Initially, being diagnosed with diabetes can be a little overwhelming! However, with the right food and lifestyle changes, your diabetes can be controlled very well. Thankfully, managing diabetes, isn’t about cutting out all of the foods you love. If your diabetes is well controlled, you should still be able to enjoy a wide variety of foods.
What are the keys to successfully managing diabetes?
- Taking your prescribed medication at the allocated times.
- Eating a healthy diet.
- Eating regular meals.
- Maintaining blood sugars within the recommended range.
- Maintaining a healthy body weight.
- Physical activity.
- Monitoring blood sugars (where appropriate).
What is a healthy diet for diabetes?
The dietary advice for diabetes does not differ from that of the general population. That’s good news, as it means you don’t need to change to a strict eating plan, which can be a pain, and is often difficult to stick with! Please take a look at my five part series on The Balance of Good Health, for tips and advice on achieving a healthy diet. You may also be interested in reading more about the Glycemic Index for diabetics.
Establishing a regular eating pattern is extremely important for diabetics, as this will help to maintain your blood sugar levels within the normal range, and prevent those unhealthy “peaks and troughs.” Generally, you should aim for 3 meals, and 2-3 healthy snacks each day.
Depending on your medication (check with your GP), you may be at risk of hypoglycemia (low blood sugars) if you don’t eat regularly. Therefore, try to ensure that you have access to healthy snacks at all times. Initially, this may require extra time, in the preparation of these snacks, however it is worth the effort, and will soon become a way of life for you!
As we’ve discussed previously, portion control is key to weight maintenance/loss. It is also important for controlling carbohydrate intake in diabetes. Here is a quick reminder of what your plate should look like. Each time you sit down for a meal, draw imaginary lines on your plate, dividing it into four sections:
- 25% of your plate should be filled with grains or starchy foods, such as rice, pasta, potatoes, corn, or peas.
- 25% should be protein foods, such as meat, fish, poultry, eggs, tofu.
- 50% of your plate should be filled with non-starchy vegetables, such as broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, or mixed salad.
- Finish off with a piece of fruit and your meal is pretty well balanced!
Rate Your Plate to find out how it matches up with the above recommendations.
Taking steps to follow a balanced diet, will really help to control your blood sugars, cholesterol and triglycerides, and also blood pressure. This will ultimately reduce your risk of developing the diabetic complications mentioned yesterday.
This is the second in a series of discussions on diabetes. Please be sure to contact me with any other topics you would like to read on this subject.
Part 1 What is Diabetes?
Please note, if you have diabetes, you should be regularly monitored by your GP and dietitian. These notes are for general guidance only, and are not a substitute for regular diabetic checkups.