Eating with Diabetes
The management of diabetes can easily be achieved though the combination of healthy eating, everyday exercise, and good control over weight. The meals need not be specially prepared.
However, you have to keep in mind that carbohydrate food containing lots of fiber like whole grain cereal and breads, fruit and vegetables and fruit which have very little fat, particularly saturated fat, be in your healthy eating plan. You should also pick foods with very little salt and only a fair amount of sugar.
Eating less can also assist you in keeping the right body weight as well as better control over your blood sugar. A dietitian will certainly be able to help to think of the right way to healthy eating.
Eating Healthily and Diabetes
If you are a diabetic, eating healthily can assist you to:
- Continue having overall good health.
- Control levels of blood sugar.
- Be able to have normal level of body fat.
- Have normal blood pressure.
- Have a the right body weight for your height.
- Slow, if not prevent, the possibility complications resulting from diabetes.
No Special Meals Are Necessary
Eating healthily is the same for everybody, regardless of whether they are non-diabetic or diabetic. There are no special foods to buy, no different way to prepare the meals. What is healthy for every family member is just as healthy for you.
Besides healthy eating, there is the need for exercise. Be active as much as possible throughout the day. Do a minimum half an hour of fairly strenuous exercise each day.(see Exercise Prescriptions for Diabetes)
If you are a diabetic, you should follow the recommendations on healthy eating given below:
- Follow the schedule set for your meals each day.
- Limit the size of all your meals since overeating can lead to weight gain.
- At every meal, eat carbohydrates such as cereals, bread, rice, pasta, starchy, fruit, vegetables, yogurt and milk.
- You should eat a minimum 130 gram of carbohydrates each day.
- Eat carbohydrate foods which have lots of fiber.
- From every food group, choose various types of healthy foods like cereals and breads, vegetables, fruit, dairy products with reduced fat and meat with fat trimmed off.
- Eat as little as possible saturated fats, dairy products with none of the fats removed, fat from meat, fried foods, pastries, cakes, and food containing coconut oil and palm oil. Dairy products, which are full of fat are milk, cream, yogurt, ice cream, cheese and butter, must be eaten sparsely. Always have the butcher trim off the fat from the meat you purchase. Eat less processed meats.
- Take small quantities of unsaturated fats such as olive, sunflower or canola, monounsaturated or polyunsaturated margarines, avocado, oily fish, nuts and seeds.
- Limit the times you consume small amounts of baked food such as cakes and cookies, even if they are not high in fat.
- Do not take sweets and sugary drinks such as cordial, soft drink, energy drinks, and sports drinks.
- Take less salt. So, use no salt when you cook or eat. Choose foods which contain less salt.
- Take less alcohol. Your limit should be two drinks a day. If possible, no alcohol a few days per week.
Diabetes and Gluten-free Diets -Video Guide
Most of your energy comes from carbohydrates. After being digested, carbohydrates convert and enter the bloodstream as glucose. Thus, the glucose level in your blood is mostly determined by the amount of carbohydrates you consume. So, one way to have sufficient energy throughout the day without having too high a level of blood glucose is to eat little but often similar amount of carbohydrates in scheduled meals each day.
If you need insulin or diabetes medication, you may require snacks during the period from one meal to the next. Get advice on having a meal plan which provides you with the correct quantity of carbohydrates.
The rate at which one carbohydrate food converts to glucose differs from that of another. Foods that are slower in converting to blood glucose are said to have a lower glycemic index (GI) and are good for the management of blood sugar.
These low GI foods include breads with lots of fiber, cereals, pasta, fruit, doongara or basmati rice, legumes and dairy products with reduced fat. Have a minimum of one food with low GI in each meal.
However, there are low glycemic index foods containing lots of fat and sugar, like chocolate, and ice-cream. Therefore, you must look for ingredients and calorie content in the labels of all packaged food.
Be aware that the gIycemic index values given to food are merely an average based on ten normal persons. Diabetics ought to check their levels of blood glucose to know how the different types of food can affect their levels of blood glucose.
