A healthy diet is one of the best tools for managing diabetes. A regular schedule of meals or snacks that includes the right nutrients, in the right amounts, will help keep glucose levels, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and weight under control. But consistently eating well can be a challenge. And no single diet is right for everyone. That is why it is important to identify individual needs and preferences and plan accordingly. These tips can help:
Make a plan – With your doctor or dietitian, create personal guidelines for your daily diet, including amounts and kinds of foods, frequency and times to eat, and whether weight maintenance or weight loss is one of your objectives. Be sure to consider medications, including insulin, and exercise when you make your plan.
Eat a balanced diet – Choose from all of the food groups, including vegetables, fruits, lean meat, fish and poultry, beans, low – fat dairy products, and whole grains.
Check portion size – If you are trying to lose weight, cut back on the portion size to help reduce calorie intake. To learn more on Portion Control.
Increase meal/snack frequency – Spread your calorie intake throughout the day with small, more frequent meals and snacks to help keep glucose levels steady.
Choose low – glycemic index carbohydrates –The glycemic index (GI) is a value assigned to foods based on their effects on post – meal blood glucose levels. For example, foods with a low GI, such as lentils, prunes, or apples, will be digested and absorbed more slowly than white rice, baked potatoes, or other high GI foods. Foods high in mono unsaturated fatty acids (MUFA), such as nuts, cashews, avocados, olive oil and canola oil, also have a low GI. Diets high in MUFA may have beneficial effects on blood lipid levels compared to a high carbohydrate diet.
Monitor your diet regularly – Keep a diary to track the kinds and amounts of food you eat, along with your glucose levels and weight – see how the foods in your diet influence glycemic control and weight management.