Since certain foods, such as carbohydrates, directly affect blood sugar levels, your diet is one of the most important factors in the fight against diabetes. Carbohydrates are found in foods like grains, fruits, dairy products, legumes, and sweets.
When metabolized carbohydrates are converted to sugar (glucose), which is the body's main source of energy, insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas, carries glucose from the bloodstream to the cells for use as energy.
When you have diabetes, it can be difficult to regulate your blood sugar level, either because your pancreas does not produce enough insulin or because the insulin it produces is not used effectively. Knowing how to eat a balanced, carbohydrate-modified diet can help you lose weight if you need to, and better control your blood sugar.
7 ways to eat healthy for diabetes
A balanced carbohydrate diet may mean reducing carbohydrate intake, counting carbohydrates, or following a consistent carbohydrate diet. There are many types of meal plans that can help you lose weight. Take the time to learn some of the best diabetes nutrition practices to get started.
What is the best way to eat with diabetes?
Learn all you can about nutrition. Find out what foods you can eat, what foods you should limit, when you should eat, and how to control your portions.
Keep in mind that exact servings vary from person to person based on caloric needs, weight, and more. Here are some great ways to get started.
Practice the plate method
The plate method is an easy way to control food portions without directly counting carbohydrates. Your goal is to increase the amount of non-starchy vegetables , whole grains, and lean proteins.
The platelet method can help you increase your fiber intake. Foods high in fiber can slow the rate at which blood sugar levels rise. A high-fiber diet can also help you lose weight, as high-fiber foods are metabolized more slowly, helping you feel full.
Feeling fuller faster can help lower your calorie intake and help you lose weight. Fiber-rich foods are also often rich in vitamins and minerals, which improves your nutrition.
To practice the plate method, simply divide the plate into three sections. Prepare half a bowl of non-starchy vegetables like lettuce, broccoli, green beans, cauliflower, tomatoes, etc.
Allocate a quarter of your plate to lean proteins like fried chicken, broiled or baked fish, or lean meats like sirloin. Your protein serving should be 3 to 4 ounces (the size of a deck of cards or the palm of your hand).
Finally, cook a quarter plate of complex carbohydrates like whole grains like quinoa, brown rice, barley, starchy vegetables like baked sweet potatoes, or legumes like chickpeas or black beans. Your serving should be about 1 cup, or about a fist full.
You can add some healthy fats to your food, like a serving of avocado or olive oil when cooking. A serving of oil is about 1 teaspoon and a serving of avocado is about a quarter of an avocado.
Depending on your caloric needs, you can also increase your fat intake. If you're still hungry after your meal, eat another serving of non-starchy vegetables. Make sure you eat slowly and enjoy your food.
Eat a consistent carbohydrate diet
If you have diabetes, you need to monitor your carbohydrate intake because carbohydrates are the foods that affect your blood sugar the most. A consistent carbohydrate diet means that you consume about the same amount of carbohydrates at the same time each day.
This does not mean that you should eat the same foods every day, but strive to eat the same amount of carbohydrates with each meal. For example, if you are told to eat 45 grams of carbohydrates for breakfast and lunch, 15 grams of carbohydrates for snacks, and 60 grams of carbohydrates for dinner, you should try to stick to this every day.
A consistent carbohydrate diet can help keep blood sugar levels stable and prevent fluctuations. For example, if you ate a small amount of carbohydrate for breakfast one day and then ate a high-carbohydrate meal the next day, your blood sugar is likely to rise dramatically. The consistency helps keep blood sugar levels stable.
Limit certain foods
The restriction of certain types of foods applies to all people with diabetes. And honestly, even if you don't have diabetes, limiting these foods is part of a healthy diet. Certain types of refined and processed carbohydrates, such as white bread, pasta, juices, sweets, cakes, and candies, can quickly raise blood sugar levels. In addition, they contain very few nutrients and are rich in calories that can cause weight gain.
Although many people with diabetes believe that they cannot eat fruits, fresh, whole fruits, such as berries, can be part of a diabetic diet . You need to think carefully about your serving of fruit and how you eat it.
Try to avoid fruit juices altogether unless you have low blood sugar. Try to limit the number of fruit servings to 2-3 per day and try to avoid certain types of fruits , such as nuts and grapes, which can quickly raise blood sugar levels.
Replace white bread, pasta, and bagels with whole grains like whole wheat bread or whole wheat pasta. These changes can help regulate blood sugar levels, increase fiber intake, and improve your diet. K
Keep in mind that while you've switched from refined carbohydrates to whole grains, your portions are still important. For example, if you replace sweet porridge with oatmeal in the morning, that does not mean that you can eat unlimited amounts. The carbohydrate ratio is still important for both calorie control and blood sugar control.
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More on portion control
When it comes to treating diabetes, the amount of carbohydrates is just as important as the quality of the carbohydrates. The amount of carbohydrates you need per day can be determined based on your weight, activity level, calorie needs, and how your body reacts to carbohydrates.
Talk to your diabetologist about how many carbohydrates you need per day so that you can monitor your carbohydrate servings in grams throughout the day. If you are not interested in counting carbohydrates, or if it seems too complicated, try practicing the plate method.
One carbohydrate serving is roughly 15 grams, which is not to say you're limited to 15 grams per meal, but we are using 15 grams as a guide. Most people can consume about 45 grams of carbohydrates per meal. Some people benefit from eating fewer carbohydrates, while others may need more if they are more active or need a higher calorie intake.
