A Diet Fit for Diabetes

A diagnosis of diabetes or pre-diabetes requires making some diet changes to reduce the risks of diabetes-related complications. This means utilizing a nutritionally balanced meal plan to maintain blood sugar levels within range and support a healthy weight. A diet fit for diabetes doesn’t have to be complicated. It’s about smarter choices laying the foundation of a new normal of healthier eating habits.

Food Do’s and Don’ts

Everyone responds to different foods and diets differently. Thus, there is no single magic diet that works for everyone. But we’ve comprised a few simple guidelines of what to eat and what to avoid.

Foods to Include:

  • Healthy carbohydrates
    • Sugars and starches break down into blood glucose. Include healthy carbohydrates, such as:
      • Fruits
      • Vegetables
      • Whole grains
      • Legumes, such as beans and peas
      • Low-fat dairy products, such as milk and cheese
  • Fiber-rich foods
    • Fiber moderates how your body digests and controls blood sugar levels. Foods high in fiber include:
      • Vegetables
      • Fruits
      • Nuts
      • Legumes, such as beans and peas
      • Whole grains
      • Fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids (salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel)
  • Good fats
    • Eating foods containing monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats can help lower cholesterol levels. These include:
      • Avocados
      • Nuts
      • Canola, olive, and peanut oils

Foods to Avoid:

  • Saturated fats:
    • Includes avoiding high-fat dairy products and animal proteins such as butter, beef, hot dogs, sausage, and bacon. Limit coconut and palm kernel oils too.
  • Trans fats:
    • Trans fats are found in processed snacks, baked goods, shortening, and stick margarine.
  • Cholesterol:
    • Sources include high-fat dairy products and high-fat animal proteins, egg yolks, liver, and other organ meats. Limit to no more than 200 milligrams of cholesterol a day.
  • Sodium:
    • You should keep sodium total to under 2,300 mg a day. You may need to aim for even less if you have high blood pressure.

The American Diabetes Association has a Diabetic Plate Method for perfectly portioned meals for those overwhelmed by measuring, calculating, and weighing. Now that you know what kinds of foods to choose from, you can use this simple guide to create healthy meals.

Managing diabetes is not a science, it's an art

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