When dealing with a diabetic diet, it is crucial to maintain good nutrition for healthy living. As a diabetic, you know you should be eating right, but what is “right” for someone with diabetes? Here are some tips to help make diet choices a little easier for a healthy life:
Tip #1: Count Your Carbs
Being diagnosed with diabetes doesn’t mean you have to give up carbs altogether, but you do have to monitor your intake. Carbohydrates increase your blood glucose level, so the more you eat, the higher your blood sugar will go. Fruit, starches, and milk contain carbs, so watch your intake of these foods. Generally, carbohydrates should make up about 40-60% of your daily intake, so spend your calories wisely!
Tip #2: Be Careful with Sugar
A common misconception about diabetics is that they are not allowed to have any sugar. Thank goodness this is not the case! Where would we be if we could not have a slice of chocolate cake once in a while? But before you gobble down that piece of cake, think about your diet and ask yourself a few questions: How will this fit into my meal plan? Do I have the calories to “spend”? Could I make a better choice? High sugar foods, like cake, are more concentrated in carb, so a smaller volume will raise your blood sugar quickly. Along with sugar, these kinds of food also contain a lot of fat, and don’t contain a lot of vitamins, minerals, or other nutrients.
Tip #3: Refer to the Glycemic Index and Get to Know it Well
Along with sugar and carbs comes the glycemic index. This helpful tool tells you which foods will raise your blood sugar faster then others. It is strange to think that potatoes are higher on the list (faster in raising your bloodsugar) than ice cream, and that is precisely why a diabetic needs to refer to the index when diet planning.
Tip #4: Find Some Good Recipes that You Enjoy
It’s no fun to cook something you aren’t looking forward to eating, so spice it up! There are many diabetic cookbooks out there with great recipes and flavorful meals to satisfy any palate. Try substitutions in regular recipes that fit into your diabetic diet, or join a diabetic recipe group for more ideas.
Tip #5: Consider the Diabetic Exchange Diet
If you’re having a hard time knowing how much to eat and when, try the diabetic exchange diet. This diet lists foods in certain serving sizes, and tells you how much of each kind of food you can eat. Some find this diet restricting and some find it liberating; it just depends on you and what you like.
Healthy living for a diabetic is a very attainable goal. With a little help from a dietician or nutritionist, plus your own knowledge, you can be well on your way to happy, healthy diabetic living!