If you have type 2 diabetes, food plays an important role in your day-to-day well being and may even be the key to eventually overcoming diabetes. If you eat correctly, you are more likely to feel good, lose unwanted weight and lower your risk for heart disease and stroke. It is important to eat strategically. You should not only choose appropriate foods, but also schedule meals and snacks so that you keep your blood glucose in check.
Below are a few helpful diet tips for diabetics. This information is not intended to replace the help of a medical professional. Before you create your diabetic diet plan, talk to your doctor about what your specific blood levels should be before eating, as well as 1 to 2 hours after eating. This information will help you map out your schedule. Determine how often you should be checking your blood glucose level and schedule two or more A1C tests every year to monitor your progress. Visiting your doctor is the first step to creating a strong diabetic diet strategy.
Diabetes Diet Tips:
- Reduce the amounts of fried foods you consume as they are high calorie. Purchase leaner cuts of meat and opt to roast, bake or pan fry with fat free cooking spray or a little olive oil.
- It goes without saying, but eat more fruits and vegetables (but don't fry them!) Most people think they hate fruits and vegetables, but in truth they just haven’t discovered how they like them. Try a new fruit every week. Learn new ways to prep vegetables. Dip raw vegetable in hummus. Explore non-traditional and exotic preparation of vegetables.
- Switch to low-fat or fat-free dairy products and mayonnaise. You can also substitute mayonnaise with mustard and butter with reduced fat spread rather.
- Studies have shown a correlation between foods high on the Glycemic Index (GI) (i.e. simple carbohydrates) and diabetes as these foods elevate blood sugar rapidly. If possible, avoid high GI foods entirely or limit their consumption. Only buy whole grain breads and/or cereals.
- Consider complementing your diet with physical exercise, talk to your doctor prior to embarking on any new physical activities and be sure to purchase a pair of high quality diabetic running shoes to protect your feet.
- Spend a month studying portion control. Measure all your foods and learn to understand what constitutes a serving. For example, a serving of dairy would be one cup of non-fat / low-fat yogurt, cottage cheese or milk. Many people consume two or three servings in a sitting without even knowing it! After a month of carefully measuring portions, you will be better able to gauge what you should be consuming.
- Read about nutrition a couple times each week. Knowledge is power and will help you make better choices. Avoid fad diets and stick to proven nutrition principals and respected publications.
- When in doubt, cook at home. It is much harder to control what you eat in a restaurant or drive-through.
- If you are in a cooking rut, take a cooking class or two. You can attend lot of free classes by simply visiting Youtube.
- Limit your alcohol intake as it can make your blood glucose level crash.
- Give yourself credit! Major lifestyle changes are difficult and you will not always be perfect. Just remind yourself that these changes are for you, your body and your long-term health. It takes time to acclimate to a new diet regimen, so be patient... low-fat milk may taste strange the first few weeks, but take heart! You will get used to it and eventually prefer it.
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