People with diabetes can adopt a healthy eating plan that boosts their overall well-being. The right foods are low in calories and fat and rich in nutrients. There are a variety of delicious choices that make you feel completely satisfied rather than deprived.
- A diabetes food plan is also referred to as medical nutrition therapy (MNT). The key is to eat nutritious foods in moderate amounts. It is also important to maintain regular meal times to avoid blood sugar lows or spikes. A diabetes food plan includes healthy foods that are low in calories and fat. This type of eating program offers plenty of tasty options and is beneficial for most everyone.
- Medical professionals encourage people with diabetes to avoid excess fat, calories and sugar as well as salty foods. Eating the right foods can help you manage your weight and avoid blood sugar surges. When your blood sugar is elevated it can lead to serious health problems including heart disease and kidney problems. Eating the proper foods and tracking daily habits can help you maintain safe blood sugar levels.
- Carbohydrates and fiber are part of a well-rounded diabetes program. Top choices include fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products as well as legumes, whole grains and nuts. Add heart-healthy fish at least twice a week including cod and tuna. Also include fish with omega-3 fatty acids to promote heart health including sardines and salmon. Stay away from fried fish and fish with high levels of mercury such as swordfish. Include good fats in your program in small amounts such as olive and peanut oils, olives and avocados as well as almonds, walnuts and pecans.
- There are also certain foods to avoid. Stay away from saturated fats such as high-fat dairy items and animal proteins including bacon, process meats and hot dogs. No more than 7 percent of your daily calories should come from saturated fats. Skip trans- fats found in stick margarines and packaged snacks such as baked goods. Consume no more than 300mg of cholesterol daily. Have less than 1500- 2,300 mg of sodium each day depending on your own situation.
- Read food labels carefully and reduce your portions. Eat three meals each day and about two – three snacks. Skipping meals or snacks can cause blood sugar fluctuations. Have convenient diabetes snacks on hand such as Glucerna nutrition bars and shakes. They are easy to eat on-the-go and help you avoid the temptation of fast food or processed snacks. While they are handy in a pinch, they are meant for occasional use and not daily meal replacement.
- Include plenty of healthy choices in your daily plan. Beans are high in fiber and calcium. Add them to soups, salads and chili. Barley is rich in soluble fiber and can help lower total and LDL cholesterol. Soak hulled barley overnight before cooking it in stews, soups or rice pilaf. Oats are another way to add fiber to your diet and help lower cholesterol levels. Berries are a quick and tasty snack filled with fiber and antioxidants. Greens contain fiber and lots of essential nutrients. Add mustard and beet greens as well as chard to your salads, sandwiches and soups. Flaxseed can help lower blood sugar and cholesterol and may reduce the risk of cardiovascular problems. Sprinkle flaxseed on your favorite foods such as low-fat yogurt and cottage cheese.
Choosing the right foods when you have diabetes can help you ward off serious health complications. Add 30 minutes of exercise at least 5 days a week for optimum health benefits. There are many healthy foods to include in your daily plan that taste great, too!
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