Hearing that you have diabetes is a very emotional experience and many questions go through your mind. When I was told I had gestational diabetes 14 years ago I’m pretty sure I went home and cried, feeling the “why me”? reaction. Well all those emotions are perfectly normal and you really just need to let yourself go through them.
At the same time getting some direction on what to eat is very helpful. You will probably get advice from everyone around you but if you want some professional advice to get you started, here are some tips:
1. Until your blood sugars are in control try to completely cut out the sweetened beverages, including soda pop, juice, punch, sweetened teas, etc. Water and other unsweetened drinks are your best choice. Milk does have some natural sugar also but you don’t need to cut that out. Just keep your serving to an 8oz glass 2-3 times/day.
2. Eat 3 meals a day. They don’t need to be big meals but your body will do better if you eat regularly.
3. Trim down the super-sized meals, especially the starches. Often our evening meal is our biggest of the day. If you tend to have large portions of bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, corn or other starches try to cut those down to smaller portions. It’s not necessary to completely cut them out, but if you feel you are overeating just cut them in half.
4. Try more non-carb snacks when you get hungry. Some choices are nuts, raw veggies with dip, string cheese, hard boiled egg, beef jerky.
5. For sweets craving go ahead and have a little of what you are craving. Just try to keep it to a small portion such as a couple small cookies or snack size candy bar. You can try some sugar free jello or fruit to satisfy the sweet craving also.
6. Keep moving. You may not feel like exercising but try to walk or do activities that keep you moving unless your doctor has given you activity restrictions. If you have type 2 diabetes and your body is able to use its own insulin then moving the arm and leg muscles can help lower the blood sugar.
7. Make sure you connect with a dietitian or diabetes educator to help you learn how to manage your diabetes. After meeting with a dietitian most people are relieved to find out they don’t have to give up their favorite foods. Getting the knowledge, tools and ongoing support is key to not letting diabetes take over your life!