When people get diagnosed with diabetes, the focus tends to be on all the “can not”s. You can’t eat sweets. You can’t eat a lot of carbs. On, and on, and on…

Let’s spin it around and look at all you CAN do!

Yes, you CAN raise your energy level, manage your weight, think more clearly, improve your digestion and be in a great mood by following a “diabetes” meal plan. Check out my one-week meal plan that you can download and print out. And you CAN treat yourself – just keep an eye on how changes affect your blood sugar, body and overall health.

Yes, you CAN improve digestion by eating smaller meals every 3-4 hours. It also allows us to input energy (food), use it and then replenish ourselves. As an added bonus, it helps to speed up our metabolism.

You CAN improve your energy levels and mood by combining protein and carbs. In other words, you can re-organize your plates so you have lean protein, a heaping amount of salad and/or non-starchy vegetables, and a more moderate amount of starch. You will feel perky, more energized, lighter and your body will function at top levels. Even your brain will think at a higher level!

Yes, you CAN drink to your health. Drinking soda offers no nutritional value at all. In regular soda, there is sugar in carbonated water, therefore the calories are abundant. Soda contains phosphorous and carbonation which can deplete calcium from your bones. Plus, the energy that soda (sugar) supplies is short lived. If you choose artificially sweetened carbonated water (aka diet soda), you will reap the “harmful effects” minus the sugar kick. Although simple, water has many benefits. I was drinking water with orange slices in it this weekend. Delicious! It’s hydrating and refreshing and helps your body function well. Being less than adequately hydrated can result in a lower energy level. There are flavored waters (Dasani Essence) that are unsweetened, un-carbonated, and are surprisingly satisfying. Replace soda with something healthier – your body will thank you for it.

You CAN drink alcohol in moderation. General guidelines suggest one drink per day for women and 2 drinks per day for men. Check with your doctor first to make sure alcohol won’t interfere with other medications or other conditions. Alcohol may lower blood sugar. If this happens, be sure to have a small snack.

Yes, you CAN snack! Having diabetes doesn’t mean you can’t snack on popcorn, chips, fruit or sweets. Snack in moderation so you CAN maintain a healthy weight, feel energized, keep your metabolism elevated, stabilize your moods, and improve digestion.

Diabetes or no diabetes. To have or not to have. Can or cannot.

Maybe having diabetes will motivate you toward different choices and food patterns. However, just knowing what you CAN do makes it a little easier!

Marci Sloane

Marci Sloane, MS, RD, LD/N, CDE, is a registered and licensed dietitian/nutritionist and certified diabetes educator. She grew up in NYC where she graduated with a degree in Nutrition and Physiology from Teachers College at Columbia University.

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