Foods that contain carbohydrate raise blood glucose. For this reason, people with diabetes must do basic carbohydrate counting. Starches, sugar and fiber are all counted as carbohydrates. The carbohydrates include bread, pasta, rice, cereals, wheat, rye, barley, starchy vegetables including peas, beans, corn, lentils, winter squash, all fruits as well as milk, yogurt and sweets. Knowing your limits and keeping track of carbohydrates helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
- Your body transforms 100 percent of carbohydrates into sugar. The more carbohydrates consumed, the higher your blood glucose level gets.
- To maintain proper blood sugar levels, count out carbohydrates during the day. Identify starches, sugar and fiber in your diet to keep track of the carbohydrates taken in.
- Each meal should contain between two to four servings of carbohydrates. One serving equals 15 grams. The amount of carbohydrates allowed each day depends on weight, medication and your physician’s recommendations.
- For breakfast, keep a low carb pancake mix on hand. Serve with a sprinkling of cinnamon or dash of Splenda. Another option is a scrambled egg with vegetables and cheese. Make the egg mixture into an omelet and serve with a low sugar fruit, such as one serving of raspberries.
- At lunchtime or dinner, try a tasty low carb pasta. For example, have one serving of Dreamfields pasta with a splash of olive oil or tomato sauce. Add a 4-ounce broiled chicken breast seasoned with oregano, ½ cup of carrots, a small whole grain dinner roll with a teaspoon of margarine and a salad with 2 tablespoons of low-fat dressing.
- Beyond meals, include a 15 gram carbohydrate snack each day. This daily snack helps maintain your energy and blood glucose level throughout the day. Snack options with 15 grams of carbohydrate or less include 3 cups of light popcorn, ½ cup of artificially sweetened chocolate pudding, 2½ ounces of peanuts and ¾ cup of blueberries.
- People with diabetes should eat meals and snacks on a consistent schedule. Always eat on time and never skip meals. Stick to a meal plan to maintain blood sugar levels.
- Read food labels to find out the grams of carbohydrate in each food serving. Look for the type of carbohydrate in the food. For example, foods with 5 grams of fiber or more help control blood glucose. Food labels are your road map to better health.
- Look for books and handouts that list carbohydrate amounts. For example, the American Diabetes Association offers a comprehensive book Diabetes Carbohydrate & Fat Gram Guide, 4th Edition.
Counting carbohydrate in foods is simple. Consuming the proper daily carbohydrate intake helps people with diabetes maintain blood sugar levels and feel better.
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