Healthy eating is very important with diabetes management. Here are some key tips in order to eat healthier and maintain your blood sugar and your weight.
- Adopt a Heart-Healthy eating plan
Design a meal plan. Healthy eating is about making choices and planning ahead. An eating plan that emphasizes a variety of vegetables, fruits and whole grains will provide nutrients, fiber and other substances associated with better health, and lean proteins for development and maintenance of muscles and organs. Limit total fat consumption, however fat intake is essential, so look for monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
- Eating in properly portioned amounts
Pay attention to serving sizes. Your ability to monitor the number of servings you eat at your meals throughout the day is key to meeting your daily nutritional goals. READ FOOD LABELS!! If you eat 2 times the serving size as listed on the label, you also doubled your calories, fat, carbohydrates, and salt. Consider using the “Plate Method”. Try to fill 1/2 of your plate with non-starchy vegetables, no more than 1/4 of your plate with lean protein, and the other 1/4 of the plate with a carbohydrate. And, instead of eating until you are full, simply eat until you are no longer hungry!
- Staying consistent with meals and snacks every day
Being consistent with your eating habits will help you control your blood sugar levels. Try to eat about the same time every day, eat the same number of meals and snacks, and the same amount of food each day. Also, eating at regularly spaced intervals, about 4-5 hours apart, will maintain a constant blood sugar level and allow for digestion of food between your meals.
- Limit your intake of alcohol, sweets, and sweetened beverages
Alcohol prevents your liver from releasing glucose and can increase the risk of your blood glucose dropping too low. If you choose to drink, drink in moderation, and NEVER on an empty stomach. Sweets should be considered as only a small part of your overall diet as they have little nutritional value and are often high in fat. If you do choose to eat sweets, substitute a small portion of sweets for another carbohydrate in your daily plan. And sweetened beverages should be counted as part of your daily intake of calories and carbohydrates. It is best to hydrate with water!
- Follow up with a Dietician and Diabetes care team on a regular basis for adjustments in treatment plan
Diabetes is a progressive disease, so insulin and other medications may be added or changed for continued control of you blood sugar level. And with a change in medication or insulin, your nutritional recommendations may change as well. A dietician will help you choose tools such as carb counting or exchange lists to achieve your goals for blood sugar control, weight loss and improved nutrition.