Being diagnosed with diabetes can be a traumatic and frustrating experience. Millions of Americans struggle with how to maintain a normal life without giving up too much of a major part of their lives…FOOD! Though the purpose of food is to provide nutrients and substance to help people to survive, food for many people is even more than that! Living with diabetes means that one must control their blood glucose (or blood sugar) levels in order for the body to convert the glucose into energy. Glucose is made from the breaking down of eaten foods by insulin.
There are certain foods that definitely causes ones blood glucose levels to rise and those are foods with a high sugar content, foods such as watermelon, pasta, corn, cakes, syrups, cereals, white rice, etc. The list is huge. However, there are some key things for you to make note of as you are in progress of preventing or treating diabetes.
- Use tools or a journal to track daily food intake and exercise; there are lots of apps available (read this blog post on ideas)
- Exercise 30 minutes at least 3 days per week (increase to 5 days)
- Do NOT skip meals, this can lead to a change in blood sugar levels
- Target 45 to 75 grams of carbohydrates (carbs) per meal and no more than 15 to 30 grams per snack. Carbohydrates include fruits, grains, vegetables, beans and some dairy products count! A good rule of thumb is for people who consume a high carb, low fat diet, that they cut their carbs down to 125 grams and increase more protein and healthy fats.
- Eat at dark green and dark yellow vegetables
- Eat only 2 servings of fruit per day (1 svg of strawberries = 5 or 6 medium strawberries)
- Consume at least 2 tablespoons of flaxseed oil or 4 tablespoons of ground flaxseeds daily
- Eat foods rich in protein (beans, walnuts, almonds, quinoa, grass-fed beef, wild fish, antibiotic free poultry)
- Eat more whole grains instead of the “enriched grains”
- Add fiber daily if not consuming enough, such as 1 tablespoon of Psyllium Husks daily (read this post to find examples of foods high in fiber)
- Eliminate all foods made with “high fructose corn syrup”
- Use agave syrup or stevia instead of cane sugar
It’s important to work with a health care provider, dietician or nutritionist to determine a good healthy meal plan that will not only help control or prevent diabetes but also one that will work with your daily lifestyle.
To read more about the basics of diabetes, please read “Let’s Stop Diabetes.”
Vaccariello, E. (2006). Prevention Outsmart Diabetes. New York: Rodale Inc.
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