When you have diabetes, managing your lifestyle choices is an important part of your health regimen. This can include keeping a healthy meal plan and incorporating physical exercise into your day. Sometimes, though, people worry that these needs mean you have to kiss your favorite, tasty foods goodbye. The good news is that you don’t have to feel deprived just because you have diabetes! Our registered dietitians show how to eat good food while managing your diabetes.
Nutrition Tips for Diabetics:
1. Watch your serving size. Most of the food we eat turns into glucose (sugar) to fuel our bodies. Serving sizes can help us get the right amount of the right foods to help maintain normal blood sugar levels. A small allowance for a tasty treat can be balanced by filling the rest of your plate with low-carbohydrate and low-sugar foods. Using the guidelines of the diabetic food plate – defined as 25% protein, 25% starchy foods, and 50% non-starchy vegetables – can help you get the benefits of appropriate serving sizes with a variety of flavors.
2. Eat More Fiber. Fiber helps your body control your blood sugar levels. Instead of avoiding favorites like pancakes, try using whole-wheat flour and applesauce instead of bleached flour and butter. You can even swap out your white flour tortillas with whole-wheat to make a more diabetic-friendly version of your favorite dish.
3. Always Make Room for Veggies. Remember tip #1? You want to watch your serving sizes and make sure to balance a treat with a healthy, low-carbohydrate option. When you are preparing each meal, designate half of your plate for deep green or orange veggies before adding the rest of your meal. Enjoy the sweetness of a baked sweet potato or a crisp spinach salad. Other good, colorful vegetables include Brussels sprouts, broccoli, winter squash, or pumpkin. These are power foods that are healthy additions to your meal plan, but tasty too!
4. Cut out the sodium. When cooking or eating out, avoid foods with a high salt content. Augment your favorite recipe with a low-sodium option by substituting salt with different spices and herbs to add in a delicious flavor. Many of these flavor-packed herbs are low in sugar as well, making them even better options.
5. Cut out useless sugars. Products like sweet teas and soda carry loads of sugar. The calories in these beverages provide no value for you nutritionally, and they can take up a significant portion of your daily carbohydrate intake goals. By eliminating them entirely from your nutrition plan, you can balance a healthy meal with tasty options like sweet fruits, whole-wheat treats, or other flavorful foods that still have diabetic-friendly glucose levels.
Managing your diabetes shouldn’t mean that you are faced with bland and boring meal options. These are just a few ways to aid you in creating a nutritious plan that’s comprised of appetizing and enjoyable meals. Our registered dietitians can also create personalized meal plans for our diabetic patients that include recipes, nutrition goals, and other healthy tips to help you continue to enjoy delicious meals while managing your diabetes.