Diabetics who eat healthy meals may take some sugar that comes together with the nutritious foods that they eat. Such nutritious foods could be cereals with lots of fiber, dried fruits or dairy products with reduced fat, not candies or sugary beverages.
Artificial sweeteners can be used instead of sugar since it can help to reduce calories and maintain a healthy weight.
Reduce Fat Intake Particularly Saturated Fat
As fats are high in calories, weight gain is a certainty with huge consumption of fats. This can lead to poor management of blood sugar levels as well as add blood fats (triglycerides and cholesterol). When it comes to heart diseases, the type of fat is important. So, diabetics ought to eat as little saturated fat as possible.
Saturated fat is found in meat fat, cream, full fat dairy foods, solid cooking fats like lard, butter, ghee and copha, oils like coconut and palm, as well as products with fat content such as oil-fried foods, cakes, biscuits and fast foods.
If you have to consume fats, choose:
- Monounsaturated fats(MUFA or MonoUnsaturated Fatty Acid) and oils:
These are available from canola or olive oil margarines; canola and olive oil; as well as avocados, seeds and nuts.
- Polyunsaturated fats(PUFA) and oils:
These are available in polyunsaturated margarines (read the label); soybean oil, sunflower oil, sesame seed oil, grape seed oil, corn oil and safflower oil; oily fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardine, herring and salmon; seeds as well as nuts.
Eat Moderate Quantities of Protein
For good growth and repair, our body needs protein. Many people can fulfill their need of protein with just one, maybe two, servings of protein foods a day. Your levels of blood sugar are normally not affected by your intake of protein. Protein can be found in skinless poultry, lean meat, eggs, seafood, unsalted nuts, legumes, and tofu. However, legumes can affect your levels of blood sugar as there is also carbohydrate in them.
Here are some foods rich in protein but low in fat:
- 2 eggs using any method of cooking except frying.
- 90 gram to 120 gram of seafood, fish, skinless poultry or lean meat.
- Peas, lentils or beans, half a cup.
An Example of a Meal Plan
You should choose those foods which you enjoy eating, making sure there are carbohydrates in every meal or snack you take so that your levels of blood sugar can be manageable. Your major meal could be at lunchtime or dinner time.
For breakfast, you may pick one of the following:
- A cup of cereal with lots of fiber, fat reduced milk as well as a fruit
- 2 slices high-fiber white bread; wholegrain or wholemeal bread; thinly spread with either margarine, jam, peanut butter, baked beans or sardines.
- Any non-alcohol drinks such as fruit juice, water or coffee.
- A fruit.
- Salad vegetables.
- A non-alcohol drink such as water, fruit juice, coffee or tea.
- 90 gram to 120 gram of skinless poultry, lean meat or seafood; or Â½ cup of beans or lentils; or 40g of low-fat cheese; or 2 eggs.
- A bread sandwich or six biscuits, either wholemeal or wholegrain with a thin spread of margarine, peanut butter or avocado.
- Cooked rice or pasta one cup.
- A medium-sized potato.
- Plenty of vegetables.
- About 100g of skinless poultry, lean meat or seafood; or ½ cup of beans or lentils.
- A fruit.
- Yogurt one tub.
- Non-alcohol drink such as water, coffee or tea.
Between Meal Snacks
Since not everybody have to eat snacks, it is advisable to discuss this with your medical practitioner. If you require snacks, make sure the food you choose are right for you. Healthy choices could be low fat yogurt, fresh fruits or those canned their own juice, high fiber crackers, fruit bread, or wholegrain bread; or a glass of skimmed milk.
Talk to a Dietitian
A diabetic must get healthy eating recommendations from the dietitian on the right foods to be taken by him or her as an individual.
- A special diet is not necessary for a diabetic.
- Eat a variety of healthy foods.
- It may be necessary to reduce the size of each meal to ensure the right weight for your height.
- Have fiber-rich carbohydrates and limit the intake of saturated fats, added salt and sugar.