If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, it can be overwhelming to think about all the lifestyle changes that come with managing the disease.
Those changes include checking blood glucose levels, taking any prescribed medication and making physical activity part of your routine. What you eat also plays an important role in diabetes management. But rest assured that you don’t have to give up all favorite foods.
Even small changes can help you control or lower your blood sugar and keep your diabetes in check. Here are four tips for eating well while living with diabetes.
- Eat five or six small meals throughout the day. This will help keep your blood sugar balanced. Instead of eating big meals once or twice a day, try eating smaller meals throughout the day. Each meal should have 300 to 500 calories — depending on how active you are. Work with your healthcare provider, dietitian or nutritionist to find the right calorie balance for you.
- Enjoy fruits and vegetables. Eating at least five servings of fruits and vegetables will help fill you up and satisfy your sweet tooth. Some vegetables are full of fiber, which can help your blood sugar levels rise more slowly. Fruits also gives your body the fiber it needs, but certain fruits can raise blood sugar levels. That’s why it’s important to monitor your blood sugar often to find out how different fruits affect your body.
- Use MyPlate and the Healthy Eating Plate. These tools will help you make the best eating choices. MyPlate was designed by government experts, while experts in Harvard University’s School of Public Health developed the Healthy Eating Plate. Both plans divide foods into several groups using the familiar image of a place setting for a meal.
- Stick to whole grains. Whole grains break down slowly and help keep your blood sugar steady. They also provide your body with energy, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Make sure at least half of the grain foods you eat are whole grains. Good examples of whole grains are brown rice, cornmeal, oatmeal, quinoa and whole wheat.
To learn more about diabetes prevention and management, sign up for Get Healthy, Live Well’s Diabetes 101 class. Class size is limited, so register early. Visit tanner.org/diabetes101 to find and register for an upcoming class.