A simple healthy diet plan can help you control your blood sugar if you are diabetic. Here are some ideas to get you started, from meal planning to exchange lists and counting carbohydrates.
Make your calories count with these nutritious foods:
- Healthy carbohydrates. During digestion, sugars (simple carbohydrates) and starches (complex carbohydrates) break down into blood glucose. Focus on the healthiest carbohydrates, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes (beans, peas and lentils) and low-fat dairy products.
- Fibre-rich foods. Dietary fibre includes all parts of plant foods that your body can’t digest or absorb. Fibre moderates how your body digests and helps control blood sugar levels. Foods high in fibre include vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes (beans, peas and lentils), whole-wheat flour and wheat bran.
- Heart-healthy fish. Eat heart-healthy fish at least twice a week. Fish can be a good alternative to high-fat meats. For example, cod, tuna and halibut have less total fat, saturated fat and cholesterol than do meat and poultry. Fish such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines and bluefish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which promote heart health by lowering blood fats called triglycerides.Avoid fried fish and fish with high levels of mercury, such as tilefish, swordfish and king mackerel.
- “Good” fats. Foods containing monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats can help lower your cholesterol levels. These include avocados, almonds, pecans, walnuts, olives, and canola, olive and peanut oils. But don’t overdo it, as all fats are high in calories.
A sample menu
When planning meals, take into account your size and activity level. The following menu is tailored for someone who needs 1,200 to 1,600 calories a day.
- Breakfast. Whole-wheat bread (1 medium slice) with 2 teaspoons jelly, 1/2 cup shredded wheat cereal with a cup of 1 per cent low-fat milk, a piece of fruit, coffee
- Lunch. Cheese and veggie pita, medium apple with 2 tablespoons almond butter, water
- Dinner. Salmon, 1 1/2 teaspoons vegetable oil, small baked potato, 1/2 cup carrots, side salad (1 1/2 cups spinach, 1/2 of a tomato, 1/4 cup chopped bell pepper, 2 teaspoons olive oil, 1 1/2 teaspoons red wine vinegar), unsweetened iced tea
- Snack. 2 1/2 cups popcorn or orange with 1/2 cup 1 per cent low-fat cottage cheese
Foods to Avoid
Diabetes increases your risk of heart disease and stroke by accelerating the development of clogged and hardened arteries. Foods containing the following can work against your goal of a heart-healthy diet.
- Saturated fats. High-fat dairy products and animal proteins such as beef, hot dogs, sausage and bacon contain saturated fats.
- Trans fats. These types of fats are found in processed snacks, baked goods, shortening and stick margarines. Avoid these items.
- Cholesterol. Sources of cholesterol include high-fat dairy products and high-fat animal proteins, egg yolks, liver, and other organ meats. Aim for no more than 200 milligrams (mg) of cholesterol a day.
- Sodium. Aim for less than 2,300 mg of sodium a day. However, if you also have hypertension, you should aim for less than 1,500 mg of sodium a day.
Creating A Plan
A registered dietitian can help you put together a diet based on your health goals, tastes and lifestyle. He or she can also talk with you about how to improve your eating habits, for example, by choosing portion sizes that suit the needs for your size and level of activity. With a dietitian’s help, you may find one or a combination of the following methods works for you:
Learn more and click the links below: ⇓⇓
- The Plate Method: https://bolafit.com/2018/12/15/tips-to-portion-control/
- Counting Carbohydrates: https://bolafit.com/2018/07/12/how-do-you-calculate-and-track-your-macronutrients/
- The exchange list system: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/lose_wt/eat/fd_exch.htm
- Glycemic Index: http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/what-can-i-eat/understanding-carbohydrates/glycemic-index-and-diabetes.html
Embracing your healthy-eating plan is the best way to keep your blood glucose level under control and prevent diabetes complications. And if you need to lose weight, you can tailor it to your specific goals.
Aside from managing your diabetes, a diabetes diet offers other benefits, too. Because a diabetes diet recommends generous amounts of fruits, vegetables and fibre, following it is likely to reduce your risk of cardiovascular diseases and certain types of cancer. And consuming low-fat dairy products can reduce your risk of low bone mass in the future.
If you have diabetes, it’s important that you partner with your doctor and dietitian to create an eating plan that works for you. Use healthy foods, portion control and scheduling to manage your blood glucose level. If you stray from your prescribed diet, you run the risk of fluctuating blood sugar levels and more-serious complications.