More than likely, you or someone you know has diabetes. Just over 1 in 10 or 34.2 million people in the U.S. have diabetes, and 1 in 3 American adults or 88 million have pre-diabetes.
November is American Diabetes Month and the following are some tips to help those with diabetes or pre-diabetes lower their blood sugar and manage their diabetes better.
Eat a Variety of Food
Often times my clients are very upset and frustrated when they are first diagnosed with diabetes because they are afraid they have to give up all of their favorite foods. But the key to eating healthy for diabetes isn’t about deprivation it is all about balance. All foods can fit into a diet for diabetes.
Fill half your plate with non-starchy vegetables, a fourth with lean protein such as lean meat, chicken or turkey without skin, fish, eggs, nuts, beans or tofu. Fill another fourth with a carbohydrate food such as a whole-grain, fruit or a starchy vegetable such as a potato or corn.
Add a serving of dairy if you would like such as milk, yogurt or cheese.
Can you ever have sugar again? Sure! You will just need to learn how to fit in those sugary treats. Speak with a registered dietitian to help you manage carbohydrates and read labels.
Avoid Sweetened Beverages
If you are a regular soda drinker, work on cutting back. Higher sugar foods especially in liquid form can cause your blood sugar to spike. Start with how much you are drinking now and keep reducing until you aren’t drinking any at all.
You can still fit in a sweetened beverage in occasionally, but you just might find that once you get them out of your diet, you don’t miss them at all. Water is always the best for hydration.
Eat at Regular Times
Work on a regular pattern of eating especially if you are taking medications for diabetes or insulin. Talk with your doctor about the best time to take your medications based on your eating pattern.
If you skip a meal your blood sugar may dip down too low and cause symptoms such as dizziness, lack of coordination, confusion, shaking or sweating or loss of consciousness. Blood sugar that goes too low (hypoglycemia) can be life threatening if not treated immediately.
Watch Your Portions
Eating healthy foods is a step in the right direction, but watching your portions is just as important. A serving of meat or poultry is about the size of a deck of cards.
One serving of rice or pasta is a half cup or about the size of a tennis ball. A serving of a potato is the size of a computer mouse. Controlling portions is key to managing blood sugar.
Physical activity is an important part of managing blood sugar and staying healthy. Physical activity lowers blood sugar, lowers blood pressure, aids in weight loss and improves mood. Find what you enjoy doing and do more of it. Use a step counter to increase your daily steps.
For more information about diabetes you can visit the websites of The American Diabetes Association (ADA), The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP).
Try this healthy recipe for your next taco night!