If you’re a person with diabetes, you may juggle a lot of concerns. Eating a healthy diet is a big part of the balancing act. That being said, what you put in your system on a daily basis is a powerful tool when managing diabetes.1,2
Eating doesn’t have to be boring. It’s all about finding the right balance that works for you!2
The one key to feeling your best lies in the food you eat—so don’t give up. You can start by working with a dietitian to make an eating plan that works for you. Be sure to include foods you like and don’t be afraid to try something new.
Here, we explore some tips to help you better be on track with your diet.
1. Shop smart1
When grocery shopping, plan ahead for the week and always bring a list — and a full stomach.
Stay on the perimeter of the store, and stock up on seasonal produce that’s on sale. not everything has to be fresh. Plain, frozen vegetables and fruits can be easy and convenient substitutes.
Look for whole-grain, high-fiber foods and limit your time on the aisles where there are boxed foods that may not be healthy. Take a close look at serving size and salt and sugar content.
Avoid products with too much sugar and look for its other names in the ingredient list such as sucrose, honey and high fructose corn syrup.
Be wary of buy-one get-one free deals, because if they’re not healthy, you’re getting more than you bargained for.
2. Balance your plate1
Ready for dinner? Your best bet is to start with a small plate. Fill half of it with vegetables or a salad.
For the next quarter, consider a healthy carb like a small, plain sweet potato, brown rice, whole-wheat couscous or whole-grain pasta.
Finish off your plate with a lean protein, like a piece of fish or poultry without the skin.
3. Dining out1
When dining out, call ahead or look online to find out what’s on the menu.
The biggest thing is portion control — for everyone, but especially for people living with diabetes. Look at the amount of food that’s on your plate.
Consider ordering a salad and an appetizer for your meal. If you get an entrée, split it or send half of it back to be boxed up to go.
Keep a polite distance from the bread basket, but make friends with your water glass. Watch out for the calories in other beverages.
Start off with a small portion and wait 20 minutes. Give your stomach enough time to tell your brain that you’ve eaten and are getting full.
4. More tips1
Whether you’re at home or on the go, it’s not always easy to make the right food choices.
It’s complicated out there. That’s one of the reasons we recommend that if you have diabetes, see a dietitian. It’s best to have someone who can guide you through your own individual eating plan and give you advice on how to make difficult choices.
Searching for healthy snack ideas?1
- Small apple with tablespoon of peanut butter
- ½ cup carrots with two tablespoons of low-fat cottage cheese or hummus
- Small handful of unsalted nuts
- Two whole-grain crackers with low-fat, low-salt cheese
- ½ cup plain low fat or fat free Greek yogurt, topped with ½ cup blueberries and a sprinkle of cinnamon
References: 1. The Diabetic Diet [Internet]. www.heart.org. 2015 [cited 9 August 2020]. Available from: https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/diabetes/prevention–treatment-of-diabetes/the-diabetic-diet. 2. Nutrition Overview | ADA [Internet]. Diabetes.org. 2020 [cited 9 August 2020]. Available from: https://www.diabetes.org/nutrition