Nutrition tips for diabetes:
In Nutrition tips: A healthy diet can help control blood sugar levels, making it easier to manage diabetes symptoms, but planning and preparing nutritious meals can be challenging when you’re constantly on the go.
Luckily, the right diet isn’t limited to what you eat at home; it’s also about how you structure your plate while eating out or grabbing food between meals.
These seven nutrition tips are meant to ensure that your plate has all the right components, no matter where you’re eating or what you’re having for dinner.
Eating vegetables should be a given, but it can easily get lost among other steps to managing diabetes. Vegetables contain fiber and nutrients your body needs to function—and since they’re low in calories, you don’t have to worry about going overboard.
But some vegetables are better than others when it comes to battling diabetes. Asparagus, cabbage, cauliflower and tomatoes are all high in vitamin C, which helps with insulin regulation by helping your body absorb glucose properly.
These veggies also have prebiotic fiber that promotes gut health and keeps you feeling full longer; try serving them at dinner with lean protein sources like chicken or fish.
Choose lean protein sources
In Nutrition tips Protein is important for overall health, and it’s especially important if you have diabetes. You don’t need to eat large amounts of protein every day; just make sure that each meal contains some protein.
For example, an omelet with spinach is a great way to get protein in your morning meal. Good sources of lean protein include chicken breast without skin, fish, eggs, dairy products (low-fat or nonfat), beans and legumes and lean meats like pork tenderloin or beef brisket.
The American Diabetes Association suggests 45 to 60 grams of protein per day; once you reach 65 years old or you are overweight, increase that amount to 30 grams per day if you aren’t physically active.
Limit refined grains
In Nutrition tips refined grains like white bread and white rice are high in calories, but don’t contain many vitamins and minerals. They may increase your body’s production of insulin (an organ hormone that regulates blood sugar levels) and other hormones.
These hormones can raise blood sugar levels, potentially increasing your risk of developing diabetes. Look for healthier alternatives like whole-grain bread or quinoa instead. (Note: Not all whole grains are healthy—choose ones that have at least 3 grams of fiber per serving).
For example, 100 percent whole wheat bread has about 130 calories per slice; 100 percent whole wheat pita has about 90 calories. That’s almost half as much as their refined counterparts!
Another benefit to choosing foods with lots of fiber is feeling fuller longer. Foods with more water, such as fruits and vegetables, tend to fill you up faster than those with less water (like chips and pretzels).
High-fiber foods also tend to be low in energy density—meaning they’re less calorie dense because they take up more space in your stomach. This is why you feel full after eating a big bowl of salad compared to when you ate a big bag of potato chips or pretzels!
Choose whole grains
Avoid refined carbohydrates and go with whole grains instead. Examples of foods made from whole grains include brown rice, quinoa, oatmeal, barley and steel-cut oats.
Read labels to make sure products say 100 percent whole grain or that they contain at least three grams of fiber per serving.
Get in five servings of fruits and vegetables each day: In general, diabetics are encouraged to eat more vegetables because they have less sugar than fruits. That said, all fruits are good choices — just be sure to keep track of how much sugar you consume from all sources daily.
Include at least two servings from either group (vegetables or fruit) every day. Eat low-fat dairy products: Dairy is great for diabetes management, as long as it’s low fat. Aim for one to two servings of low-fat dairy each day, which should provide between 30 and 45 grams of protein. Make healthy snacks your new best friends:
A diet rich in healthy fats can help lower blood glucose levels by keeping insulin production steady. Fats also help you feel full longer after eating so you’re less likely to snack on unhealthy items later on in the day when your blood glucose levels are down again.
Avoid unhealthy fats
Getting rid of bad fats is one of the best ways to get good fats into your diet. Replace trans and saturated fats in your diet with healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated ones.
Trans fat is most commonly found in partially hydrogenated oils, shortening, margarine, and vegetable shortening. Saturated fat is mainly found in animal products like meat, butter and cheese.
Mono-and polyunsaturated fats are found in foods like fish, avocados, seeds and nuts. A few tips on getting more good fats into your diet:
Use olive oil instead of other cooking oils; choose lean meats; eat eggs (they’re full of heart-healthy omega 3 fatty acids); swap out white bread for whole wheat; eat avocado on top of salads or sandwiches instead of mayonnaise or other high-fat condiments.
Meal Prep Helps Control Blood Sugar Levels
A study from Yale University found that people with type 2 diabetes who ate at fast-food restaurants more than twice per week saw their A1C levels spike by 0.4 points. That rise could be due to higher carbs, salt, and fat content of pre-packaged foods.
No bueno! By planning your meals in advance and bringing your own food to work or school, you can take control of your meal schedule and prep ahead so there are no surprises.
Meal planning makes it easier to maintain portion control, which is crucial for preventing blood sugar spikes after meals.
Small Changes Can Have Big Results
Be wary of fad diets and quick weight-loss plans. Fad diets are often unhealthy, or they may not fit with your lifestyle. Always talk to your doctor before starting any diet; he or she can help you create a healthy plan that’s right for you.
If you’re looking to lose weight, start small and make incremental changes to your eating habits. Aim to eliminate just one sugary drink from your daily routine, eat more vegetables at lunch and snack on fruit instead of chips.
For example, if you usually have two slices of pizza as a snack at work each day, try replacing one slice with carrot sticks or celery sticks instead.
Making these kinds of little swaps is an easy way to cut calories without feeling deprived. Over time, these little changes will add up—and so will your results!