Once you have made up your mind to change your diet to get control of diabetes, try these meal-by-meal tips to get started on better blood sugar control.
- Stop drinking sugar.
You can get a dramatic drop in blood sugar, lose weight and feel better by stopping all soda pop, juice and other drinks with added sugar. Eventually you can add some 100% juice back in small amounts but to start it is best to avoid completely. You can temporarily transition to diet drinks but the best alternative would be to drink water, even if you need to flavor it with frozen fruit or a little juice. Water is necessary for all the functions our bodies need to maintain, especially blood sugar control.
- Eat breakfast every day.
Our bodies do much better when we start out the day with some type of energy source. If you can’t stand the thought of eating in the morning or are in a hurry, try a breakfast or protein shake. There are several options for protein shake beverages that are low in carbohydrate for diabetes. Whole grain cereal, oatmeal, yogurt or peanut butter toast are other options.
- Plan a light lunch.
Avoid the fast food or restaurant meals unless you can choose a healthy, low calorie meal under 600 calories. That may even be too much if you are trying to lose weight. Be careful not to assume that because you are having salad that it is healthy. Some salads can be over 1000 calories, depending on what’s in it. You can look up calories in many restaurant meals at calorieking.com. Better yet, instead of eating out, pack a salad or sandwich or even just nuts and fruit.
- Eat less starch and more veggies at your evening meal.
Potatoes, pasta and rice are heavy starch foods that are difficult to eat in small amounts. Try some meals without those starches and instead have more vegetables such as greens, carrots, cauliflower or other veggies you like. The key to enjoying eating more vegetables is to understand how they fight disease, and find great tasting ways to prepare them.
- Snack between each meal if it helps control hunger and blood sugar.
Do you ever work all day with barely anything to eat and then go home and eat non-stop until bedtime? That is a common problem that can be solved with 2 words. PLAN SNACKS! Take snacks with you daily or keep them at work. Ideas: fresh fruit, nuts, trail mix, energy bars, yogurt, whole grain crackers with cheese, veggies and dip.
Is it okay to eat some sweets?
You can usually still eat small amounts of sweets even when you have diabetes. When blood sugars are high it is best to avoid them if possible. Blood sugar monitoring can really help you figure out how much and how often you can have them and still keep control of diabetes.
Keep in mind that if you are on medication for diabetes, most need to be taken with food. If you have any questions about that always ask your doctor.
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