Depending on whether you are using the metabolic method (the old method of counting carbohydrates) or counting the number of carbohydrates in grams, your diabetes instructor can teach you how to count carbohydrate servings or total grams.
A balanced diet also means controlling your carbohydrate-free servings, especially if you are trying to lose weight. If you reduce your carb intake and start eating unlimited cheese (because it's low carb), you probably won't lose weight.
Here are some servings:
- One serving of fruit: 1 whole piece, 1 cup of berries, 1/2 cup of mixed fruit or melons, 12-15 grapes or cherries (limit the amount of fruit to about 2-3 servings per day).
- One serving of starch: 1 slice of bread, 1/3 cup of cooked pasta or rice, 1/2 cup of boiled oatmeal, 3/4 cup of unsweetened cereal, 1/3 cup of beans, 1 small potato (about size of a computer mouse).
- Protein and fat do not contain carbohydrates, but they still contain calories. Some research suggests that a diet rich in protein and fat can help improve blood sugar levels. Each person should have a different eating plan, because what works for you may not work for someone else. Talk to your doctor if this is right for you.
- Protein: 1 serving per meal is about 3-4 ounces, about the size of a deck of cards or the palm of your hand.
- Fat: 1 serving: 1 teaspoon olive oil, 1/3 avocado, ~ 1 teaspoon walnut oil. Again, this does not mean that this is the limit for a single meal. Other foods, such as protein, also contain fat. Some studies have shown that the amount of fat is not as important as its quality. Try to choose healthy fats like olive oil, nuts, seeds, avocados. Read labels whenever possible and limit yourself to one serving. For example: if you are using mayonnaise or peanut butter, read the label and limit yourself to one serving.
- Non-starchy vegetables: 1/2 cup cooked or 1 cup raw. Try to eat 5-7 servings a day. Generally, non-starchy vegetables are one of the foods that you can eat in unlimited amounts. Charge whenever possible to stay full.
- Sweets: The American Heart Association suggests limiting the maximum amount of added sugar per day: Men: 150 calories per day (37.5 grams or 9 teaspoons). Women: 100 calories a day (25 grams or 6 teaspoons).
How to integrate the diet for diabetes in your daily life?
The American Diabetes Association encourages people with diabetes to receive personalized meal plans based on their likes / dislikes, culture, lifestyle, weight, educational level, and more.
Meeting with a certified dietitian or certified diabetes instructor is a great way to help you understand carbohydrates and a proper diabetes diet. They can provide you with a personalized meal plan and tools to help you start making the right choices. If you can't meet someone, approach your new diet gradually.
If you feel overwhelmed by all this information, start small. Go to the grocery store and buy something useful . If you don't have healthy foods in your home, you won't be able to cook healthy foods.
Second, get rid of temptations. You can't control what's outside of you, but you can control what's in your home. Add the cookies, cake, juice, and fries. If it's not there, you can't get it.
If you want to entertain yourself once in a while, take a walk. Go for an ice cream after your hike. You will appreciate it more. You will be amazed at how much you enjoy your new way of eating and how surprised you will be amazed at the way you ate before. But be patient. It takes time to develop new habits.
Remember, any change is worth it. Even the smallest change can help improve your energy and blood sugar levels. Set realistic goals. For example, if you're used to having donuts and sweet coffee for breakfast, switch to whole wheat peanut butter muffins and cut down on the amount of sugar in your coffee.
Focus on next week's lunch – add veggies to your sandwich or pack a small bag of chopped veggies. After about a week, decide to cook dinner twice a week and practice the plate method. Once you feel better, you will want to keep making changes.
Think about it: what you eat is an important part of your daily life. We are constantly tested to make healthy choices. Whether you decide to stick to a consistent carb diet, practice the plate method, or just cut back on carbs and make better food choices, you must decide that your new mantra is healthy eating.
The diabetes diet is not temporary. By setting small, realistic goals, you can achieve weight loss and lower blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure. It takes time to get used to a new way of eating, and you may slip from time to time. It's okay. Allow yourself to make a few mistakes and move on.
If you need help
As with everything new, sometimes we need help. Feel free to contact a board certified diabetes specialist or registered dietitian if you need help. They are experts and ready to help you. You can also use online resources like Get Meds Info for inspiration, advice, and more information .
If you are looking for more information, consider finding someone with diabetes to motivate and inspire you. You can always look to the American Diabetes Association or dLife.com for help finding an online way to meet other people with diabetes.
Eating a healthy diet is one of the most important ways to fight diabetes. While this may seem difficult, it is controllable. And today we are bombarded not only with unhealthy eating habits, but also with healthy ones. America has jumped on the healthy eating bandwagon. Use all the resources you have. Set small, tangible goals for yourself and use all your victories. You can eat and enjoy healthy foods.
Frequently asked questions
There are no taboo foods for people with diabetes. However, carbohydrates affect blood sugar levels, and people with diabetes generally need to monitor their carbohydrate intake.
Yes. In fact, people with diabetes need fast-acting sugar to treat hypoglycemia. Sugar rapidly raises blood glucose levels. However, when the blood sugar level is not low, people with diabetes should limit their sugar intake.
For people with type 2 diabetes, a balanced, portioned diet with an emphasis on non-starchy vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, and healthy fats is recommended.