When you are diagnosed with diabetes, you need to manage your diet as well.
Monitoring your diet and lifestyle is one of the best ways to manage diabetes and prevent it from getting worse.
Follow the tips below to guide you on how to manage your diet:
1. Talk to a Registered Dietitian who is a CDE
When you have been diagnosed with diabetes, it will be good to meet with a Registered Dietitian who is also a CDE or Certified Diabetes Educator.
The dietitian will be able to teach you about diabetes, how food affects your condition and how to appropriately take your medication.
2. Eat a well-balanced diet
A balanced diet is always important to general health and wellness, but even more so when you have diabetes. Following a well-balanced diet can help keep your blood sugar in check.
3. Choose leaner cuts of protein
Eating adequate protein is an important part to a balanced and nutritious diet. In addition, protein is naturally carbohydrate-free and can be eaten without worrying about your medications or insulin.
4. Fill up on non-starchy vegetables
Another food group that is very low in carbohydrates and sometimes completely free of carbohydrates are non-starchy vegetables.
- Aim for at least 3-5 servings of these foods everyday. Not only are they naturally low carb or carb-free, they are also low in calories, but high in fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
- Measure out 1 cup or 2 cups of leafy greens per serving. Try vegetables like: salad, tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant, peppers, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, green beans, onions or mushrooms.
5. Include a source of healthy fats everyday
Although there are certain types of fat you should limit, heart healthy fats like omega-3 fats can actually be beneficial for those who have diabetes.
Include some of these heart healthy fats on a daily basis: olive oil, canola oil, olives, nuts, nut butters, seeds, avocados, salmon, mackerel, tuna and sardines.
6. Drink an adequate amount of fluids daily
Drinking adequate amounts of fluids and staying hydrated is essential for every healthy body, but also important for those who have diabetes.
Staying hydrated can help regulate blood sugar in your body. Drink adequate fluids daily to help prevent dehydration.
7. Make 1/4 of your plate a starchy food
Starches (from foods like grains, starchy vegetables or legumes) do contain a high amount of carbohydrates. However, many sources are very nutritious and should be included in your diet to help maintain blood sugar throughout the day.
- Starches coming from foods like corn, potatoes, carrots, beans, lentils or whole grains are still nutritious foods. They offer fiber, vitamins and minerals that are essential to your overall health.
- Making about a quarter of your plate one of these starchy, higher carbohydrate foods is a great way to still enjoy these foods, without over doing it. You can also measure out 1/2 cup of any of these foods for the appropriate portion size.
8. Enjoy small servings of fruit
Although fruit does contain carbohydrates (a sugar known as fructose) it can still be a nutritious and tasty addition to your diet.
9. Choose 100% whole grain foods
Grains like bread, rice or pasta aren’t something you need to avoid or skip if you have diabetes. However, you should choose 100% whole grains when you do eat these foods.
- 100% whole grains are minimally processed and contain higher amounts of fiber, protein and other essential nutrients.
- Refined grains like white bread, white rice, plain pasta and other foods made with white flour or added sugars are lower in fiber and other nutrients. They’re considered empty calories and can spike your blood sugar more than whole grains.
10. Strictly limit processed foods and foods with added sugars
One group of foods that you should limit and not eat frequently are those that are highly processed and contain a lot of added sugars.
- Added sugars are those that are added to certain foods during their processing. They make foods higher in calories and carbohydrates.
- In addition, these foods provide no nutrition and can spike your blood sugar.
- Limit foods like: ice cream, candy, cookies, cakes and pies, breakfast pastries and muffins.
11. Choose low glycemic index foods
The glycemic index is a way to measure different foods and their levels of carbohydrate. Using this can help you choose foods that have carbohydrates more wisely.
- The glycemic index is a tool that can be used for diabetes. It shows how certain foods affect your blood sugar and insulin levels.
- Low glycemic foods do not affect your blood sugar all that much, whereas high glycemic foods can increase your blood sugar greatly.
- Examples of low glycemic index foods are: oatmeal, most fruits, starchy vegetables and 100% whole wheat bread.
- Examples of high glycemic foods are: white bread, white rice, popcorn, rice cakes and candy.
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