 2 and you already eat fairly healthy, that should be enough. Mostly Type 2 diabetes is about portion control. You could try putting everyone's food on their plates before you sit down. That way she most likely won't ask for seconds. Keep the sweets and desserts to a minimum and only have veggies around for snacking. Diet pop is fine. That's what I drink. It's important to know that she has to work this out for herself. Her whole life time of bad habits will have to be changed but she has to do it on her own! Good luck!

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answers from New York on

The main goal with diabetes is keeping your blood sugar at at study level. It's usually recommended that you eat the normal 3 meals a day, but smaller portions and eat snacks inbetween. So keep some healthy snacks available.

You can pretty much make the normal meals you're used to. Just watch the carbs (light on pasta, rice and breads), when carbs digest, they turn into sugar. Check the labels and watch the sugar content on any canned products, sauces/condiments. Offer lots of fruits and veggies.

If you want to offer a special treat, liked baked goods, use splenda in the recipe.

It's also important for a diabetic to regulate food with exercise. If the weather permits, try to get her out for a short walk each day.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

Hi A.---You want to focus on high fiber foods: fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. Minimize animal protein, using it more like a condiment or flavoring. Dr. Neal Barnard,, wrote a book about how he reversed type 2 diabetes with a low-fat vegan diet. I suggest you explore his website. He has a great booklet you can download called the vegetarian starter kit.

I wouldn't necessarily advocate becoming a vegetarain or a vegan. I would, however, strongly suggest eating more vegetarian meals. For type 2 diabetics, their insulin regulating system has been overwhelmed so that it has trouble moving sugar from the bloodstream into the cells. That's why high fiber foods are so important. They slow the rate at which sugars enter the bloodstream. High fiber foods are low glycemic foods.

But you don't want to eliminate carbs altogether. Simple carbs are the enemy. Think processed foods. Complex carbs, even fruits, are necessary for the body. Our brains function solely on carbs/sugars to function. Dr. Barnard's research did not restrict carbs. He did restrict fat. He found that fat makes the cellular 'lock' sticky, making it difficult for the insulin to allow sugars into the cell.

So, my recommendation is to cook alot of vegetarian type meals, with high fiber foods. Go to or even for lots of GREAT vegetarian recipes. These taste so great, you really don't even mind not having animal protein.

I'll be you weren't really looking for a lecture about type 2 diabetes, sorry about that. But I find that for me, understanding a little bit about how it works, helps me to take the necessary steps to avoid or correct a situation.

Let me know if you have any other questions. I am taking a series of wellness classes, taught by a Naturopath who has her PhD in nutrition. I have a wealth of information that I can share, for both you and your mother. PS. If you, or she, would like to know why diet sodas are bad for a diabetic, or anyone for that matter, let me know. It has to do with satiety, and diet foods tend to make people eat more, which would be horrible for a type 2 diabetic, who typically needs to lose weight to reverse the disease. Drink more water. It helps to carry nutrients to the cells and remove toxins from the body.

Good luck, and have fun with the websites. In health, D.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

Carb counting and portion size are also very important. Take the initiative and continue to do your healthy good meals. The diabetic diet is very good. Diabetics really eat the same stuff just use healthy choices. Go to internet - American Diabetic Association, library. Have healthy snacks too. Sounds like mom needs some help and her doctor can set her up for diabetes education. Also, keeping her healthy means more time with grandkids! Good luck! and do not stress!



answers from Columbus on

Hi A., I also had gestational diabetes and I agree with Patricia, the portion size was much more important than the foods I ate. However, for pastas I switched to soba wheat noodles. Wholegrain breads are better for you than white bread but I couldn't bring myself to eat it. Fish is a great meal choice and of course veggies and fruit. The biggest pitfall (besides sweets) is pre-packaged food. Check the sugar content under the carbohydrate heading. The sugars shouldn't be above 10g for the item to be a good choice. Of course, this is just a guideline that my doctor told me.

I think it is really considerate of you to look for alternative meal choices for your mom, good for you! It sounds like your mom hasn't really listened to her doctor's warnings. Diabetes doesn't have to be a huge issue if she makes some lifestyle changes with diet and exercise.



answers from Saginaw on

I am pre-diabetic. What I do is cut out as much refined sugar and processed foods as I can, and try to eat foods that are in as natural a state as possible. Use olive oil in place of other oils, real butter instead of margarine, and food made with whole grains instead of white flour. Also make sure to include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, or frozen is you can't have fresh. Canned foods are the worst. Lean meats are also fine, and salads with an olive oil based dressing. Actually, this is pretty much the way everybody should eat all of the time, not just diabetics, so you can tell your mother that you aren't cooking anything special just for her, it's the way the whole family eats. I hope you enjoy your visit with your mother!



answers from St. Cloud on

Make food like you normally would. If you eat healthy, then that is enough. Since your mom asked you to not prepare any special meals for her, I think you should do that and trust her to make the right choices for herself.
Enjoy having your mom visit! :)



answers from Detroit on

Protein is always best and vegetable protein is better than animal protein.

When looking at labels, fiber offsets carb content.

If you eat pretty healthy, then you should be able to offer her some tasty yet good meals for a diabetic.

And you could even google --Recipes for a diabetic.

Be careful of the artificial sweetners though. Our bodies are very smart and they know when we put something that isn't natural into them. Truvia, which is a less caloric version of Stevia, is a great sweetner.

Hope this helps.

