DOCTOR’S ORDERS: You need to completely change the way you think about food. Eat healthy. Watch the carbs. Stick to a meal plan.

OK—but what does that mean?

Too often, people newly diagnosed with diabetes are told they need to develop better eating habits without being given specific information about how to do it on a day-to-day—or meal-to-meal—basis. It’s like telling someone who’s never been behind the wheel to drive a car down the interstate. The general idea is easy to understand, but the logistics are insurmountable.

Eating well with diabetes doesn’t have to be as difficult as that. But it’s going to take some work on your part, and perhaps even a new attitude. If you keep dwelling on what you can’t do instead of what you can, you’ll hinder your ability to manage your diabetes. But once you’re willing to learn a little bit about nutrition, carbohydrates, and meal planning, you’re ready.

“You have to start here with a commitment and make your diabetes a priority,” says Toby Smithson, RD, LDN, CDE, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association and a dietitian with the Lake County (Ill.) Health Department. She and other experts helped us develop the healthy-eating primer that follows.

5 Steps to Meal-Planning Success

  1. Visualize Your Plate
  2. Count Carbs
  3. Watch Those Portion Sizes
  4. Consider Nutrition
  5. Keep Learning

Read the article by Tracey Neithercott