Canadian Diabetes Association releases Consumer’s Meal Planning and Lifestyle Guide

The Canadian Diabetes Association today launched a new publication, Beyond the Basics Resource, designed to help people with diabetes – or those at risk for the disease – choose the right foods and portion sizes to maintain a healthy body weight and manage blood glucose levels. This important tool provides an additional resource for people with diabetes to learn from and discuss with their diabetes health-care team.

Beyond the Basics: Meal Planning for Healthy Eating, Diabetes Prevention and Management is a new consumer-friendly meal planning guide that organizes foods into two main categories – food groups that contain carbohydrates and therefore raise blood glucose levels (Grains and Starches, Fruits, Milk and Alternatives and offer choices for snacks or sweet foods) and food groups that contain little or no carbohydrate (Vegetables, Meat and Meat Alternatives, Fats and ‘Extras’ such as sugar-free foods and beverages, herbs, spices and condiments). This will assist those with diabetes to manage their blood glucose.

“With obesity rates on the rise and research showing that more than 50 per cent of Canadians with type 2 diabetes do not have their blood glucose under control and are at risk for complications, there is a great need for new consumer resources. Beyond the Basics Resource will provide information that can help anyone improve his or her eating habits,” said Sharon Zeiler, Senior Manager, Nutrition Initiatives and Strategies. “The goal of this Resource is to help consumers include a variety of foods in their meals and to promote good diabetes management.”

“The Beyond the Basics Resource will make it easier for people with diabetes and their families to choose healthier foods, estimate the carbohydrate load in their meals, and get an idea of how to calculate the appropriate portion size of the foods they should eat,” said Zeiler. The Resource will also be useful for people at risk for diabetes who want to have healthier meals and follow an active lifestyle.”

A healthy choice doesn’t mean compromising mouth-watering goodness. Included in the Resource are expanded food lists to encourage consumers to include a variety of foods in their meals and to make healthy decisions easier, foods are clearly grouped in ‘choose more often’ and ‘choose less often’ categories.

For example, as a general rule, those with diabetes do not have to avoid alcohol. The Resource will provide information for deciding if alcohol is a wise choice for you, the risks of drinking alcohol, and outline alcohol choices if you are taking medication. Most of us do eat many meals away from home—whether it is a snack of fast food or elegant dining. The Resource will help you to plan for eating out and making healthier choices. Those who are affected by diabetes do have special needs if they are ill. One section will supply some guidelines on dealing with illness, while managing your blood glucose.

“We designed it primarily as a user-friendly resource for people affected by diabetes to turn to for information on many facets of nutrition – from restaurant dining to reading nutritional labels to consuming alcohol,” said Eleeta Armit, RD, CDE . “This informational tool is a must for all people with – or at risk of – diabetes.”

As attractive as the rainbow of colours in the produce section, Beyond the As attractive as the rainbow of colours in the produce section, Beyond the Basics Resource is detailed with beautiful colour photography and original drawings. The 150-page Resource comes packaged and three-hole punched for use in one’s own personal binder, allowing additional materials to be added or a recipe pulled out for immediate use.

The new meal planning Resource is aligned with the food groups cited in Canada’s Food Guide to Healthy Eating and reflects a list of multicultural foods. Representatives from different aspects of diabetes and diabetes education, as well as academia and government contributed to the Resource, which was reviewed by experts in each field to ensure that the information is accurate and based on solid scientific evidence.

The Beyond the Basics Resource is available to consumers and health-care professionals, for the cost of $29.95 + GST and shipping, from the Canadian Diabetes Association Literature Order Desk at 1-800-BANTING ext. 7073. The order form may be downloaded from the Canadian Diabetes Association’s website at and faxed to (416) 363-7465.

The Canadian Diabetes Association offers other useful resources in support of people with diabetes and their health care providers. All are available at under “About Diabetes”.

More than two million Canadians have diabetes and this number is expected to increase dramatically as the population ages. Risk factors for type 2 diabetes include being age 40 and over, being related to a person with diabetes, being of Aboriginal, Hispanic, South Asian, Asian or African descent, and being overweight or obese.The Canadian Diabetes Association works to prevent diabetes and improve the quality of life for those affected, through research, education, service and advocacy. With a presence in more than 150 communities, the Canadian Diabetes Association’s strong network of assistance includes volunteers, employees, healthcare professionals and partners.