Diabetes is a chronic disease that can leave a patient emotionally drained in addition to being physically tired. There are tons of questions that pop up as the disease is diagnosed. The most common of these relate to the food that you are supposed to eat.
You may get worried about the new food restrictions that you need to follow, which complicates the food matters further. Here are some helpful tips that can punch away some of your confusion:
1. Always keep something to eat at hand
Your meeting can go longer than you expected or you can get stuck in traffic. This is why it is crucial that you have some snacks to eat whenever needed. A nutritious high-protein snack can help you better than having to go through the hassle of stopping by a drive thru or vending machine.
Try not to go five hours a day without eating anything because it can destablize your blood sugar levels, leaving you hungry as well. A good snack option is nuts. These boast an excellent amount of protein and fiber that can leave you feeling full for longer.
2. Don’t miss your breakfast
Skipping breakfast is not a healthy option for people with diabetes no matter what they have heard. In fact, a 2015 study that appeared in the journal Diabetes Care concluded that those people with diabetes type II who skipped their breakfast showed higher levels of blood glucose after dinner and lunch.
Therefore, instead of skipping meals, aim to eat balanced meals every 3-5 hours. To this end, add some healthy snacks to your bag as well. All these steps will help you maintain and monitor your blood sugar better.
3. Fill half of your plate with vegetables
Eating vegetables is the healthiest thing you can do for your diabetes diet. In fact, it is the key to managing your sugar-related chronic condition. This is because veggies supply a natural content of dietary fiber, which plays a significant role in helping you keep full for a longer time and regulating blood sugar levels.
4. You shouldn’t eat fats
Fats are notorious when it comes to weight loss program and diet plans for diabetes patients. However, that’s only true if you scratch at the surface of the matter. In reality, not all fats are bad.
Diabetes patients shouldn’t avoid fat. In fact, the American Diabetes Association notes that the type of fat that you eat is way more essential than the amount of fat you eat. In other words, aim for adding healthy fats to your plate.
To this end, some of the food sources of healthy fat include olive oil, avocados, nuts, and fish. Besides containing good fats, avocados also boast a low glycemic load. This means that the odds of a spike in your blood sugar level are low when you have avocados.
5. Check blood sugar regularly
Checking blood sugar frequently is the key to managing the chronic health condition. This is, particularly, important when you add new foods to your diet. So, a helpful tip here is to check your blood sugar several times a day.
If you check your blood sugar only once in a day, then you only get an idea of how your blood sugar looks like at that specific instance. However, you need an idea of how your blood sugar levels are doing on the whole and how they are affected by factors such as exercise, food, and stress.
Therefore, a good way to understand your blood sugar’s reaction to factors is to test your sugar markers before eating or exercising and two hours after that. This will give you an idea of how the sugar levels are trending.
6. You need high-quality carbs
Another common misconception among diabetes patients is that they are not supposed to eat carbs. Much like fats, however, carbs have gained a poor reputation. Like fats, not all carbohydrates are bad.
Some high-quality carbs such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are essential additions to the diet of a person with diabetes. However, not all carbs are created equal. Therefore, concentrate on adding slowly digested complex carbohydrates to your diet that are full of fiber and resistant starch.
These help reduce the amount of simple sugars in the blood and also help with controlling glucose levels. Experts suggest that having slow-digested carbs can help lessen disturbance in your blood glucose levels.
7. Paleo diet is not for you
A paleo diet is focused on the consumption of nuts, oil, veggies, fruits, seeds, seafood, and meat. All these are healthy options in moderation. However, the meal plan shuns legumes, potatoes, cereal grains, dairy items.
All these foods that are prohibited on a paleo diet are, however, healthy for a diabetes patient. People with diabetes need to eat complex carbs to trim their risk of cardiovascular diseases. Therefore, eating whole grains, lentils, fruits, beans, and veggies are crucial for controlling the bad cholesterol levels.
In fact, legumes and cereals are linked with improved glycemic control in instances of diabetes as well as those with insulin resistance. Thus, following the paleo diet isn’t in the best interests of someone who has diabetes.
8. Eat less salt
A significant amount of salt in your diet can amp up the risk of high blood pressure. This, in turn, increases the likelihood of stroke and heart diseases. Moreover, in the case of diabetes, you are at an increased risk of such conditions.
In this regard, try to limit your salt intake to no more than six grams or 1 tsp in a day. Several pre-packaged foods contain salt so don’t forget to check the food labels to select a food item that has less salt.
Moreover, cooking meals at home will help you keep an eye on how much salt you are adding to your meals. Besides, you can also replace the salt in your meals with spices and herbs for some extra flavor.
9. Trim sugar content
Chopping your sugar intake is essential. This can be challenging in the beginning. However, taking small steps at a time can help you cut down excess sugar from your diet. To start with, replace the energy drinks, fruit juices, and sugary drinks with plain milk, water, and tea or coffee minus the sugar.
10. Drink alcohol in moderation
Alcohol showcases a high-calorie content. Thus, if you drink it but are trying to shed the extra pounds, then alcohol won’t help you at all. Plus, alcohol consumption can increase your risk of cardiovascular diseases as well. Try to keep your intake to a maximum of 14 units every week.
Moreover, ensure that you take 14 units throughout the week instead of binge-drinking them. Remember that if you take diabetes medications or insulin, then it is best not to drink alcohol on an empty stomach.
All in all, these tips should give guidance when planning meals. Diabetes can be tough to manage. Following such guidelines can help to navigate through the confusion with peace. To quickly recap, limit your sugar and salt content intake, reduce alcohol consumption, eat more fruits and veggies, and have more healthy fats.