Oh and don't stress yourself about it. That isn't good for everyone. Okay?

Have a great day!




answers from Atlanta on

Hi A.,

Google glycemic index diet. We have kept my 91 year old Dad's diabetes under control with diet for 40 years now. You can't just assume things about it because it is very specific. Do avoid Rice (except Uncle Ben's original uncoverted rice, don't know why) white potatoes and white breads(almost all breads). Green vegetables, fruit and protein are great. The diet is really a good healthy way to eat. Jenny Craig and Nutrtisystems are now using it as a weight loss tool and it will shed the pounds.

I'm sure if you usually eat healthy she probably won't even notice that you have done this for her...

God bless,




answers from Detroit on

LOL, I actually teach people how to eat according to the Glycemic Index in classes at my church! Perfect timing for you, I'd say.

She shouldn't eat anything that is white. White potatoes, white flour, white rice, white sugar. Egg noodles are low glycemic (won't impact blood sugar) and so is durum flour. Check your labels. She should only eat bread with 4 grams of fiber per serving.

If you'd like more information, let me know.



answers from Austin on

Until my mother came to visit me at Christmas, I thought I had been eating healthy. Lots of fruits, vegetables, brown rice. But she is very serious about keeping her diabetes under control. She started checking her blood sugar a few years before she was officially diagnosed. She bought a nutrition scale, that would tell her how many carbs were in the food, and what the correct portion size was. She could eat broccoli, but carrots had too much sugar, potatoes had too many carbs. She even said the brown rice was bad because I was eating too much of it. We cooked her black bean spaghetti because she couldn't eat regular noodles. She would figure out she couldn't eat a certain thing for dinner because she ate too much of something else at lunch. My son kept offering her a taste of cookies and other snacks, and she said no every time. I was surprised at how much work she had to do to stick to the healthy diet, but I have heard that some people can control diabetes this way without the need for insulin or other meds. It sounds like your mom isn't concerned right now, but if there are any classes on living with diabetes from the hospitals near her it might help her in the future.



answers from Detroit on

Make sure you have oatmeal and like fruits veggies and yougarts in the house with maybe some cottage cheese. Basically really diabetic don't eat any different than we do they just eat smaller meals and they whatch te things that have more manufactured and natural sugars in it. If you want to make treats like for snack after dinner. You could go to whole foods is a really goood place for people who are diabetic or have siliac desaese. they have a iles that have only like foods for those people with the needs. like they have a gluetinfree ile for those who can'thave wheat I also beleive they have a sugar free ile too. They have biscuts and muffins cookies cakes and all kinds of stuff to buy. Good luck


answers from New York on

Google The American Diabetes Association Recipes. The site is filled with easy to make recipes.
You can also learn about diabetes on the site, which might be a good idea since you are at high risk for getting it. It can run in families.



answers from Indianapolis on

I cook alot for my diabetic Gpa. It's fairly simple. You can make all the sweets you want as long as it's with Splenda or some other non-sugar sweetener. Stevia is supposed to be the best, but I haven't tried that one yet.

Remember that carbs turn into sugar in your body, so try to make things whole grain, and limit what you can. Fruit contains natural sugar, so while it is healthy, too much isn't good for diabetics. Basically if the meal is well rounded the way it ought to be then it should be okay.

You can look up diabetic recipes online. has a bunch and so do other sites.

Have fun experimenting!



answers from Dallas on

I had gestational diabetes, and what was amazing was I could pretty much eat the stuff I used to, but really had to watch the portions and the carbs. Focus more on proteins and vegetables. You could even see if there's a diabetic counseling center near you and maybe they can give you some pointers or a class since you're learning for a family member. It's worth a shot. You can even hit the library for diabetic cook books - they can give you an idea of what the diabetic diet is all about. Good luck!



answers from Kalamazoo on

Diabetics are concerned with carbohydrate and fat intake. Carbs are found in sugar, grains (bread, pasta, rice, cornmeal, anything with flour), starches (potatoes, beans, peas) and fruits. You'll also notice by reading total carb amounts on labels, that canned foods are very high is carbs, so things like spaghetti sauce can be bad. Diet soda contains no sugar so that is a help, but basically a diabetic can eat most anything, its just portion sizes that are important. Making a dessert with splenda will not solve the problem because MOST deserts are starch based, and that counts against them as well. So it will be up to her to decide how much of each thing she's allowed to eat. Cooking things with whole grains and lots of fiber helps to balance the carbs, and having lots of protein and vegetable options is helpful as well.

From my experience, my family is full of diabetics - my father (a physician) being one of them - they often are either non compliant or very loose in their carb counting, or they'll just give themselves more insulin to compensate. Trying to control their diet is usually fruitless, and causes lots of hard feelings. So do as she's said and don't make things special for her. However if you plan meals that are not carb based (like many breakfasts of cereal, pancakes and waffles, biscuits and gravy...) then she won't have to feel like she's missing out. Omlettes with lots of veggie/meat options to put inside would be great! But ya, the bottom line is, she has to be responsible for her health.

I had to deal with all of this while I had gestational diabetes. I was living with my grandmother (who eats some form of white flour dough for nearly every meal) and had just become diabetic. I tried to work with her and teach her how to eat, since I was having to do the same thing. She just wasn't interested in doing much to change. It was frustrating. I just had to resign myself to the fact that she was an adult, who'd been educated on what to do and would have to be responsible for the consequences that came from it.

Good luck and don't stress out! :)

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