When people are diagnosed with diabetes, one of the first questions they always ask themselves is, “What can I eat now?” Making healthy changes to your diet to best manage your diabetes doesn’t have to be difficult, and with a few simple tips, you’ll be on your way to feeling confident about your food choices. In this video, hosted by certified diabetes educator and registered dietitian Alison Massey, learn simple steps for healthy eating with diabetes.
Healthy Eating with Diabetes
Hi, I’m Alison Massey, Registered Dietician, Certified Diabetes Educator and Contributor to Diabetes Self-Management Magazine.
What to Eat with Diabetes
When people are diagnosed with diabetes, one of the first questions they always ask themselves is “What can I eat now?”. Making healthy changes to your diet to best manage your diabetes doesn’t have to be difficult. And with a few simple tips, you’ll be on your way to feeling confident about your food choices, regardless if you’re preparing a healthy meal at home or eating out.
Depending on its composition, food is typically divided into one of three nutrient categories. Carbohydrates, Protein or Fat. They are all important for a healthy diet and provide the body with the energy and fuel it needs. But you should be aware that these different types of nutrients do have different effects on blood glucose levels.
Carbohydrates and Diabetes
Carbohydrates are sugars and starches, and they include grains, pasta, rice, bread, fruit and fruit juices, vegetables, especially starchy vegetables including peas, potatoes, corn and beans, milk and yogurt and other dairy foods and any food with added sugar. These foods give our body energy and are broken down into glucose, a type of sugar that is released into the blood stream. Carbohydrates have the most impact on elevating your blood glucose levels. So, speaking with a certified diabetes educator or a registered dietician about the right portions of carbohydrate foods to include in your meal plan is key.
How Does Protein and Fat Affect Blood Sugar
Now, lets talk about proteins and fats. They tend to affect blood glucose levels minimally and not contribute significantly to a rise in blood sugar. Protein foods help our body build and repair muscles and include items such as beef, turkey, chicken, fish, eggs and nuts and seeds. Fat, meanwhile, plays an important role in helping insulate our bodies. As well as helping us absorb fat soluble vitamins in keeping our skin and hair healthy. Fats include oils, butters, salad dressing, mayonnaise, and nuts. In each category of food, regardless if its primarily carbohydrate, protein or fat, there are some better choices to include in your diet and others that are better to limit. With that in mind, lets break down the basics of creating a healthy meal or snack.
Diabetic Healthy Meal Plan
Focusing on filling one half of your plate with low-carbohydrate vegetables or starting your meal with a homemade vegetable soup. Not only are these foods packed with important vitamins and minerals, but they are low in carbohydrates and have a minimal effect on your blood glucose.
Choose healthy snacks to have between meals such as nuts or seeds, a small piece of fruit sliced vegetables with dip, instead of high-fat and high-carbohydrate options such as chips, crackers, candy and cookies.
Stay well hydrated with low-carbohydrate beverages such as water or unsweetened tea. And avoid your limit to sweet stuff including sodas, juices, lemonades and sweet teas.
Lastly, eat smaller portions of carbohydrate foods. Learning the right amount of carbohydrates to include at your meals and snacks is key. Carbohydrate counting is a healthy skill for many people with diabetes. And your diabetes educator can help you how to count those carbs. At the end of the day, it all comes down to portion control.
Eating a healthy diet when you have diabetes doesn’t need to be difficult when you keep healthy eating principles in mind. Check out DiabetesSelfManagement.com and subscribe to Diabetes Self-Management magazine for more tips and healthy recipes.